The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerful missionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Think Christmas and children are brought immediately to mind. As I write this message to you, we are just days from celebrating the birth of Jesus. And in the preparations for this celebration, I cannot help but think of the many children I met during my most recent mission visit to Asia — children who come to experience the love of our Lord, one Savior of the world, through the service of priests, Religious and lay people in the Missions.
In one parish in Nepal, there is a hostel for some 40 boys who attend a local school. Because these children live so far away from any school — a journey of two days by bus and five days walking — this is their only chance for an education. While at the hostel, these young people receive loving care from local Sisters.
And in Nagaland in northeast India, there were many Church-run orphanages. Most of these receive regular support from the gifts young people in our country offer to the Holy Childhood Association, a Pontifical Mission Society. The care offered these little ones goes beyond the basics of food, shelter and clothing. Above all, each comes to know that Jesus, born at Christmas, loves them, never abandons them, and so they are never alone.
Yes, children and Christmas. How great to be part of this “one family in mission,” supporting the presence of priests, Religious and lay people who share with the young the “Good News” of Jesus’ birth and His love for each one of us!