Blessings on Easter Sunday! Today is truly filled with great hope - the hope found in the Lord's Resurrection.
As I write this message to you, I am preparing to leave for the annual gathering of Catholic school teachers, parish religious education directors and those involved in formation. The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) convention and the gathering of the National Parish Catechetical Directors (NPCD) takes place all this coming week in Anaheim, California. The Pontifical Mission Societies is honored to have been invited to be part of these conventions, presenting our programs for mission awareness and participating in a "spiritual deepening day" for parish directors of religious education on Wednesday, April 15. We are most hopeful about the benefit of this collaboration, believing that it will be fruitful for us all, most especially our brothers and sisters in the Missions. I'll write more about the events of this week at their conclusion.
Hope, for me, seems these days to be most associated with travel. Last month, I journeyed to Colombia in South America for a meeting of national directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies from Latin American countries. All returned from this meeting energized - and ready to energize others - in commitment to the Church's evangelizing mission, to announcing the hope-filled "Good News" of Jesus' Resurrection through various programs and presentations to the faithful back at home.
I felt a similar sense of hope earlier this year on a journey to Nagaland in northeast India. There, I visited the home of a poor family whose daughter, Jacinta, was making her religious vows. The hope of that day - aside from the obvious hope that comes from knowing that others will experience the love of our Lord through the service of this Sister - came also from realizing that you, through your generosity, were there in a very real way as well. Gifts to the Society of St. Peter Apostle supported the formation of Sister Jacinta and so many young men and women in this area. Many children I met on that and so many other missionary travels have been nourished in the faith through offerings to the Holy Childhood Association. And the catechists who continue to bring the Lord’s “Good News” to the poor are helped by your support of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, as are the parishes and their service there and throughout the Developing World.
Be assured that your donations make a faith-filled, indeed, hope-filled difference in the Missions. Now that surely gives us another reason to be most hopeful on this Easter Sunday! Joy and peace to you!
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.