During the past two weeks, we have been honored to welcome many directors and office staff from diocesan offices of the Pontifical Mission Societies. We had a two-day Mission Office Orientation Program on July 13 and 14 at our national office, and private visits before and after that from our Philadelphia (below, bottom) and Boston (below, top) mission faily. During those times, we had wonderful opportunities to share with one another, as families do. And that is what we are all about - "One Family In Mission."
From my own perspective as National Director, I felt I needed, of course, to welcome and extend hospitality to our visiting family. But also there was the need to explain the "bigger picture" of what we do. I enjoyed sharing - sometimes through personal anecdotes from my pastoral visits around world, and at times drawing on my experience as a former diocesan mission director now working at the national office - how our work impacts the global mission efforts of the Church.
I hope I made a modest impression on our mission office family who were with us here and through LiveStream presentations of the Orientation Program. Most especially I hope they came to understand the critical role that each plays in accepting our special ministry of mission animation and cooperation entrusted to us by the Holy Father. I hope that they - and all who support the Missions - comprehend the great honor and nobility of what we do.
And each year our Holy Father calls us together on one day to celebrate that common missionary vocation. On World Mission Sunday, at the Eucharist, the Catholics of the world come together to give thanks to God for the gift of our faith and pray for those missionaries who continue to make Jesus known. And we give thanks as well for the example of the poor who have shown me again and again on my missionary journeys that Jesus makes all the difference, in life and in death. How good to be united with each of you in this "one family in mission"!
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.