Pope’s Evangelization Intention for July 2014

Prayer Intention July 2014 evangelizationIntencion de oracion Julio 2014 evangelizacionPope Francis’ Prayer Intention for July 2014: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.

Intención de Oración de Papa Francisco por julio 2014: Para que el Espiritu Santo sostenga el servicio de los laicos que anuncian el Evangelio en los países más pobres.


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2014 USCMA Conference

MC 2014 Logo -Jack-JPEG-5The United States Catholic Mission Association is proud to announce that this year’s Mission Conference, Gospel Justice: A Living Challenge for the Church in Mission, will take place in Alexandria, Virginia from October 24 – 26, 2014.

From activities to being sent to a far-away place, “Mission” has meant many things to people. For the Baptized person, however, mission is a dynamic grace rooted in an encounter with Christ, a sharing of life in the Trinity, a communion in God’s loving design for humanity and indeed all of creation.

Similarly the concept of “Justice”, while central to every culture, is understood differently: law, fairness, judgment, condemnation for wrongdoing, moral rectitude, harmonious relationship. What does the Gospel tell us about it?

Join USCMA members and mission organizations as we meet to reflect on how we can live out the mis-sion of the Church by striving for justice. We will ex-amine the question of how mission and justice are rooted in the Gospel, of how these concepts are interrelated, indeed even constitutive of each oth-er. The theme, Gospel Justice: A Living Challenge for the Church in Mission, confronts all who call themselves Christian.

When: October 24—26, 2014
Where: Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
5000 Seminary Road
Alexandria, VA 22311

Conference Registration allows you to participate in all con-ference events including: keynotes, Saturday workshops (7 options), Home Community gatherings, meeting exhibitors, and much more.

Special Peace and Justice Event!

USCMA’s Vigil for Peace
When: October 25, 2014 at 4:15PM, Mass follows.
Where: St. Charles Borromeo Parish
3304 Washington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201

A special Saturday Only Registration ($125.00) is offered for local Justice and Peace minded individuals!

Click Here to learn more about the conference and registration options.

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Miracle attributed to Fulton Sheen approved

Sheen in AfricaBishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, Bishop of Peoria and President of the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation, received word early Thursday morning, March 6, that the seven-member board of medical experts who advise the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints at the Vatican unanimously approved a reported miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

The case involved a stillborn baby born in September 2010. For over an hour the child demonstrated no signs of life as medical professionals attempted every possible life saving procedure, while the child’s parents and loved ones began immediately to seek the intercession of Fulton Sheen. After 61 minutes the baby was restored to full life and made a full recovery. The child, now three years old, continues in good health.

Today’s decision affirms that the team of Vatican medical experts can find no natural explanation for the child’s healing. The case will next be reviewed by a board of theologians. With their approval the case could move on to the cardinals and bishops who advise the Pope on these matters. Finally, the miracle would be presented to Pope Francis who would then officially affirm that God performed a miracle through the intercession of Fulton Sheen. There is no timeline as to when these next steps might move forward.

“Today is a significant step in the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of our beloved Fulton Sheen, a priest of Peoria and a Son of the Heartland who went on to change the world. There are many more steps ahead and more prayers are needed. But today is a good reason to rejoice,” commented Bishop Jenky.

Fulton Sheen was born May 8, 1895 in El Paso, Illinois, outside of Peoria. His family moved to Peoria so that Fulton and his brothers could attend Catholic school. He grew up in the parish of the Cathedral of St. Mary where he was an altar server and later ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria. After advanced studies and service as a parish priest in the city of Peoria, Fulton Sheen was a professor of philosophy and religion at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. In the 1930s he became a popular radio personality and later a TV pioneer. His weekly TV program, “Life is Worth Living” eventually reached 30 million viewers and won an Emmy award for outstanding TV program.

From 1950 to 1966, Bishop Sheen was the National Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the United States, the Church’s primary missionary apostolate. In 1966, he was named Bishop of Rochester of New York where he served until his retirement in 1969, when he was named honorary Archbishop by Pope Paul VI. Fulton Sheen died at the entrance to his private chapel in his New York City apartment on December 9, 1979.

In September 2002, Bishop Jenky officially opened the cause for the beatification and canonization of Fulton Sheen. For six years, the Sheen Foundation, the official promoter of the Cause, gathered testimony from around the world and reviewed all of Sheen’s writings, before sending their conclusions to the Vatican. In June 2012, Pope Benedict affirmed the investigation that Sheen had lived a life of heroic virtue and holiness. Sheen was then titled “Venerable.”

Pending further review by the theologians and the cardinals who advise the Pope through the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, should Pope Francis validate this proposed miracle, Sheen could then be declared “Blessed” in a ceremony that could be celebrated in Peoria, Sheen’s hometown. Upon the Holy Father signing the decree for the beatification, an additional miracle would lead to the Canonization of Archbishop Sheen, in which he would be declared a “Saint.”

For more information about Fulton Sheen and the cause for his canonization, visit: ArchbishopSheenCause.org.

For more information on the reported miracle click here.

For information on Archbishop Sheen and the Missions, visit our special website: FultonSheenMission.org.

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Cardinal Robert Sarah will visit areas struck by typhoon Haiyan-Yolanda on behalf of Pope Francis

Philippines-HaiyanVatican City, 25 January 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” will visit the areas struck by the typhoon Haiyan-Yolanda on 8 November last year, on behalf of Pope Francis, as a gesture of consolation and spiritual closeness to the population, which now faces the task of reconstruction following the damage wrought by this natural disaster, and also to promote the network of assistance which is already active in these areas.

The mission, according to a press release by “Cor Unum”, will take place from 26 to 31 January, and it will be marked by three moments of special significance: a meeting with Filipino bishops, gathered in their Episcopal Conference in those days; an encounter with the president of the Republic of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, and a visit to the area of Tacloban, which was most severely affected by the typhoon.

In the context of the visit, Cardinal Sarah will present, in the name of the Holy Father and through “Cor Unum”, a plan for the new building of an orphanage and a rest home for the elderly. The building will include, among other things, a small convent for the nuns, a chapel and a dispensary.

According to recent reports by Caritas Philippines / Nassa, typhoon Haiyan-Yolanda caused over 5,500 deaths, more than 26,000 injuries, and almost 2,000 missing persons. Around 3,8 million people, belonging to more than 851,000 families, were left homeless. In total, 12 million people suffered damage or losses of various types, in 574 towns and cities, and now there are fears of epidemics.

As soon as the Holy Father received the news, he decided to make a first contribution, through “Cor Unum”, of 150,000 dollars in emergency aid for the population, in support of the work carried out to assist those left homeless or otherwise affected by the floods, to be added to the funds contributed by the Church as a whole, the local Churches, parishes throughout the world, the Caritas network, and other national and diocesan agencies engaged in charitable works.

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Missionary to America

St. Rose Philippine Deuchesne

St. Rose Philippine Deuchesne

In today’s installment of our Marian Missionary Series, I would like to focus on one of the saints honored at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.

Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne was a French missionary who was sent to the territory of Louisiana in 1818. She has the distinction of being one of the missionaries actively working in America who inspired Pauline Jaricot to found the Society for the Propagation of the Faith just five years later in 1823. At the age of 47, Mother Duchesne opened the first free girls’ school west of the Mississippi River in St. Charles, near St. Louis. (At this time St. Louis was part of the Louisiana Territory). At the age of 71 she started a school for Native American children. She died twelve years later and was canonized in 1988.

Outside the Crypt Church on the lower level of the Basilica is a marble statue of Mother Duchesne instructing both a French immigrant girl and a Native America child in the faith. The staute was designed by artist Angelo Gherardi in consultation with Joan Klutho. It was carved by Giannoni Ulderigo. We honor St. Rose Duchesne for her untiring devotion to children regardless of race or place of birth. She represents the true universality of the Catholic Church and the love of Christ promised to all.

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, pray for us!

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Our Blessed Mother in Vietnam

Our Lady of la Vang

Our Lady of la Vang

On October 21, 2006, Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington dedicated the Chapel of Our Lady of Vang at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. We, in the United States, are often not aware of the presence of Our Lady in places as far away as Asia or Africa. Her apparition in every corner of the globe reminds us that Christ’s love is for the whole world. Our Lady of La Vang is a beautiful devotion to our Blessed Mother in Vietnam.

Our Lady of La Vang appeared in the 18th century during a time of persecution of Christians in Vietnam. One particular community of believers that was in hiding in the jungle used to gather nightly to pray the rosary.

“One night, a beautiful lady in a magnificent cloak carrying an infant son appeared to them and presented herself as the Mother of God. Encouraging and consoling the people, she gave them a sign of her loving care: the leaves of a fern to treat their physical ailments and the promise to receive their prayers with maternal generosity. The Blessed Mother appeared many times in this same place throughout the nearly one hundred years of religious persecution.” — Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Guide and Tour Book

DSCN8799The chapel also features two mosaics. One depicts the 117 martyrs of Vietnam with their names listed on a bronze tablet. These heroic martyrs were canonized by Pope Paul VI. The other mosaic depicts generations of Vietnamese faithful praying to the Virgin.

The Faithful of VietnamVietnam continues to be a place where the freedom to worship is restricted. There are 26 dioceses in Vietnam. Let us pray for the intercession of Our Lady of La Vang for the safety and well being of the clergy and laity of this beautiful Asian country.

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On the Eve of the Solemnity of Mary

The Holy Family at Rest - The Flight into Egypt

The Holy Family at Rest – The Flight into Egypt

Tomorrow, January 1, 2014, is the Solemnity of Mary the Holy Mother of God. On that date we will begin a new blog series on Mary’s intercession on behalf of missionaries. Here in the Diocese of Arlington we are fortunate to be close to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. In this beautiful church, the largest Catholic church in the Americas, there are over seventy chapels and oratories dedicated to our Blessed Mother. Each presents a particular ethnic devotion. Taken together, the chapels and oratories represent the beautiful diversity of the United States and affirm the worldwide presence of our nation’s patroness under the title of the Immaculate Conception.

The relation of this concept to Mission is obvious. For the past two millennia, missionaries have been spreading the Gospel throughout the world. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception stands as a figurative focal point for the fruits of their labor. Devotions from as far away as Vietnam and as close as Mexico fill every nook and crevice of this magnificent shrine.

Today, on the eve of our virtual missionary devotion, we begin with history’s first mission trip, the Flight into Egypt. One does not usually associate this early event in the earthly life of Jesus as a missionary journey. After all, the Holy Family was going into hiding. They were fleeing for their lives to protect the Baby Jesus from Herod’s slaughter of the Innocents. How was this missionary in nature? Indeed, Egyptian Christians are deeply conscious of the fact that they were the first protectors Christ (even if they did not know it at the time!). God chose the Jewish people as the first hearers and proclaimers of the Word, but he chose the Egyptians as His shield. By taking Baby Jesus into Egypt, Mary and Joseph planted a Christian seed that has sustained and solidified Christianity in what was formerly a pagan country.

Mary of the Immaculate Conception, pray for us!

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Pope remembers the hungry at Christmas

Christmas at the Vatican

Christmas at the Vatican

“Christmas for me is hope and tenderness…” The latest interview with Pope Francis, given to the Italian newspaper “La Stampa” begins with a reflection on the meaning of Christmas. In an hour and a half long conversation with Vaticanista Andrea Tornielli, the Pope addressed the themes of the suffering of children and the tragedy of world hunger; the relationship between the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies; and questions about marriage and the family, the focus of next year’s Extraordinary meeting of the Synod of Bishops.

Read full article at News.va

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Pope Francis is Time Magazine’s Person of the Year

Time Magazine Cover 2013(Vatican Radio ) Pope Francis has been named Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ for 2013. He is the third Roman Pontiff to receive this honour after John XXIII in 1962 and John Paul II in 1994.
The Head of the Holy See’s Press Office, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, issued the following statement:
“The decision didn’t come as a surprise given the great resonance and attention surrounding the election of Pope Francis right from the start of the new pontificate. The fact that one of the most prestigious awards to be attributed by the international press should go to someone who promotes spiritual, religious and moral values as well as call for peace and greater justice in an incisive manner is a positive sign. As for the Pope himself, he’s not someone who seeks fame and success, because he has put his life at the service of announcing the Gospel of the love of God for mankind. It is pleasing to the Pope that this service should appeal and give hope to women and men. And if this choice of ‘Person of the Year’ should mean that many people have understood this message – at least implicitly – the Pope is really happy about this.”

Read the Time Magazine article here.

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Missionary for Human Dignity. Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday paid tribute to Nelson Mandela expressing his hope that the late President’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and common good at the forefront of their political aspirations.
The Pope’s words came in a telegramme of condolences that he sent to the South African President, Jacob Zuma.

Click Here to read the full text of the telegramme.

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Pope Francis calls for “Missionary Church”

EVANGELII_GAUDIUM3.inddThe Joy of the Gospel is the title Pope Francis has chosen for this first major document of his pontificate, putting down in print the joyous spirit of encounter with Christ that characterizes every public appearance he has made so far. The man who has constantly kept the media’s attention with his desire to embrace and share his faith with everyone he meets, now urges us to do exactly the same. To “recover the original freshness of the Gospel”, as he puts it, through a thorough renewal of the Church’s structures and vision. Including what he calls “a conversion of the papacy” to make it better able to serve the mission of evangelization in the modern world. The Church, he says, should not be afraid to re-examine “customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel” even if they may have deep historical roots.

Read full article at News.va

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The Littlest Missionary

Boy with PopeNational Catholic Reporter–Thousands of Catholic families from around the world gathered at the Vatican over the weekend to celebrate the Year of Faith with Pope Francis.

A small group of children was invited to sit on the pope’s platform to listen to speakers from across the world speak about their faith and families.

Pope Francis was visibly amused when one child stayed on the stage instead of returning to his seat on the steps.


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Missionary to the Americas Redemptorist Father Pablo Straub (1932-2013)

This article by Joseph Pronechen originally appeared in the National Catholic Register.
Fr. Straub CANCUN, Mexico — Father Pablo Straub, who regularly appeared on EWTN television and whose voice was heard on EWTN Radio, died Oct. 21 in a hospital in Cancun, Mexico.
A member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, colloquially known as the Redemptorists, and a priest for 55 years, Father Straub was easily recognized and well loved from the numerous series he hosted and the retreats he gave over the years.
“Father Pablo was a longtime host on EWTN and a friend to many of us here at the network,” noted Michael Warsaw, chairman and chief executive officer of the EWTN Global Catholic Network. “We feel a profound sense of loss at the news of his passing.”

Read Full Article at ncregister.com

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Pope Francis speaks like a missionary, says Indian archbishop


Archbishop Menamparampil was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize a year before retiring from northeast India's Guwahati archdiocese in 2012.

Archbishop Menamparampil was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize a year before retiring from northeast India’s Guwahati archdiocese in 2012.

This article by Joshua J. McElwee originally appeared in the National Catholic Reporter

WASHINGTON –A key mission of Catholics should be to reduce anger among people, says a retired Indian archbishop noted for his peacemaking efforts.
Speaking last week to a group of scholars engaged in some of the world’s most long-lasting conflicts, Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil put the mission of anger reduction in terms of a prayer said during the Catholic Mass.

“We have in our prayer, ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World.’ Can we become the lambs of God who takes away the anger of the world?” he asked. “Or at least reduce the anger of the world?”

Read full NCR article

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An important lesson on World Food Day

news.va.worldfooddayOctober 16th is World Food Day and in a message to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization Pope Francis condemned the continuing scandal of hunger and malnutrition in today’s world and what he called a globalization of indifference towards it.

Pope Francis’s address was delivered by Monsignor Luigi Travaglino in a ceremony marking World Food Day at the Rome headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. In his message the Pope criticized what he called “a growing tendency for us to close in on ourselves saying this leads to a certain indifference on both a personal, institutional and state level” towards hunger as though “it were an inevitable fact.”

Read full article on News.va

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New documentary looks at life of missionary Pope

BY CNA/EWTN NEWS 10/14/2013 — The Knights of Columbus produced the film, which will air this week on the Fox Business Network.

ROME — A new documentary produced by the Knights of Columbus traces the background of Pope Francis, offering insight into his life and thought through the words of those who know him best.
“This documentary introduces people to Pope Francis in a very accessible way,” said Andrew Walther, one of the documentary’s executive producers.
“Most people know something about our Holy Father,” Walther said, “but through his own words and the interviews with those who worked with him in Argentina, as well as with key Catholic figures in the United States, this film will help give viewers an in-depth understanding of the Pope’s thought, life and work.”

Go to full article in the National Catholic Register

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Congolese Missionary Wins UN Prize

Sister Angelique Namaika, a member of the Augustine Sisters of Dungu and Doruma, embraces a Congolese child at a site for internally displaced people Aug. 1 in Congo. Sister Angelique received the 2013 Nansen Refugee Award from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Sept. 17 for her work with women forced to leave their homes in northeastern Congo because of long-term civil strife.

Sister Angelique Namaika, a member of the Augustine Sisters of Dungu and Doruma, embraces a Congolese child at a site for internally displaced people Aug. 1 in Congo. Sister Angelique received the 2013 Nansen Refugee Award from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Sept. 17 for her work with women forced to leave their homes in northeastern Congo because of long-term civil strife.

By MARK PATTISON Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — “It is not my work only. It is the Lord’s.”

Such was the summation of Sister Angelique Namaika, a member of the Augustine Sisters of Dungu and Doruma, as she spoke to reporters in an international conference call upon winning the Nansen Refugee Award bestowed annually by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Sister Angelique has been working for the past four years with women forced to leave their homes in the northeastern Congolese bush because of the ongoing civil strife in the Congo.

Many of the women have been forced to marry members of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group led by Joseph Kony, whose activities have destabilized not only Congo but disrupted life in neighboring African nations as well. Last year, she testified to Congress and the U.N. Security Council about LRA-caused instability in the region.


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Winchester Knights Donate Chalice to African Diocese

Winchester Knights Donate Chalice to African Diocese

L to R: Faithful Navigator Peter Buchbauer, Faithful Comptroller Jerome Balda, PMS Coordinator Karlene Webster, Past Faithful Navigator Jay Skidmore, Fr. Walter Nyatsantza- Diocese of Masvingo, Zimbabwe, Fr. Stanley Krempa- Pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, and Faithful Captain Cabell Angle.

Fr. Walter Nyatsantza receives a chalice on behalf of the Diocese of Masvingo, Zimbabwe. The chalice was donated by the Knights of Columbus Father Robert O. Hickman Assembly #1883 at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Winchester, VA. The chalice is engraved with the names of Knights who passed away in the previous year so that they will be remembered daily at Mass. The assembly presents a memorial chalice to a mission diocese each year.


IMG_3563 ChaliceNames_edited-1


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Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles visits St. James

Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles visits St. James

His Excelency, the Archbishop of Freetown/Bo, Sierra Leone, West Africa celebrated Mass and spoke about his archdiocese at St. James in Falls Church on Sunday, August 25, 2013. Afterwards he enjoyed a reception in his honor where he graciously greeted parishioners and distinguished guests before enjoying authentic African foods (courtesy of visiting alumni from Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Cameroon) and traditional American desserts (courtesy St. James parishioners).

During his homily, Archbishop Charles described the needs of the people of Sierra Leone who have lost so much in their recent civil war. He spoke about the continuous need for catechesis to overcome the tensions caused by tribal prejudices even among Catholic Sierra Leonens. He delivered a beautiful testament to the universal church united in Christ.

IMG_8056 DSCN1404 DSCN1417 DSCN1462 DSCN1478 DSCN1475 DSCN1467


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Chantilly Parishoner Makes a Difference in Uganda

Ugandan children participate in a reading lesson at one of six early childhood education centers supported by Bambi Ugandan Orphans, a local nonprofit aimed at empowering Ugandan villages.

Ugandan children participate in a reading lesson at one of six early childhood education centers supported by Bambi Ugandan Orphans, a local nonprofit aimed at empowering Ugandan villages.

Catholic Herald.  What does it take to help an orphaned child grow into a happy, healthy adult? To start with: food and water, a place to live, affordable health care, a quality education, the support of a community, job skills, and the list goes on…


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Catholic newspapers and magazines honored for excellence in world mission coverage Awards presented at Catholic Media Conference

NEW YORK — Catholic diocesan newspapers in Arlington, Honolulu, Kansas City (Kansas), Milwaukee, St. Paul and Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C., and diocesan directors from Arlington, San Diego, St. Cloud and Trenton, as well as St. Anthony Messenger magazine have been named Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Award winners this year.  These annual awards, presented by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, recognize excellence in coverage of world mission news in the Catholic press.  They are named for the late Archbishop O’Meara, who served as National Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith from 1966 to 1979. Click Here for the list of winners.

Winners will receive their awards during the Catholic Media Conference in Denver, Colorado, on Thursday, June 20, at 9:15 a.m., near the Social Media Hub, following the Catholic Press Association’s business meeting.  Monsignor Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications at the Vatican, will be part of that presentation.

“These awards, now in their 20th year, have recognized the invaluable media partnership in promoting the work and witness of the mission Church,” said Father Andrew Small, OMI, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, which include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.  “The story of the Missions is every Catholic’s story – all of us bound together, partners in this holy work, celebrating the difference God makes.”

Our panel of judges this year included Gerald M. Costello, former editor-in-chief of Catholic New York; James A. Doyle, former executive director of the Catholic Press Association and current syndicated columnist in the Catholic press; Mary Ann Poust, former news editor, Catholic New York, and Stephanie Raha, former editor of The Christophers, and now a contrib­uting writer, Pontifical Mission Societies, and copy editor,Catholic New York.


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Archbishop of Freetown, Sierra Leone to visit Arlington Diocese

The 2013 Missionary Cooperative Plan has begun. Missionaries from all over the United States and several countries are traveling to the Arlington Diocese to appeal to parishoners for support for the work of their particular mission. Usually the head of the mission or in the case of a diocese, the bishop, sends a priest or religious to make the appeal. In some cases, like the Bánica Mission, a lay person can be sent. An exception to the rule will be seen this coming August when the Archbishop of Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa, the Most Reverend Edward Tamba Charles will be making the trip himself to alert the faithful of Arlington to the specific needs of his archdiocese.

In 2011 the Diocese of Bo in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone was created, allowing the newer Christian communities to receive more pastoral attention, but they are lacking churches. “Presently many of them are meeting in public halls, classrooms, and unfinished private houses for Eucharistic celebrations” says Archbishop Charles. The new diocese needs eight to ten churches of various sizes. Typically a new church is paid for by the community that’s building it but the faithful of Bo just don’t have the means. Eighty-five percent of church members are poor. They may have the desire to financially support the church but “they are just not able to translate their good will into positive actions in favor of… infrastructural development.”

The good intentions of protestant evangelical ministries are also presenting pastoral challenges for the Catholic archdiocese. As part of their gospel of prosperity they “promise miracles of healing for the sick who cannot afford … medical treatment, lucrative jobs for the unemployed, children to childless couples.” The extreme poverty of the people coupled with the prevalence of ancient African superstition attracts many Catholics to these evangelical revivals. The archdiocese needs funds to support education to give the people of Sierra Leone real job skills and catechesis to counter superstitious beliefs about evil forces, witchcraft, etc.

Archbishop Charles us that the third major challenge is the increase in Islamic militancy. Sierra Leone used to be a global example of religious tolerance with the minority Christians living peacefully side-by-side with the Muslims who make up the majority of the population. Recently, however, indications of Islamic extremism have begun to creep into the country. Sunni and Shi’a discord plays out over the media, threatening to grow into sectarian conflict. Education and outreach are the best solutions, but again, the people with the most desire to help have the fewest resources to make such outreach a reality.

Archbishop Charles will be speaking at all Masses at St. Louis Church in Alexandria on August 17 and 18. He will be at all Masses and St. James Church in Falls Church August 24 and 25.  If you are a parishoner at either of these churches, please consider giving generously to the second collection that day. Your support could make a world of difference to the people of Sierra Leone.

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A Letter From Fr. Andrew Small, OMI


Dear Colleague in Mission,

Prayerful greetings in this week after Pentecost, continuing our celebration of the birth of the Church’s mission in and to the world!  The task of bringing the message of the Gospel “to the ends of the earth” that began on that first Pentecost, when those of many nations heard the Good News of Jesus in their own language, is now our joyful responsibility.

This past Friday, May 17, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, spoke to all of us National Directorswho had gathered for our annual meeting to dispense the generosity to the Missions that you encourage through the Pontifical Mission Societies.  The Pope spoke of our being “Pontifical” – at his disposal – “with the specific purpose of acting so that the precious gift of the Gospel might be offered to all.”  These Societies, he said, were “entirely relevant; even more, they are still necessary today because there are so many peoples who have still not known and met Christ.”

“And it is urgent,” Pope Francis continued, “to find new forms and new ways that God’s grace might touch the heart of each man and each woman and bring them to Him.”

Following that message, present to us there in the Clementine Hall in Rome and present “virtually” with the 1,140 people in 27 different countries who had so far downloaded our new MISSIO App, Pope Francis “unlocked” that App with a touch of his finger to the launch button on my iPad that said, “evangelizantur,” Latin for “they have been evangelized.”  In that way, the Pope put the missionary Gospel in the pockets of millions of people, young and old, rich and poor, believer and searcher.  (Read full story from Catholic News Service.)

Since that Friday, the number of those installing our MISSIO App has increased many times over, topping 20,000!  And the 27 countries have grown to more than 80.   After the United States, the most users are in Argentina; in fact, MISSIO is a number one mobile App in that country.

MISSIO gives users access to the Pope’s daily homily, videos from Catholic News Service and News.va, the Vatican’s news agency; there is also news from Rome and around the world, including the Missions, from FIDES, the Pontifical Mission Societies’ news agency, and News.va.  News is presented with a Catholic perspective – and in eight languages (English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Portuguese, Chinese and Arabic), most appropriate for its launch near Pentecost.

Ever since his election, Pope Francis has reached far beyond the Vatican, touching people’s lives in simple and meaningful ways.  The MISSIO App helps extend his reach.  As “one family in mission,” let’s invite others to join with the Holy Father in the continuing spirit of Pentecost to, through this unique mobile App, see the world each day through the eyes of faith.

In His mission,

Very Reverend Andrew Small, OMI
National Director

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Pope Francis addresses directors of Pontifical Mission Societies

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Friday with the National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies. In his remarks to the Directors, who hailed from every part of the globe, the Holy Father focused on the urgency of the need to carry out the Church’s work of preaching the Gospel, and the particular role that the Pontifical Mission Societies play in carrying it out.


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Making a World of Difference: A Home of Hope and Love

Philippine Photo

For years, the Adoration Sisters of the Holy Face in Cebu City, Philippines have been
handcrafting Rosaries and selling them to support the work they do with poor families,
the elderly and street children. The Sisters also rely on local
donations. A recent $20,000 grant from the Missionary
Childhood Association will help the Sisters reach out to even
more people in this very poor area of the Philippines. Click here to learn more!

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Prayer and Penny Week Resources!!

The Missionary Childhood Association will be holding its annual Prayer and Penny Week from March 10th through 16th!  This is an excellent opportunity to educate young students about the needs of those in the missions, as well as to teach them how to pray for those who are less fortunate.

Pope Benedict XVI has asked that during this Year of Faith, we support the Church through prayer, emphasizing the World Mission Rosary.  Prayer and Penny Week is rooted in prayer, and the World Mission Rosary is a crucial element of the event!  Join us in bringing the Church together in prayer, and make a trip around the world with your students, by praying the World Mission Rosary!

The resources for Prayer and Penny Week are FREE, and available to download below:

Welcome Letter

Leader’s Guide

Prayer and Penny Week Poster

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Youth and Young Adult Song Contest!

Do you have a talent for writing and performing music?  Are you between the ages of 13 and 29?  Then we have a contest for YOU!

In celebration of the Year of Faith, the Pontifical Mission Societies announce a first-ever song contest for young Catholics – launching March 11, 2013.  The contest features two divisions: Adolescent (Grades 9 through Grade 12) and Young Adult (ages 18 to 29.)  The judges for this contest include contemporary Catholic recording artists!

For more information on the contest and to enter, CLICK HERE!!


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Statement from the Pontifical Mission Societies on the Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

Fr. Andrew Small, OMI, National Director for the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, has issued a statement on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. The full statement can be read HERE.

“Like St. Paul, Pope Benedict XVI has poured out his life in service of God, the Church and the poor. He has not yet run his race to the very end. We pray for him as he enters this next stage of his life. And as we do, we commit ourselves to the ongoing Year of Faith, asking that it may bring renewed energy to the mission of the Church. In this period of transition, we pray for the Church, confident that the Lord remains close to us, now in a special way. God Bless the Pope!”

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New MCA Resources for Lent!

The Missionary Childhood Association has released some new resources for Lent!  It you would like some materials to supplement your lesson plans, tailored to your specific grade or age group, click on one of the links below to download them for FREE!

Kindergarten and Grade 1

Grade 2 and Grade 3

Grade 4 and Grade 5

Grades 6, 7 and 8

MCA Lenten Mission Calendar

Leader’s Guide

Official Prayer for Prayer and Penny Week

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World Mission Dinner!

Come join us for the World Mission Dinner on March 12, 2012! Our speakers include:

Rev. Andrew Small, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies
Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago
Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston
Dr. Carolyn Woo, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services
Mr. Geoffrey Gamble, President Elect of the Order of Malta.

For more information, just visit this website!

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