Prayerful greetings and welcome to the first posting on this "mission blog"!
As national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, I hope to share thoughts with you from my own visits to the Developing World - Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands and Latin America - as well as reports on the work carried out in Catholic dioceses throughout the United States to help encourage prayer and support of the Church's missionary work throughout the world.
This first message is about a meeting I attended in Toronto, just last week - and the inspiration it offered as we continue to remind baptized Catholics that we're all missionaries.
Members of the Catholic Press Association - the Pontifical Mission Societies included in that group - along with members of the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals gathered in that Canadian city for the annual Catholic Media Convention. We attended workshops and plenary sessions, shared meals and ideas on communication - no matter the medium - and, above all, gathered for daily Mass, receiving the nourishment to communicate the Word.
The Pontifical Mission Societies presented our own awards to Catholic magazines, newspapers and general publishers for excellence in promoting the worldwide mission of the Church. We also launched our new series of audio messages, Mission Lessons, for use on radio (including Internet and satellite), as well as for podcasting. These "moments from the Missions that teach and inspire" are reflections on my own pastoral visits to the Missions - on the life-giving service of priests, Religious Sisters and Brothers, and lay catechists - and on what I've heard and learned from missionaries throughout the years. These 60-second spots then relate those experiences to the "lessons" they hold for our everyday lives. Media professionals were supportive and affirming of our efforts in this area, and we're excited about the possibilities here.
For me, during each of those days in Canada, I could not help but think of someone so connected with both the Church's worldwide mission and the world of communications - the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. Once national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, Archbishop Sheen masterfully used the media to proclaim the "Good News" of Jesus and the teachings of the Church. Today, with the support and assistance of media professionals, we continue Archbishop Sheen's legacy. The time in Toronto told me that we are certainly on the right track - and even inspired the start of this blog. Stay tuned as I, with help from members of our "one family in mission" here at home and throughout the world, share the mission story and invite you to be a part of it.
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.