Pontifical Mission Societies
On the third Sunday of October, every Catholic parish around the world takes a World Mission Sunday Collection. Perhaps you have generously donated but, like so many others, are not sure who benefits from this collection. The Pontifical Mission Societies (TPMS) are a worldwide network at the service of the Pope, supporting the missions with prayer and charity. The TPMS includes the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of St. Peter the Apostle, the Missionary Childhood Association (MCA), and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious.
Last month, I was pleased to attend a reception and presentation on the TPMS on Nantucket. The reception was hosted by Jim Nicholson, who was the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, and the presentation was organized by Monsignor Kieran Harrington, the National Director of The Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States. Among the speakers were Cardinal Sean O’Malley, in his role as a member of the board of the National Propagation of the Faith, and Bishop Selvister Ponnumuthan from Kerala, India, whose diocese has been supported by the TPMS. The presentations offered that day reminded the attendees that we are one universal Church; all connected by our humanity and our One God. For those who have been blessed with the luxuries of food, clean water, and shelter, there is a responsibility to care for our brothers and sisters who do not have these precious resources.
It is not, however, to ever be considered one-way financial giving and taking as Bishop Ponnumuthan shared in his presentation. What the Church is blessed with in return comes from what those who are served by the World Missions Collection have in abundance — providing the Church with vocations, enduring faith, prayers, and service. Incredible sources of grace, strength, and joy for the wider Church.
As October 21 and 22 approach, I invite each parish to do more than just pass the basket; instead use this opportunity to learn more and educate others on the important work of the TPMS. There are many reasons to see World Mission Sunday as more than a Mass with a second collection. What a wonderful way to grow our understanding of our roles of being good stewards with the gifts with which God has blessed us. And, as Msgr. Harrington pointed out, parishes that go the extra mile, for example through homilies that discuss the collection or a coffee and donuts information/discussion session, raise more money so that more people can be helped. What a beautiful win-win for every one of us—the Body of Christ.
As the cards, condolences, and Masses for my mother, Josefa da Cunha, continue to pour in, I want again to express my deepest gratitude. Your kindness means so much and has brought great comfort to me and to my family during this difficult time.
I would also like to take a moment to send a word of thankful appreciation to all who made a donation to the 2023 annual Catholic Appeal. As I’ve shared in many blog posts over the last few years, your support of the Appeal provides care, services, and assistance to a great many people in our diocese. Thank you for your sacrifice and generosity; you can never imagine how even the smallest gift brings the greatest blessings. The grand total for this year’s Catholic Appeal will be available from the Catholic Foundation by the end of the week; it will be available on the Diocesan website and in the next edition of the Anchor.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha