In October the Church celebrates Mission Sunday. Throughout the year, she places before us the needs of others and the mission and task of sharing the good news and responding to those needs, both physical and spiritual. And in our diocese, through the leadership of the Mission Office - the Propagation of the Faith - each year every parish is visited by someone representing a missionary effort of the Church, providing information regarding their work and seeking prayers and financial support for their efforts.
Last weekend was our Mission Co-operative visit here at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish. We were visited by Sister Mary Jennifer, a Religious and co-founder of the Adorer Missionary Sisters of the Poor from the Diocese of Moshi in Tanzania. Their religious community is rather young, and their efforts are three fold: first to adore the Eucharistic Lord in a special way; to help those in need, especially the poor, and to do so specifically by caring for the many orphans in their parish / diocese / country that find themselves alone because of the epidemic of HIV that effects so many. Sister told us that in her parish in the Diocese of Moshi, they have around 700 orphan children that need help with food, education, love and even a place to stay. The Adorer Missionary Sisters have over eighty in their convent/orphanage at the present time, with the need to take more in.
Sister spoke at the three Masses last weekend, and our people responded with their usual warmth and welcome, their prayers that day and those pledged in the days to come, and a very generous response financially to Sister's appeal. In fact, of all of my years of these Mission Co-op appeals, this was one of the greatest, if not the largest, response that I remember in that second collection. Our people once again overwhelm me with their generous spirit. Not all of these speakers do a good job [I remember one who visited to tell us that he had never been in a missionary land himself, but knew that those in the mission lands liked to hand out candy to the youngsters at their mission, so he asked for our help], and Sister did an outstanding job is bringing the message of the Gospel come alive in Tanzania to our people in Western Pennsylvania. All for the glory of God and the care of his people. We are family. We are Church, We are the Body of Christ.
The Sisters have an informative web site: adorermissionarysistersofthepoor.org. Check it out.