"Hello to my Mission family! Although my personal family obligations are keeping me here in Philadelphia this week, I was thrilled to catch up with you all on line this morning. Thanks to the video clips, I had a front row seat at the liturgy and Father Lehane's presentation. I already have Father Lehane's Power Point with photos from the Missions saved to share with the HCA members in Philadelphia. Keep on blogging! I can't wait to hear about Wednesday's presentations!" Maureen Rilling / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
"I enjoyed Father Timothy Lehane's talk on 'Stories Behind the Needs.' Learning about the mission efforts that are happening in countries such as Burundi, India, Rwanda, Uganda, Guinea, Nigeria and Pakistan, bring the stories and the people to life." Colleen Coughlin / St. Louis, Missouri
“Re-imagining the Missionary Spirit of the Local Church” / Father Phillip Cover
This was a great session.As a PMS Director who is also CRS director and responsible for local evangelization, I spend my days trying to juggle my obligations to all these different dimensions of my ministry.What I discovered was that they are so integrated I could not divide my attention.
What I heard today reinforced the idea that Universal Church, evangelization, mission, charity, justice, global solidarity, service ARE integrated and that we must attract people to our work and call people to their mission identity by integrating these ideas.We must share these integrated principles thru mission stories.And we must be creative in developing new ways to intentionally and consciously help the faithful reclaim their mission identity.
"I just visited the annual meeting site. Looks like too much fun and so am even more unhappy to not be there. And to get Sister Judy out of New Orleans, it must be quite the meeting! Regarding the fundraising workshop: that looks good and timely. We work closely with our estate planning people in the archdiocese, and they hand out our materials. Was there any discussion about demographic realities and new strategies? E.g., it seems from studies of Catholic parishes…as a U.S. church we cannot count, as we once did, on bequests being a giving feature of Catholics now under 55 years of age. As younger Catholics develop a different way of belonging to the Church, how do we relate to them, meet them, invite them to support this “family in mission”? (Your focus at this meeting on social networking is one response, of course.)
J.L. Drouhard / Seattle, Washington
Vicki Compton / Springfield, Illinois (left to right), Sister Madge Karecki / Chicago, Illinois, Maureen Colin / Chicago, Illinois and Dr. Mike Gable / Cincinnati, Ohio
"I feel sorry for all those who could not make it to this year’s meeting.It is shaping up to be the best in my 6 years of attendance!
By the best, I mean the most meaningful and the most useful.Last night our new Secretary General for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith shared with us stories and photographs of the good work being done in the mission field with the donations from US Catholics to the Propagation of the Faith.I can imagine telling these stories to a variety of audiences and sharing them in publications from my office and thru the diocesan newspaper.Now we need the same kinds of stories from HCA and St. Peter Apostle.WE CANNOT PROMOTE THE WORK OF THE PMS WITHOUT THESE STORIES
Included with each story from the mission field was a quote from a mission document.Using these quotes with the stories brings these documents to life and is a way to share these documents with people who otherwise would never be exposed to them.
I feel encouraged that our new Secretary General understands the work we do and the need we have for the International Office to give us the stories to make the Societies real for the people in the pew."
Vicki Compton / Springfield, Illinois
"I have an early flight back to Austin on Thursday morning - and I am so sorry to miss the conclusion of this meeting.
Thanks for all your hard work. I look forward to working with 'y'all' in the future. Great job on this conference! Bishop Aymond said I would be 'energized' after this. He was correct.
I was especially struck by two things at the opening dinner presentation that are related - love and brother (sister) hood. Mother Teresa's comment to the man, 'Love your wife,' and Monsignor Kozar's statement about brotherhood. 'Mission' to me is love - love like family-love, like spouse - love like God."
Deacon Bill Hobby / Austin, Texas
It is always a treat for me to be with my “family in mission” and this past meeting was as memorable as the last one. Fr. Tim Lehane’s presentation was excellent – giving us a partial accounting of where the money from the U.S. went, coupled with quotations from Church and Papal documents reminding us why we do what we do.
For me, there was one thing that made this meeting more than an animating “family reunion”, and that happened on the first day of our official meeting, during the presentation of Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg on “New Technologies, New Relationships, Harnessing the Power of New Media”. What was supposed to be a presentation of “harnessing the power of new media” became a living and self-awakening “Harnessing the Power of God” for me. As I listened to Sherry’s report on the new technologies, comparison on how fast information is being disseminated between now and the past, etc., and so on, I felt (naturally for someone who has “Office XP for Dummies” in her office) I was riding a roller coaster and when was I getting off. Without a warning and with the blink of an eye the screen went blank, the room became dark and the microphone went dead – BLACKOUT! Was it just the hotel? No. We were told in a few minutes that a quadrant of the city had a blackout. Sherry had to resort to her handwritten notes and speak to us without the aid of a microphone and what was the next point of her presentation happened to be? – about the focus of the media for us – the Incarnate Word. Our Lord saw fit to bring us back to the basics in order to remind us that He is the Power and the Source of all that we do – whether with technology or without technology – He is the message we bring by the witness of our lives and our words. It is true that in our present world we have the availability of new techs that enable us to bring Him faster to the ends of the world, but God, in the noontime of Wednesday, April 29, 2009, at least for me, showed us in a most dramatic and powerful way that “He is the One Who is and we are the ones who are not”.
Again, many thanks for all your hard work! You all did a fantastic job. Kudos to everyone. God bless you all.
Sister Marie de la Trinite Siopongco, SSVM
Sister Maria de la Revelacion Castaneda / Washington, D.C.
While I had a hectic week and was unable to check out the live presentations, I am so thankful for the chance to “catch up” with all of you who met in St. Louis! I already got so much material to work with and think about – even if you attended the sessions, it would be worth reviewing them at home. I always love Sr. Judy’s thoughts and already went on the new New Orleans website. Our own website needs some serious updating and I liked the “branding” idea to keep us all unified. I also am planning to be active on “Faith Book”, especially in regards to some new ideas to celebrate World Mission Sunday this year.
This morning I concentrated on Fr. Phillip Cover’s presentation on “Re-Imagining the Missionary Spirit of the LocalChurch”. Loved his viewpoints and especially all of his “What If’s”! How true that we all need to shake ourselves up a little and think way outside the box. As he put it, the average person in the pew is often unaware of PMS and the great need for mission; that we are all connected spiritually (“Every human being shares a DNA that is divine”), and that supernatural connection has to be fed and nourished. “What if” everyone prayed for just one person that they didn’t know around the world every day? One infant who was being fed crushed cheese doodles mixed with water instead of formula (an experience we faced visiting Kingston one year)? One Haitian child eating a mud pie to quiet their hunger pangs? One person suffering from AIDS in Africa? One priest struggling to spread the Good News in India? We don’t know their names, but God does! Our Catholic faith could change the world if we all took it seriously.
Also agreed with his thought that third world stories of faith can re-evangelize the first world. How true!! We in the U.S.need to be re-evangelized!! When we see the faith of people who live in extreme poverty, who live with disease, who exist and struggle under abusive governments, when we see them praising God and thanking Him – how humbling! To share these stories is to re-ignite the fire of our own faith. Very important for us all.
Thank you, Fr. Cover! I plan to re-read your presentation and start to “free fall” as much as I am able. Can’t wait to check out the rest of the talks. Wish I had been in St. Louis, but this is definitely the next best thing! Blessings and love to all!
Brenda Pistani / Rockville Centre, New York
Melonise Knight / Cincinnati, Ohio
"Monsignor Kozar closed our sessions by sharing two stories of mission visits to Nepal and India. To reiterate what he said, yes, we are blessed. We are honored to do the work we do! All need to experience not only the crucified Christ; they need to know the Resurrected Christ!
As Father Lehane noted in his thanks to Monsignor Kozar for a wonderful meeting, we are grateful to Monsignor Kozar's gifts to this mission family. We are truly 'one family in mission'!"
Father Joseph Miller, SVD / San Diego, California
"Our friend Sister Judy (New Orleans) sang, 'Let's get down to the nitty gritty.' In the workshop on Tuesday, speakers showed ways to reach new age donors - Internet blogging - web pages. At the same time remembering not to ignore our donors who have sustained us over the years. The key is 'half and half' - new technology and a mix of person to person (someone who shows an interest in mission work must be cultivated). Whatever it takes to educate - to tell the story - always keeping in mind that God's mission is not centered on money but on the 'Good News of God's love'! Do something new!" Sharon Warunek / Scranton, Pennsylvania
Father Timothy Lehane
"Father Tim Lehane, in his keynote address, told the story of Mother Teresa and a benefactor who wanted to give money, or build something. She repeatedly responded with, 'Love your wife' every time, but the man persisted in getting a concrete answer. When he told that story, I was reminded of what Mother said to me when I met her and asked, 'What would you like me to tell our school children when I speak to them about mission?' She said: 'Tell them to love one another as Jesus loves each one of them.'"
Miriam Heverline / Scranton, Pennsylvania
Miriam Heverline / Scranton, Pennsylvania
Hello to my "onefamilyinmission" friends,
The live@meeting website is great! Marie and I have kept up with all of the presenters, powerpoints and ideas. We were even able to check out YOUTUBE today and saw Monsignor Ignaci Siluvai's talk before it hit the site!
Thank you for reaching out to those of us at home!!!
The missionary spirit in St. Louis is reaching us too!
Melissa Legacki / Metuchen, New Jersey
"Father Phillip Cover of the NCEA enlivened participants at the annual meeting through his inspiring and challenging presentation. He urged us to break with the 'status quo' of society and 'be what we already are - missionary'! He challenged us to live the Gospel in a counter-cultural way because the 'status-quo' is 'incompatible with the reign of God.' He asked us to imagine scenarios in which we could dream of 'what if' situations of mission.
The public ministry of Jesus was presented as a new framework for re-imagining mission. Father Cover asked us to develop our capacity to hold together elements of mission in a creative tension of mystery and paradox.
All of this was developed in the context of raising consciousness of our mission to be stewards of creation and ministers of compassion to all people.
I was inspired and energized by Father Cover's talk. I gained many new insights and impulses for mission. I got 'wings to fly' back to Chicago with renewed zeal to meet the challenges of mission. Kudos to Father Cover!"
Sister Madge Karecki / Chicago, Illinois
"The workshop on Tuesday was so informative regarding fundraising and friend-raising for mission animation. Two things were particularly helpful to me. Monsignor Blood's concept of 'missionaires' gave me new potential ideas to incorporate with our New Orleans Missionary Rose Petals of St. Therese. In the segment by Sister Pauline, I gleaned an interesting method for promoting 'membership' in the Propagation of the Faith and therefore raising monies for the general solidarity fund! I left the session with enthusiasm and the willingness to make some changes to our local program."
Sister Judy Gomila, msc
Sharon Warunek / Scranton, Pennsylvania
Hello to fellow 'Family in Mission' Missioners!
This Wednesday morning has been an enlightening experience for all of us - bringing us all more closely knit together in one mind to help build up the Missions where the "Good News" of Jesus Christ is proclaimed to everyone.
As you can imagine, the presentation by Ms. Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg on New Technologies/New Relationships was fast-paced as new technology's growth itself. New words were introduced like "prosumer", "twitterer" and "Web 2.0" and used as frequently as the 74% of the US population uses the internet. Hearing the fast pace of the growth of technology and how quickly changes are occurring, left me, and I am sure most of the folks in the room, breathless. Just think about some of these facts:
-New Media is reaching 220 million people each day through Facebook and MySpace -You no longer "surf" the net - it is a destination. You are a "prosumer" deciding where, what and when you want to receive communication.
-70% of people use more than one type of new media at the same time [you are on-line listening to your MP3] -Twitter, a micro-blogging social network, grew 965% last year.
It was also interesting to hear the latest in research that revealed who was on-line. Thinking that your donors are not -- wrong! 72% of those aged 50-65 years old and 41% of those over 65 years old use the internet. For many of us, that's our audience. Knowing the ages of our donors it is hard to look at the figures and not consider a means of communication on it.
This change in technology is also changing the attitudes of Church and faith. People hear what they want to hear, what they want to believe and when they want to hear it [not really changed from of old, but now they can shut off the message completely]. This challenges us all in the development of our Mission messages. We must prepare smaller bits of information for people to make decisions on, as attention span times are becoming shorter and shorter.
Our message must be just as God's communication to us by sending His only Son, Jesus. It must be heartful and sincere.
Without the ability for a heart to communicate to a heart - there is nothingness. And no surprise there that is must be of God. Every message we convey should bring people into the story tugging at the heart.
When Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg was talking about God's message, as if God's presence was with us and He wanted to let us know that He was in agreement, all the electricity in the room went out. The room was quiet. For a minute there was hardly a sound, before the realization of the situation set in. This forced us to remember who ultimately was in charge. Regardless of the fast-paceness of our society - there is not much in our control. And we always need to adapt.
Without electricity, the presentation went on - talking almost became more personal and one-on-one, like our messages must become. It took more IMAGINATION instead of RELIABILITY on TECHNOLOGY. This theme carried through in the next speaker, Father Tom Kopp from the Archdiocese of Boston, who left us with a wonderful kernel of thought: The power of the media with our IMAGINATION is LIMITLESS."
Michele Meiers / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Monsignor Ignaci Siluvai
The intense love for Jesus flowed out of Msgr. Ignaci Siluvai through his enthusiasm and each of his words. I was reminded of the zeal that I have heard in the voice of many visiting missionaries who share the Gospel with such piercing simplicity. A simplicity of a heart on fire with love for Jesus. Msgr. spoke of calling his countries Mission Directors to be on fire. He also set our hearts on fire as he described this fire as the fire of Jesus love to inflame all hearts. This is the heart of every missionary and all who are baptized are called to be missionaries. God is blessing the Church in India with vocations, conversions and martyrs. I hope to take some of this fire home to my diocese and my relationship with Jesus and I invite you to take some too.
Father Bill Holoubek / Lincoln, Nebraska
"We were witness this morning (Thursday, April 29) to an enthusiastic presentation of the possibilities of 'New Media' for the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States. Not only did she present the media, Monica Yehle showed us how they have already been put into operation by the National Office and are at the disposal of everyone - acutally any one worldwide. Way to go! Hang on! We're in for a whirlwind of a ride!" Father Fred Saviano / Bridgeport, Connecticut
"How do I even begin to sum up the experiences of the 2009 Pontifical Mission Societies National Meeting?All I can say is that this year’s meeting – my first meeting ever – was one of the best experiences of my life!Never before have I been surrounded by such a wonderful, kind, passionate, and dedicated group of people.I enjoyed meeting every person, hearing every story, and seeing how all of our mission efforts – whether we are in St. Louis, Detroit, India, or Fiji – are truly making a difference in the lives of people around the world.
Although I live and work here in St. Louis and was thrilled to welcome everyone to my hometown, it’s important for me to say that I, too, felt so completely welcomed and embraced.The warmth and kindness of each person made me feel right at home in this “one family in mission”, even though I had never attended a meeting or met anyone, except for a handful, before.I feel privileged to have met each and every person, and I am so impressed by the work that everyone in the Pontifical Mission Societies is doing.Having lunch and learning about Native American reservations from Deacon Joseph and Virginia Krikawa and Father Arkad Biczak … reading Morning Prayer with Sister Madge Karecki and Genevieve Elizondo … seeing the smiling face of Father Terrence Mulkerin ... enjoying a riverboat ride with Sister Elvira Rios … talking about HCA under the Gateway Arch with Maureen Heil.These are just a few of the many people and memories that I have carried away with me from this meeting.They have inspired me and taught me what mission is all about.
As for our National Staff – what a lovely, wonderful group of people.It was great to finally meet and spend time with each of them in person.Paul, Erica, Patty, Iliana, Ray, Monica, and Monsignor Kozar – you are all awesome and I thank you for everything you do for the missions and for all of us.You are truly an inspiration and I am overjoyed to be part of this “one family in mission” with each of you.Thank you."