Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Every year our local parishes participate in the mission appeal of the church by receiving a missionary from different orders to contribute to the evangelization of the world. You may remember (pre-Covid) the different priests who have visited us. Next week, Fr. Pacifique Tsongo from the Augustinians of the Assumption will visit us at all masses.
Founded in Nimes, France in 1850, the Venerable Father Emmanuel d’Alzon gave as the motto to the Augustinians of the Assumption “Thy Kingdom Come” to underline “the coming of the reign of Jesus Christ for ourselves and for our neighbor is what we propose before everything else.” Presently they number close to 900 priests and brothers working in 30 countries. They have specialized ministries in Greece, Turkey, Israel, Madagascar, and they are present in some countries of South America, Africa, and in Asia.
From the very beginning, the Assumptionists, as they are known, have been engaged in a wide variety of apostolic works. All that advances the coming of the Reign of God has always been deemed worthy of their apostolic energy. It’s a preference for the poor, in response to the Gospel and to the Church calling us today to be on their side. For them too it’s a consequence of their own vow to live as poor men.
The Province of North America and the Philippines is specifically responsible for the mission in East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania), Mexico and the Philippines. They provide personnel and financial assistance that is indispensable in order to maintain their charitable works (schools and nurseries) and formation programs for both laity and clergy in these countries. Many of their apostolate in these countries specifically work to better the living conditions of the impoverished brothers and sisters they live with and minister to. In the Philippines, they sponsor education and aid programs for the underprivileged villages both in the Manilla area and in other mission centers. Their newly founded parish in Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico minister to an underserved indigenous community.
NEXT WEEK, we will have a second collection at all masses to support their mission. You can either bring cash or write a check to IC with the memo: Mission Appeal. Once we collect all the donations, we will pass the amount collected to them. I personally invite you all to be generous. Not only because God has always been generous with us, but it is an opportunity that we have to contribute to the building of God’s kingdom here on Earth. I have lived, participated, and visited many missions in different countries. They rely solely on God's providence. We can participate in God’s work and help those in need. There are times that I have had people asking me about different organizations if the funds really go to the missions.
Father Emmanuel d’Alzon’s vision comes from the Gospel of this week. He says, “The apostle loves the One who sends him; he must also love the one to whom he is sent, for his mission is one of love and of mercy. To share the mind of Jesus Christ who said: “I wish to bring fire on the Earth, and how I wish it were blazing already.” (Lk 12:49) The only desire of my life is to enkindle souls with this Divine Fire.” Let his words also inspire our hearts that we may be renewed in our zeal to make present God’s kingdom also in our houses and to those around us.
Father Steven Clemence