Appeals Remind Catholics of Call to Mission, Gain Support for Glenmary

Posted: 1/19/2011

Since Glenmary was founded in 1939, appeal presentations by Glenmary missioners at parishes around the country have been an important way to spread the word about—and gain support for—the home missions where Glenmary ministers.

During the 2010 appeal season, for example, 18 missioners gave appeals at 64 parishes in 31 U.S. dioceses, says Allison Barrett, coordinator of Glenmary's mission education and ministry office. Allison schedules the presentations made by Glenmary priests, brothers and coworkers.

The funds generated by collections at these parishes are a great help in continuing the society's work. "Most important, the appeals remind people that our call to mission as Catholics is to give others an opportunity to share our faith," she says. "And they raise awareness that Glenmary's mission is to reach out to people in our own country."

Missioners also ask for prayers for Glenmary's ministry. "And they ask parishioners to pray for vocations to priesthood and religious life—and Glenmary vocations," Allison says.

Father Gus Guppenberger gave his first appeals 50 years ago. As he points out, the favorite visual aid used by missioners is still "a U.S. map showing the many counties [in 2011, over 360] where there is no Catholic church community or no resident Catholic pastoral minister." He says parish members' most common reaction to this information is total surprise.

"Appeals give us a chance to be in touch with the larger Catholic Church. Every parish is different," says Father François Pellissier, Glenmary's major gifts officer. "I also think it's especially important for people to actually meet a Glenmary missioner."

Father Dominic Duggins, first vice president and director of the development officer, says he thanks the parishioners for their local responses to their baptismal missionary call. "Then I point out that by supporting Glenmary they can respond in a more universal way. I'm always moved by their generosity and interest."

Each August, appeal applications are sent to selected dioceses. Starting in January, Allison begins making arrangements with Glenmary missioners to go on these mission appeals. Actual presentations are then made from February through October. "Many times our missioners use their vacation days to give appeals," she says.

"It's meaningful for me to coordinate the visits," she adds, "because they're a great way to help people learn more about Glenmary.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2011 Home Mission News newsletter.