Adopt-a-Missioner Program: Pledging Prayer, Support for a Missioner's Work
Editor's Note: Since this article was first posted, Brother Craig Digmann has been "adopted" through the Adopt-a-Missioner program and is now serving in Glenmary's new mission areas in East Tennessee.
"And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring [the] Good News!'"—Rom 10:15
Glenmary's Adopt-a-Missioner Program is designed to match a missioner with an individual, couple, group or parish who want to support his work, says Allison Barrett, coordinator of the Mission Education and Ministry Office.
"This program invites people to answer their baptismal missionary calls by pledging mutual prayer, financial support and regular communication," she says. "It's a two-way, personal relationship that benefits the missioner and adopters."
All Glenmary missioners, as well as men in the last stage of formation, can be adopted.
Four potential adoptees talked recently about the value they see in the Adopt-a-Missioner program. Brother David Henley is Glenmary's vocation director. The other three men professed Final Oath in May 2011: Aaron Wessman and Crispine Adongo are Glenmary seminarians and transitional deacons who will be ordained as priests this year; Brother Craig Digmann is now a brother—and no longer a brother-in-training. (See recent article on Crispine.)
"This program," says Brother David, "would allow the persons who adopt me to be partners in our vocation ministry, which is so important to Glenmary's future." He says he'd be extremely thankful for the mutual prayers and the support adopters would provide Glenmary for his work.
Aaron points out that whoever adopts him would be helping ensure that he can complete his final year of priesthood studies and then take on his future ministry. Because of their prayers and support for Aaron, adopters would also be making a difference in the lives of people he'll serve in the missions. "It would be a wonderful gift," he says. "I'd also be praying for and communicating with adopters as I do my work."
Brother Craig adds that when a person or group can't answer their baptismal calls by doing mission work, adopting a missioner is just as meaningful a way to respond, he says.
"Knowing that we're praying for each other, and that the adopters are helping support my ministry, would be a tremendous uplift. And keeping in touch with them would be a blessing."
Two longtime adoptees have already experienced the program's benefits:
Brother Joe Steen's ministries have included working on the Brothers Building Crew and codirecting the candidacy and postnovitiate programs. Larry Kreimer of Cincinnati says he admires Glenmary's work, adopted Brother Joe in 2000, and prays for him often. "Glenmarians like Brother Joe reach out to other people, help them and break down barriers," he says.
The generous donations and prayers from Larry and others "allow me to do the work I'm called to do," says Brother Joe. "I pray for all our supporters; we're all linked together."
Father Steve Pawelk was an associate pastor and pastor prior to serving as vocation director until 2010. He's preparing for his next assignment. His home parish, St. Timothy in Maple Lake, Minn., has adopted him since 1991.
"We see how he touches people with Christ's love," says religious education director Debbie Biegler, a lifelong parishioner.
The congregation has been very supportive, Father Steve says. "The mutual prayer has been even more important to me than the donations."
For more information, contact Allison Barrett at 800-935-0975.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2011 Home Mission News.