Furthering the Mission of Christ
As I compose this, the first of my president's columns for Glenmary Challenge, I am surrounded by boxes and the things of my life that are awaiting transport from North Carolina to Cincinnati.
Since my election in June, I have been trying to fulfill my new presidential responsibilities via telephone and cybercommunication while preparing the parishes in North Carolina (the Catholic Community of Bertie County and St. Joan of Arc, Washington County) for a smooth transition to new leadership.
Working in Glenmary's administration certainly poses a challenge for me. My work will remain fundamentally the same: furthering the mission of Christ by helping establish the Catholic Church in those regions of the United States where it has not taken root. The difference is that now I will minister in more of a support role rather than as a mission pastor.
Glenmarians and our coworkers represent a wide range of personalities and approaches to proclaiming the Good News. But a unifying thread is our concern for the individual. That personal contact is priceless. In instance after instance, people have thanked us for taking the time to care.
Driving back to North Carolina after our Chapter, I noticed an elderly gentleman during a lunch stop. There was nothing extraordinary about him—except that he was alone. He was in his late 70s and had a pleasant demeanor. I wondered: Is he a widower? Is that why he is alone? It led me to think of the many Glenmarians and coworkers who are rays of sunshine for those who are most alone in this world.
The stories from the missions that we put on paper represent real life, real flesh-and-blood people. We walk with them in their joys and sorrows. We may celebrate the sacraments with them in the morning and wait with them at the hospital that evening, hoping the emergency room doctor brings good news.
Typically when a Glenmarian changes assignments, he receives a wonderful send-off from the people he has served. On my final day in North Carolina that was certainly true. I visited with everyone, posed for pictures, enjoyed the food. One of the last families I saw had recently lost their eight-year-old daughter in a car accident. They hugged me and thanked me for my help. But what had I done? I prayed with them, mourned with them. They knew how badly I felt for their tragedy. I could not bring back their precious child, but somehow my being with them brought a measure of comfort and strength at a very difficult time. I dare say everyone in Glenmary ministry could share similar stories.
The support of our donors enables us be present to all those living in our mission areas. It is truly a wonderful ministry, a wonderful calling. Our recent Chapter helped us set direction for the next four years. As you prayed with us in preparation, please join us now in giving thanks for the graces of the Chapter.
Prayer of ThanksgivingLoving Father, you are the source of life and goodness. We rejoice in the gift of your son Jesus, who dwells constantly in our midst and reveals to us the splendor of your love.
Thank you for showering your grace upon Glenmary during their 15th General Chapter.
Blessed by your love and wisdom, Glenmary missioners have grown in love and have discerned how best they can serve the mission regions of the United States in the coming years.
Lord Jesus Christ, Master of the Harvest, you are the true light come into the world. Thank you for the graces bestowed on Glenmary during their Chapter.
As a community of missioners, they once again dedicate their missionary efforts to ensuring that your Gospel may shine through them to the most forgotten and neglected areas of our country.
Holy Spirit, you have opened the hearts and minds of Glenmary missioners to the Divine call. May all who labor in the home mission fields live that call zealously, generously and courageously, seeking always the Father's will.