Glenmary Team Tells Home Mission Story to Students in Kansas
by Pat McEntee
Associate Vocation Director
Glenmary vocation director Brother David Henley and I recently logged more than 1,000 miles of driving, plus at least twice as many miles through the air, to complete an excursion to and through the Diocese of Salina (Kan.) on behalf of the Glenmary Vocation Office. The purpose was simple: to share the story about Glenmary's mission to rural America with grade school and middle school students in the diocese.
Glenmary was invited to participate in the Mission Week celebration in schools around the Salina diocese in late October. The presentations took us as far west as Colby (a mere 50 miles from the Colorado border) and as far north and east as Hanover (just a few miles from the Nebraska border).
The schools along the way were located in towns that could easily have been mistaken for Glenmary mission areas because these towns are similar in size to the places where Glenmary missions are located. But many towns on the tour actually had a fairly significant number of Catholics, so the students were often surprised to hear that less than 3 percent of the people in Glenmary mission areas are Catholic.
At each stop along the school tour, we were amazed and uplifted by the enthusiasm and excitement the children showed while listening to our message about Glenmary. We used the same theme as the one used for World Mission Sunday, "As the Father has sent me, so I send you" (Jn 20:21), to remind the students that each of them is called to be a missioner. God intends for each one of us to help carry out his mission in the world. The way God calls each person to do that is unique, so finding this way is something for which each of us has to strive.
We gave students a 50- to 60-minute presentation that included time to learn the basics about Glenmary, mission needs, the differences between priesthood and brotherhood, and a discussion about where in the world missionaries should go to serve. In addition, most students watched a DVD about Glenmary.
After a short quiz with prizes, students were treated to a juggling show by Brother David. Besides being fun, the juggling reminded the children that God has given each of us a collection of unique gifts and talents to share with others. "Our talents are God's gift to us," I reminded them. "What we do with these talents is our gift back to God."
In the final part of the presentation, we invited the students to pray for home mission needs. Each student received a prayer card, and each group prayed with us before we left for the next school. Each school was given a package of Glenmary materials, including a DVD, additional prayer cards and activity sheets, allowing the teachers to follow up with their students after the presentation and allowing the students to continue reflecting and praying about Glenmary Home Missioners.
If you know of a diocese, school, or parish who might be interested in a mission education presentation for students at any grade level, please contact Allison Barrett at Glenmary.