Glenmarians Share Perspectives on Annual Mission Appeals

Posted: 7/18/2012

It's summer once again—the height of mission appeal season for Glenmary. These appeals are part of the Mission Cooperation Plan (MCP) sponsored annually by U.S. diocesan Propagation of the Faith offices. The MCP gives missionary organizations like Glenmary the opportunity to increase parish members' mission awareness and request their help.

This year, 20 Glenmarians and lay coworkers will be making appeals during weekend Masses at 64 parishes in 26 dioceses. Glenmary missioners share a deep appreciation for these opportunities—and also offer some insights based on their Glenmary roles and experiences.

"The two primary reasons we give these appeals are to educate parishioners about U.S. mission needs and to ask them for their prayers and financial support," says Father Chet Artysiewicz, Glenmary's president. "It's a tremendous benefit and learning experience for us to tell Glenmary's story and introduce Catholics in parishes across the country to our missioners. Many people decide to help us, some on a continuing basis. Without the ongoing generosity of our supporters, Glenmary simply could not carry out its ministry.

"In addition," he says, "these appeals benefit parish members by raising their awareness of what's going on in the Church, what the needs are—especially the mission needs of rural America and the Catholic Church in those areas—and how needs are being met. We're giving them the chance to respond to their own baptismal missionary call, some even by answering vocation calls to Glenmary mission work."

Father Neil Pezzulo, Glenmary's first vice president, also stresses the value of building relationships with parishes when possible. "As an example, at one Ohio parish last summer, I gave an appeal and got to know the secretary and deacons. In the fall, the pastor invited me and Brother David Henley (vocation director) to celebrate Vocation Sunday Masses and offer reflections on missionary and Glenmary vocations. This year, the parish has asked me to celebrate Masses while the pastor is away. And some parish members are now regular Glenmary supporters. This type of relationship is valuable for everybody involved."

As Glenmary development director, Father Dominic Duggins says parish appeals are a very important income source. (In the last fiscal year, contributions resulting from these appeals totaled over $168,000.) But he always presents the bigger picture to parishioners. "I emphasize that we're all called to be missionary—in our parishes, dioceses, workplaces, schools and, most of all, our homes. Glenmary's mission appeals invite people to become involved spiritually and financially in the larger Church. If they can only offer prayers, that's just as important."

Brother David says that "mission appeals have huge value for us and parishioners. For example, potential vocation discerners can learn about and meet us in person. I emphasize vocations in my appeals. Over the years, we have talked to many young people (during appeal visits) who have expressed interest in Glenmary as a possible future path."

Father Cris Adongo and Father Aaron Wessman are newly ordained Glenmary priests who will begin ministering as associate pastors in missions this fall. But they look forward to giving their first parish appeals this summer.

"As a Kenyan who came here to become a priest and serve in the U.S. missions," Father Cris says, "I can talk to parishioners about the universal Church. I'm really glad to have the chance to share my Glenmary story, why I'm so grateful and excited, and how they can be our partners. I'll tell them I can be their messenger as I start my ministry."

Father Aaron says he's an example of how the Spirit continues calling people to the priesthood and missionary work. "I'm honored to speak about something so precious to me. When I was ordained, I felt overwhelming gratitude. I want to thank people, say I'm ready to give back, and ask them to join in by supporting us."

Parishes wishing to host Glenmary for future mission appeals can contact their diocesan mission offices.

This article first appeared in the Summer 2012 Home Mission News newsletter.