The Mission Bell Rings at Glenmary

Brother David Henley, Glenmary vocation directorSeptember 2012

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."—Lk 10:1-2

A week ago the mission bell at Glenmary Headquarters rang out loudly as some Glenmarians prepared to travel to their new mission assignments. After morning prayer, the Glenmary Council members, me, and other Glenmary priests and brothers all gathered around the bell to send off Father Vic Subb, Father Crispine Adongo and Father Aaron Wessman. Father Vic, a veteran missioner who had been serving as a vocation counselor for the preceding six months, will serve as pastor for three missions in Lafayette and Celina, Tenn., and Scottsville, Ky. Father Crispine will be serving in his first mission assignment as associate pastor with Father Vic. Brother Larry Johnson will join them as a member of their mission team. Meanwhile, Father Aaron will serve as associate pastor with the mission team already in Maynardville and Rutledge, Tenn.

Newly ordained Glenmary Father Cris Adongo sets out for his first mission assignments in Tennessee, after fellow Glenmarians rang the mission bell at Cincinnati Headquarters to see him off.Preparing to move, packing, traveling to a new mission, dealing with the uncertainties of how people will greet you and what specific needs will present themselves—all these factors make it an exciting time for the missioners. But it is especially exciting and challenging for Father Aaron and Father Crispine, who were ordained only three months ago. After many years of study and preparation, they were finally sent off to serve in the missions. To be missioners in Mission Land, USA, is why all of us enter Glenmary, and now these two men are reaching that goal.

Their studies were a crucial part of that preparation. As Glenmary's founder, Father William Howard Bishop, said: "Specialized training will be as necessary for this work as it is for the foreign missions... We plan to go into our home mission fields not one bit less equipped than our foreign mission societies go into the foreign mission fields..."

It is ironic that when a person finally reaches the end of one journey, a whole new journey begins. School is over for these two men, but their journey as missioners has just started. They do not know for certain what they will find in the missions, but they are taking the risk, offering themselves, and going out to build up the Kingdom of God. They both have many gifts to share with the people they will be serving, and they will learn a great deal from their fellow missioners.

For Father Vic and Brother Larry, the journey begins again. Both have served in many missions, but this will be the first time they have lived and worked together in the same missions. They too were excited and eager to go out to their new assignment and serve the people of God.

They are all taking with them these words of Father Bishop: "The true missioner adopts all the people in his area, regardless of creed, for his own. His aim is to make all of them better people and bring them nearer to God. Whether he ever makes a convert to the Church or not, the town, the county, the lives of the people must be better because of his example, his preaching, his activities among the poor, the sick, and the sinful of all creeds and none."

Glenmary vocation team members will be traveling to visit some of these missioners at their new missions during Thanksgiving week. If you are interested in joining with us and others who are discerning their call to missionary life on this trip, please contact us to make your reservation.