VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI asked Catholics to give generously this year to the Church’s missionary agencies, saying that young Church communities need the funding at a time of economic crisis.
The pope made the comments in his message for World Mission Sunday, observed Oct. 18 in most countries. The text was published by the Vatican Sept. 5.
The pope said missionary zeal has always been a sign of Church vitality. He asked all Catholics to pray for an increase in missionary passion and to support missionaries who work on the front lines of evangelization, often under hostile conditions.
“I ask everyone, as a credible sign of communion among the churches, to offer financial assistance, especially in these times of crisis affecting all humanity, to enable the young local churches to illuminate the nations with the Gospel of charity,” he said.
“I mention especially the local churches and the men and women missionaries who bear witness to and spread the kingdom of God in situations of persecution, subjected to forms of oppression ranging from social discrimination to prison, torture and death,” he said.
I write to you to encourage your full participation in the celebration of World Mission Sunday on Oct. 18.
On World Mission Sunday we are called to focus our attention on the great needs of the Church in the Developing World. I encourage you to pray, to sacrifice and give generous financial support, all of which are so vitally needed by more than 1,100 mission dioceses throughout Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and some remote regions of Latin America.
In times of tragedy — natural disaster, war and persecution — our mission family looks to the Church for help and hope. World Mission Sunday celebrates our unity as members of the Church worldwide and provides an opportunity to support the life-giving presence of missionaries and their work with the training of local priests, religious and lay catechists among the suffering and poor in mission territories.
It was a trip of a lifetime for one St. Louis seminarian — a journey that opened his eyes to the some of the world’s poorest and further opened his heart to what it means to treat a person with dignity.
Ray Buehler, a first-year theology student at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, spent seven weeks this summer in Calcutta, India, working with Blessed Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. While in India, he met up with fellow Kenrick-Glennon seminarian Don Anstoetter, who is currently studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
During their stay, Buehler primarily volunteered at two places: Prem Dan, a long-term care facility for men and women who are sick, handicapped and elderly; and Nirmal Hriday, for the dying and destitute.
Buehler said the experience helped him grow in his desire to treat every human being with dignity, born out of a love for Christ.
As a parent of a young adult with Down Syndrome, Bob Villaire is always on the run.
“You find yourself running them constantly — bowling, dances,” Villaire said of life with his son, Andy.
A member of St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Ellisville, Villaire noted it had been difficult to find social activities in West County for adults with disabilities.
Several years ago, he and his wife, Gerry, approached their parish’s Knights of Columbus Council about offering a monthly dance. The idea quickly spread, and several West County Councils and Ladies’ Auxiliaries pitched in to help organize and serve as chaperones.
The parties, called “Felice Cuores,” which means “happy heart” in Italian, are open to anyone over the age of 18 with a mental or developmental disability.
The archdiocesan Office of Youth Ministry will once again be taking teens to Washington, D.C. this January for the annual March for Life.
The office had to discontinue the trip several years ago after it underwent budget cuts. With a recent growth in staff, “it just made sense to do it again,” according to coordinator of youth ministry Ron Garcia.
“The Way, The Truth and The Life,” will accommodate up to 500 teens. Registration opened last month at the Youth Ministry Office’s website, www.stlyouth.org. The staff is collaborating with the archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate to plan the trip.
“St. Louis is filled with some super on-fire teens, and they want to make it known to the world that there is only one option that makes any sense, and that is life,” said Garcia.
In Swahili, the word “maafa” means “great disaster” or “tragedy.”
So it’s fitting that the word would become the title of a new documentary that shows how the abortion industry in the United States is targeting members of the African-American community.
Released this summer, “Maafa21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America,” features St. Louisan Connie Eller, a longtime African-American volunteer with the pro-life movement here and coordinator of Missouri Blacks for Life.
The two-hour documentary, produced by Texas-based Life Dynamics Inc. and its founder Mark Crutcher, serves as an expose of the link between abortion, racism and the eugenics movement. It draws on examples, from the time of slavery, of the use of sterilization, birth control and abortion to “control” the black population in the United States. Those behind the making of the video estimate that abortion has reduced the black population in the United States by about 25 percent.