World Mission Day Mass urges sharing of God’s love, gifts
CARROLLTON — Dozens of parishioners from across the diocese prayed and showed their support for missionary work during the Oct. 23 World Mission Mass at St. Catherine of Siena Church.
Father Tony Rauschuber, SJ, director of Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House, spoke during his homily of the gratitude attitude and of our shared baptismal call to mission.
“God has given us life and everything that goes with it,” Fr. Rauschuber said. “Spiritually, we need the proper attitude, proper disposition before God. The question I have for you and I is: are we grateful, or do we spend most of our time focusing on what we don’t have?
“Gratitude is giving and loving out of knowledge of being loved by God and all that God has given you and me.”
In quoting Pope Francis, Fr. Rauschuber said that gratitude, once properly understood, becomes infectious.
“‘Once we experience the power of God’s love and recognize His fatherly presence in our personal and community life, we cannot help but proclaim and share what we have heard,’ is the first line of a letter from Pope Francis for this World Mission Sunday,” Fr. Rauschuber said.
The great needs of mission dioceses across the world are even more so in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fr. Rauschuber said, quoting a letter from Bishop Michael Olson who was in Rome that weekend.
“The global pandemic has amplified the poverty, injustices, and suffering of so many,” Bishop Olson said. “As we rebuild our lives, let us be generous in helping others rebuild theirs.”
World Mission Day, dubbed “One Sunday for the Whole World,” occurs the second-to-last Sunday of each October.
The day, according to the Diocese of Fort Worth’s website, joins Catholics the world over to “recommit ourselves to our common vocation, through Baptism, to be missionaries, through prayer, participation in the Eucharist, and by giving generously to the collection for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.”
The impact of all of the above, Fr. Rauschuber said, is huge.
Funds collected help support more than 1,100 mission dioceses, about 15,000 Catholic schools educating more than 6 million children, and about 10,000 orphanages, in addition to the education of seminarians and more.
Father Sushil Tudu, TOR, of St. Catherine said his parish celebrates the World Mission Day Mass each year but had never hosted the day on a diocesan level.
Representatives from Educate the Children-Bolivia, Educate the Children-Honduras, the Diocesan Mission Council, and other outreach organizations were on hand following the Mass to distribute information about their missions.
“It’s an honor to host this year’s event,” Fr. Tudu said. “It brings awareness of various world missions to our parishioners in hope that they will want to pray for and support those missions. We also have an active parish mission team and work to grow local partnerships.”
St. Catherine’s mission team differs from those of some other parishes, said Mission Council Member Tom Snodgrass.
“We focus more on local mission as opposed to, say, Honduras,” Snodgrass said. “With us it’s more downtown Dallas or Hope Shelter in Mineral Wells. We work to meet the needs of people closer to our parish.”
Snodgrass became involved with the parish mission council in 2007. He and his wife, Annette, are also members of the Diocesan Mission Council, which works with Bishop Olson to coordinate and support local and international mission activities.
“At the time [the parish mission council] was starting it was talk of foreign missions, which honestly sounded exciting,” Snodgrass said. “But service at home or service abroad, it’s really about service to others in the big picture.”
St. Catherine Parish Mission Council Member Rosemary Manganilla described mission as a call to service.
“And that’s kind of ingrained in me from when I was little working with my parents,” Manganilla said. “It’s what you do, serve others.”
Team member Barbara Vanikiotis spoke of the importance of going beyond simply showing up for Mass.
“It’s about having a servant’s heart,” Vanikiotis said. “If you’re baptized, you’re a missionary and for me that’s about reaching beyond the boundaries of our parish.”
“At the end of every Mass they say, ‘Go forth,’ and to me that is a call to do exactly this,” Snodgrass said.
Colleen Cargile, a parishioner at St. John the Apostle in North Richland Hills, serves on the Diocesan Mission Council.
“Basically, we work to animate parishes to live out their Gospel calls in whatever ways their parish can best do that,” Cargile said.
Cargile’s brother, Father Jack McKone, is heavily involved in mission work, as is she herself, having traveled to Guatemala numerous times over the past 23 years. Those trips have taught her generosity, hospitality, and helped her grow spiritually.
Mike Wuller of Educate the Children—Bolivia detailed the work that missionaries of that organization undertake to spread Christ’s love and address educational and other practical needs. ETC-Bolivia established and operates the largest boarding school in the southern region of Bolivia.