Columban Sister Virgie Mozo writes about the Mission Congress
From this year’s theme: God’s Mission, Many Faces: A Portrait of US Catholics in Mission, we saw that we all have a different role to play: Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Religious and Lay, in partnership and in grace for the sake of the gospel. Our gathering renewed our mission spirit and sharpened our focus on the importance of evangelization in a Globalised world. The first keynote speaker, Fr. Gary Riebe-Estrella, SVD, used the concept of the canvas for the painter to lay out the context of mission. This was to help us discern the movement of the Spirit in the US Church in mission today. A challenging concept!
Sr. Janice McLaughlin MM, the second keynote speaker, chose as her topic ‘Turned Upside Down – Learnings and Challenges’ (A Missioner’s Journey in South Africa). She took experiences from her 40 years of mission work in Africa as the background of what she sees the face of contemporary U.S. mission. Crimes against the Earth and human trafficking as crime against women and children call for action by the Baptized. The Laity have grown in competence, personal and community formation, and respect as missioners in and from the United States, and this reality will be a major gift in the future of mission.
Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras shared the: Continental Mission in Light of Aparecida. He challenged us to learn from the experience of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean on how to energize and embrace our mission identity and leadership that is our call.
Four USCMA Resolutions were passed:
- Nuclear Weapons Reduction. Based on the moral imperative to rid the world of nuclear weapons, we the USCMA, join the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in supporting a strong and bi-partisan action on the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) as an important and essential step toward a nuclear-weapons-free future.
- Public Law 107-110 No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Using the lens of the Gospels and the Catholic Social Teachings, USCMA calls for the restructuring of the current, enacted legislation, Public Law 107-110, No Child Left Behind, to bring justice and improved equitable education to the Title-1 and inner-city schools.
- International Violence Against Women Act. The USCMA joins the Africa Faith & Justice Network in support of the International Violence against Women Act (HR4594,S2982).
- The DREAM Act. Be it resolved that we, the USCMA, continue to advocate justice for immigrants by calling on our membership to support and campaign for the passage of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act).
On our final night we had dinner and the presentation of awards: The Columban Mission Education program received the Mission Award from the USCMA for 25 years of providing mission education to the American Church. It was given “In recognition of excellence and creativity in Mission Education and Promotion.” Fr. Arturo Aguilar and Sr. Jeanne Janssen, CSJ current Columban Mission Editor, accepted the award on behalf of all the Columban Missioners.
I’ll end my reflection with words from the Letter of Paul to the Church at Philippi:
“I thank my God whenever I think of you; and every time I pray for all of you, I pray with joy, remembering how you have helped to spread the Good news from the day you first heard it right up to the present.”