The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerful missionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Greatest of Days

Tuesday, November 10, 2009. Proudly and joyfully, we will remember that day here at the national office of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States as a momentous date in our history. On that day, Archbishop Timothy Dolan visited us, as the shepherd of New York, to bless our new "home" at 70 West 36th Street.

The first impression was the lasting one: he exited the elevator on our eighth floor to the welcome cheers and applause of more than 85 employees and guests. And what he offered us was memorable and etched into our personal and collective memories: a warm loving embrace extended to each and every one of us. What a way to begin this celebration in our new home!

And he led us in a service of blessing, which included readings from Scriptures, and his wonderful and thoughtful message to us about how blessed we are in doing this special work of the Lord. Next he blessed us and our new office with holy water, calling to mind our own Baptism and our call to be missionary.

After some "formal" photos with staff, our national board/council, the architects, contractors and other special collaborators, Archbishop Dolan greeted many of the guests individually. As he exited the building, his greetings continued, as he met and posed for photos with the superintendent and maintenance workers of our national office home.

But the glorious day did not end with his departure. There were wonderful tours given by our joy-filled staff, who made everyone feel a special part of our mission family. And then we - staff, collaborators and guests - departed for a wonderful lunch together. We were joined by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations, and Bishop Daniel Walsh of Santa Rosa, California, who represents the U.S. Bishops in matters related to mission ad gentes. These prelates both shared some wonderful sentiments and congratulations with us. During the meal, we had the opportunity as well to acknowledge some truly special friends who played such an important role in designing, constructing and furnishing our new home.

It was a day long to be remembered, certainly the greatest of days in my time as national director. As Archbishop Dolan described it: "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad."

That was part of the message he offered in the midst of his whirlwind visit with us, as he "christened" our new Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Media Room, recording a message that we have proudly uploaded to our website. His uplifting and encouraging message affirmed above all the good that the great generosity of Catholics to the Pontifical Mission Societies accomplishes.

As you listen, remember another reason to "rejoice and be glad" - we are all connected as "one family in mission"!