Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Throughout the Diocese of Bridgeport this weekend, parishes are being visited by missionaries from around the world. The second collection taken in each parish goes to support the missionary efforts of these heroic men and women who proclaim and live the Gospel around the world, often in challenging circumstances. I pray that this Sunday will be a tangible reminder of the unity of the Church throughout the world, will give us insight into the needs of our fellow Catholics in different countries, and will help us to grow in our own apostolic zeal for sharing the Catholic faith with others. I am grateful to Fr. Jilson Panakkal of the Diocese of Kanur, India, for his presence with us this weekend!
As you know our parish teens recently returned from their week of mission work with Catholic Heart Workcamp (www.heartworkcamp.com). While much of their labor was directed to the material needs of the people they served, throughout the week they were reminded that service to the poor is a natural fruit of living the Gospel with integrity. Furthermore, the service they offered became a way to share the truth of their faith with others. How humbling and uplifting it was to hear from so many of the people who were served that they saw Christ alive in our teens. Service is not only a way to live out the faith, but also a way to bear witness to our faith in Jesus Christ.
Thus, it is important to remember that wherever the missionary work is done, it always flows from our Catholic faith and invites people into a living relationship with God. While missionary work often includes material, humanitarian efforts, at its true heart is evangelical zeal. To spread the Gospel, to proclaim the name of Jesus to all people, to bear witness to our faith in word and action…this is a task not only for those missionaries sent to far-flung regions, but for every single Catholic without exception.