We have a mission appeal in our parish this week-end. In this case, a Sister of Saint Joseph will come and speak about the mission efforts of her Congregation, and we will take up a second collection for that work.
I think we often misunderstand these efforts. Whether it is a collection for missions or for a special work–Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Seminary Fund–it’s not just about the money.
First, it’s a reminder that the Church is much larger than our local congregation. We are part of a Church which exists at the diocesan, national, and universal level. We count on these levels for support. For example, when a priest dies, gets sick, or is moved, we expect some one to send another priest. That means some one somewhere has spent time and money to prepare him with an education. Or he is leaving another work to come to our parish.
Secondly, the Church is sent to the world. The Church is missionary. If we are not careful, the tendency for us is always to think of our local community: its hopes, dreams, and needs. Those are important, of course, but they are all meant to help prepare us to go out into the world and serve others.