Youth In Mission – Missionary Childhood Association

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In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become Missionary DisciplesMt 28:19 All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization. Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium, No. 120                      

Through membership in the Missionary Childhood Association [MCA], one of the Pontifical Mission Societies, children in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and around the world learn about their baptismal responsibility to evangelize, grow in understanding of the lives of children their age in the developing world, and become active missionary disciples through their own witness, prayer and sacrifice.

The MCA mission animation offerings in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia include mission-oriented prayers, on-line and printed catechetical materials, and presentations and can be found easily by clicking your way through our website.

We Are Missionaries!

First heard at Baptism, the call to share our faith — to be Missionaries — is truly connected to every moment of every day. MCA offers young Catholics and their families opportunities to make those daily connections.

MCA Introduction and Stories PowerPoint for Catechists to share with Missionary Children

Missionary Childhood in Cuba

Click HERE for Archbishop Charles Chaput’s Letter on Mission Childhood Association as a primary Catholic Charity.

An Attitude of Gratitude: Mission Focus on Uganda

Click HERE for the Life in the Missions- Focus on Uganda”  Information Sheet to distribute to your PREP or School Children tied to one of the the 2017 Catechetical Mission Resources. 

Click HERE for the Grateful and Giving Tree Mission Activity Heart Template also from the 2017 Mission Resource.

Read about the the Mission Focus on Uganda and enjoy the Grateful and Giving Tree Mission Activity with complete write-up below: 

Focus on Life in the Mission land of Uganda

Jinja is the seat of a Catholic Diocese headed by Bishop Charles Martin Wamika. The locals called the area the “Place of Rocks” – a word that sounded to the British that colonized the area like “Jinja.” And so, it was named.

Here live about 650,000 Catholics in the diocese with 89 priests in 21 parishes. They are spread across an area that is 250 square miles larger than the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Most people do not live near a parish church. They attend Mass—when it is available—at an outstation that is closer to their village. Because there are so few priests, some parishes may be responsible for 20 or 30 outstations and only have Mass every few months. Catholics still meet weekly for a Liturgy of the Word service to listen to the weekly Bible readings and learn basic faith formation.  The children also do the same and meet for 3 to 4 hours to learn about Jesus.

Reverend Alex Okello is the Diocesan Director for the Pontifical Mission Societies in Jinja, which is the parent organization of the Missionary Childhood Association. As part of his job, he travels to all the parishes and now the few local Catholic schools as well. Father Alex encourages the children to be as generous as they can with their time, talent and treasure as they grow in their faith.  As MCA members, students do service projects and sacrifice their time and talent—they clean the grounds, raise vegetables for the pastor to eat— because most of them rarely have spare change to give up. Most parishes and schools in Uganda have one communal box that all students can contribute to when they do have something to give to MCA.

Father Alex and Missionary representatives from the Diocese of Jinja, have traveled to the United States, including to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and spoken in our parishes about his life in the Missions and how our prayers and sacrifices make a difference to the children he works with.   Father Alex also spoke in the city of Boston.  After one of his visits there, at the parish of St. Peter’s, the students were inspired to run a lemonade stand, giving away the drinks for free will donations, if people would listen to a story about the work of Catholic Missionaries, especially in Jinja, Uganda. They raised $258.01 in one morning! 

Just like in the Bible, where the Apostles brought the Good News to everywhere, the Good News and works from Boston didn’t stop there. Father Alex went back to Jinja and spoke to his MCA students about the students’ prayerful efforts. He challenged his MCA members to “think outside the box” and do the same, telling them the story of Plymouth’s lemonade stand.

Jinja’s students rose to the challenge! They made and sold World Mission Rosary bracelets, hand-made jewelry and soap, along with tea and fruit juice, to their fellow students and parishioners and raised the equivalent of $38.57 for the Missionary Childhood Association!

Although they received a total of $31,000 from MCA worldwide for the maintenance of schools and orphanages, the students of Jinja sacrificed almost $200 so that other children can learn that God loves them too!

Here is an activity for children that are elementary school age to cultivate the virtue of gratitude.  After reading about children in Uganda or, perhaps below, about children in Zambia, this activity ties to identifying thankfulness for everything received from God.

Click HERE for the complete Grateful and Giving Tree Mission Activity.

Living Waters brought by Missionaries to Zambia

Child at well in Zambia

Child at well in Zambia

She comes to collect water – like almost half the population of Zambia who seek daily access to clean water. And she finds it here, so close also to the source of “living waters,” of all hope – Jesus Himself, present in the work and witness of priests and religious at St. Faustina’s parish in Lusaka, Zambia.

St. Faustina’s is just one of some 265 Catholic parishes serving the poor and marginalized here. The Church in Zambia’s outreach to children and families is found also in education – more than 100 nursery and elementary schools, 36 secondary schools, and nine special schools for children with disabilities – as well as health care – 15 hospitals, 38 health clinics and 10 hospice locations. In fact, the Catholic Church in Zambia is responsible for 60 percent of all health care in rural areas, and is in the forefront of responding to the HIV/AIDS pandemic that has greatly affected the country’s population.

Catholic Church in Lusaka, Zambia

Catholic Church in Lusaka, Zambia

It seemed everywhere you look in Zambia you can see your prayers and support up close and very personal. There is the missionary priest who built the parish church, with your prayers and sacrifices, to serve some 800, including that little girl at the well and her family. There is Sister Margaret who grew up dreaming about making miracles happen and is today a mother like no other for children struggling with disabilities. And too there is Sister Ruby and the girls at the Home of Joy who some would see as doubly cursed – both parents dead – but who you come to know are abundantly blessed through the loving care offered by house “mothers” like Helen Flaherty.

Home of Joy in Zambia

Home of Joy in Zambia

How blessed we are to support the Missionaries who lead them to that Source of all hope. Their story is our story as we celebrate once again the difference God makes.