This year we have an early Lent with Ash Wednesday taking place on February 14th. During the season of Lent we are called to take up the practices of Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. All three of these practices go together. Fasting should allow us to give and our giving should be connected to prayer.
In the Missions, our brothers and sisters already live in difficult conditions. They go without many of the things we take for granted. In the midst of their own need they still find ways to sacrifice and give. May we all be encouraged by the generosity of those in the Missions and challenged to be generous as well!
On January 9th, we celebrated the feast day of Blessed Paulin Jaricot, founder of the Society of the Propagation of the faith. Pauline Jaricot was born in Lyon, France in 1799. Though Pauline was not a priest or nun, she desperately longed for a way to set the hearts of men and women on fire for Jesus. She recognized every time the Church was in a similar crisis, it was the Rosary that renewed it. Pauline knew that Mary and the Rosary could lead the world back to Jesus.
When she was 18 years old, Pauline had an idea while praying: she put it into action by going into the silk mills of Lyon and organizing the workers into “Prayer Circles” of 10 people each. She asked the members to come together once a week to do 2 things for the missions: first, they should pray and second, they should sacrifice a “sou” a week (about a penny). In her diary, Pauline wrote, “It astonished me that no one had thought of such a simple plan before!” By 1822, there were over 1,000 people involved, sending their pennies to Pauline! The Society for the Propagation of the Faith was born.
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Throughout the year, the Pontifical Mission Societies support the proclamation of the Gospel, the building of the Church, and the work and witness of mission priests, religious Sisters and Brothers, and lay pastoral leaders. These missionaries provide food, education, and medical care to the most vulnerable communities in the Pope’s missions. Through their work, they reveal the compassionate heart of Jesus. Help support their efforts ~ and be right there with them, offering hope.
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