One of the silver linings in this COVID-induced cloud has been the regular collaborative Zoom meetings held with other diocesan Pontifical Mission Societies offices. From Boston to Birmingham, St. Louis to San Francisco, Portland to Philadelphia (just to name a few!), our One Family in Mission began to gather regularly on Zoom in March of 2020. At first we were in "we're all in this together" mode, commiserating about cancelled Masses and closed churches.
As we reopened, the real work of reimagining mission education in our "new normal" became our focus. We shared ideas and strategies. Together we developed techniques, using technology and social media, to keep the mission message alive in the hearts of the faithful. We also joined forces to create printed materials to send to donors and parishes, bringing a unified mission message from coast to coast!
One idea shared by our San Francisco office really inspired us. Every year their staff hits the road and hand delivers the parish World Mission Sunday materials. In this way, parish staff and pastors put a face to the name of the office and the people working hard to help bring the mission message to their parishioners.
Although San Francisco has about a of third the number of parishes that we do, we were excited to put this idea into action! For two days, two weeks before World Mission Sunday -- the biggest celebration in the world for The Propagation of the Faith -- we called ROAD TRIP!
Each of us took a list, our GPS system, snacks, and water and hit the road, visiting every region in the Archdiocese. Father Jerry was welcomed by the parishes across Boston and Dorchester. Grace caught up with parish staff in Allston, Melrose, Woburn, and Winchester. Mary covered Bridgewater and Brockton while John travelled from Bellingham to Medway, and on to Sherborn, Dover, and Dedham. Trish greeted office workers in Norwood, Medfield, Norfolk, Walpole, Sharon, and Holbrook. I had the honor of visiting Middleton, Ipswich, Newburyport, Amesbury, and Haverhill. Tired yet?
That was just day one!
All told, we were able to deliver our posters, bulletin and parish announcements, General Intercessions from the Archdiocesan Office of Divine Worship, and Pope Francis' letter to the faithful on the importance of World Mission Sunday. We met pastors, secretaries, and faith formation directors at sixty-two parishes during our two-day Archdiocese of Boston Blitz! We took plenty of pictures to prove it. Check us out on Facebook: @1BostonMissions and Instagram and Twitter: @BostonMissions and meet some of the wonderful people who are the bedrock of our parishes.
Not mentioned here? See you next year!
- Maureen Crowley Heil is Director of Programs and Development for the Pontifical Mission Societies, Boston.