October 17,2021

In 1926 Pope Pius XI, instituted World Mission Sunday for the universal Church. He asked Catholics to pray, learn about the missions and give donations for those working in mission territories as well as all the people they served. His concern was to foster a sense of responsibility in all Catholic people for supporting the Missions throughout the world. Next Sunday, October 24 will be the 95th year of celebrating World Missions Sunday.

The yearly World Mission Sunday celebration reminds us that the call to bring the Gospel to others remains as necessary today as it from our very beginnings in 1st century Palestine.  In our world today being missionary is not only those called to go to other cultures, languages and lands, it is also, perhaps even more of a challenge, to bring the Gospel to our city, our neighborhoods our society. For centuries dedicate men and women took up the call of Jesus to bring the Gospel to others. This call led many people to sacrifice greatly in order to share their faith in the message of Jesus with others, We, here in the USA are the beneficiaries of dedicated priests, religious men and women and faith-filled laity who brought the "Good News" of Jesus to our lands. However, vocations to religious life and priesthood have diminished sharply in the past few years.

Pope Francis reminds us, “Many parts of the world are experiencing a dearth of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life. Often this is due to the absence of contagious apostolic fervor in communities which lack enthusiasm and thus fail to attract. The joy of the Gospel is born of the encounter with Christ and from sharing with the poor. For this reason, I encourage parish communities, associations and groups to live an intense fraternal life, grounded in love for Jesus and concern for the needs of the most disadvantaged. Wherever there is joy, enthusiasm and a desire to bring Christ to others, genuine vocations arise.”

St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast we celebrated October 4, soon after other men began to follow after him, sent his new brothers out "two by two" to bring the Gospel to others. Francis tried to live all his life the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He wanted to share the deep love he had for Christ with others. His deep devotion to the missionary spirit he instilled in his followers as he sent them out as missionaries. It is that sense of being sent to bring Good News to others that motivated St. Francis is also what Pope Francis encourages we who are Church today to also live.

I offer below some passages from Pope Francis's Message for World Mission Day 2021 This year he chose the theme of "We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20). May each of us acknowledge God's call to us to bring the Gospel to others and may we "...speak about what we have seen and heard," in daily living our Catholic faith.

Excerpts from Pope Francis - Message for World Mission Day 2021 

The theme of this year’s World Mission Day – “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20), is a summons to each of us to “own” and to bring to others what we bear in our hearts. This mission has always been the hallmark of the Church, for “she exists to evangelize” (St. Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14). Our life of faith grows weak, loses its prophetic power and its ability to awaken amazement and gratitude when we become isolated and withdraw into little groups. By its very nature, the life of faith calls for a growing openness to embracing everyone, everywhere.

The first Christians, far from yielding to the temptation to become an elite group, were inspired by the Lord and his offer of new life to go out among the nations and to bear witness to what they had seen and heard: the good news that the Kingdom of God is at hand. They did so with the generosity, gratitude and nobility typical of those who sow seeds in the knowledge that others will enjoy the fruit of their efforts and sacrifice. I like to think that “even those who are most frail, limited and troubled can be missionaries in their own way, for goodness can always be shared, even if it exists alongside many limitations” (Christus Vivit, 239).

On World Mission Day, which we celebrate each year on the fourth Sunday of October, we recall with gratitude all those men and women who by their testimony of life help us to renew our baptismal commitment to be generous and joyful apostles of the Gospel. Let us remember especially all those who resolutely set out, leaving home and family behind, to bring the Gospel to all those places and people athirst for its saving message.

Your prayers and generous gift to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the second collection next weekend will help the work of priests, religious and lay people throughout the world as they offer practical help, the experience of God’s love, mercy, hope and peace to those they serve in their mission area.

In last weekend's bulletin writing about Respect Life Month, I included the first part of an article my brother, Rick, wrote about his double lung transplant this past Spring. The conclusion of the article is below:

Fr. Michael

#232 by Rick Fowler (Part-2)

To ease the anxiety, the Pre-Transplant Coordinator came in and explained that sometimes there are ‘dry runs.’ Which essentially meant that sometimes after further tests and study, the lungs might not be a good fit after all. This would mean that all the prep work etc. was for naught and I would be discharged to await yet another pair of donor lungs. However, he also presented me with a coughing pillow formed to look like lungs, but essentially meant to ease the pain from coughing, if the operation was indeed a go. On the pillow he had written in permanent marker #232, along with the following message. “Every breath is a gift. Take a deep breath. Smell the air.” Talk about a pre-game speech, a Knute Rockne moment. Exactly what I needed at that moment to allay many of the moments of anxiety I was feeling. The number on the pillow signified that I would be the 232nd lung transplant done at Spectrum.

Then at 3:45 a.m. on Tuesday March 29 they informed us we had the green light and whisked off to surgery. At 1:11 p.m. the transplant doctors informed my wife and daughter that I was in the ICU Recovery Wing and that the entire operation had gone exactly as planned. I spent a week in ICU, 2 weeks on the heart care floor and then we transferred to a nearby hospitality house for nearly two weeks spending the last few days at our son and daughter-in-law’s home. Finally, on May 10, I was given the ok to from my care team to head home.

The entire sequence of events was a whirlwind. The timeline was hard to fathom, but the care and determination from the entire staff was incredible. They treated me with respect and truly wanted me to leave healthy: physically, mentally and emotionally. The number of family and friends who reached out was also tremendous and overwhelming at times. I do realize how lucky I am to be able to say, “Thanks, I love you, you made me work harder, you made me smile!”

This was a gift from an unselfish donor and a family who were still grieving. I will not let them down. I am breathing, loving, hugging, and laughing because of a generous gift. I am #232, a grateful transplant recipient.

Interested in becoming an organ and/or tissue donor? Joining the Donor Registry gives you the opportunity to save and improve lives and will not interfere with the quality of your medical care. Indeed, millions of Michiganders have already said YES. Join Them! Those not living in Michigan should contact their state health department or Secretary of State office in their state.