frgregoryWe know mission, you know your program, together we can do great things!

Our Catholic Church proclaims a Triune GOD – a relational GOD. Created in the image of our GOD, we recognize that we are called daily to live in relationships – giving and receiving from one another – not only within our families or local communities but throughout the world as well. Our call to Mission stems from our Baptismal Call and is what it means to be Church.

The United States Bishops published the document, “Teaching the Spirit of Mission Ad Gentes: Continuing Pentecost Today.”  This document reiterates the importance of mission education throughout our U.S. Dioceses, and calls forth all those in educational ministries to help those with whom they minister to understand the important call each of us has for being a part of Mission in our world.  Contact the Mission Office for copies of this document, or for a summary of the initial Vatican II document Ad Gentes.  Our Diocese has also put out a statement on our Call to Mission education (PDF)(which can be read below).

For those who recognizing the importance of this call to mission and mission education in their school and parish, who would like to begin investing in this area of our faith and formation, it’s easy to do.  And, of course, we’ll help you every step of the way!

The Who’s, Why’s, and How’s of Mission Ed. Programming

Mission Education is an important aspect of all levels of our Catholic faith formation. This means EVERYONE needs it, including:

  1. kids
  2. teens
  3. adults
  4. students
  5. parents
  6. parishioners
  7. community members – in both Church and secular groups
  8. KC’s, DCCW, Christian Mothers groups, etc…
  9. parish staff
  10. school staff
  11. diocesan staff
  12. ministers
  13. Those preparing for Baptism or Confirmation
  14. Social concerns committees or parish mission groups

wmr2010Mission Education can include a large variety of things, such as:

  1. Bringing in a speaker(s) from our Speakers Bureau Brochure (PDF)
  2. Special multi-cultural or mission liturgies and prayer services
  3. Service Projects
  4. Partnering with other schools/parishes/groups in the world
  5. Experiencing cultural meals, dances, songs, games, etc.
  6. Bringing in one of our foreign missioners from Kenya and/or Venezuela
  7. Utilizing curriculum and resources (PDF) materials available that deal with global or mission issues
  8. Including a peace and justice or global awareness unit in your curriculum
  9. Forming a social concerns committee, parish mission group, or other way of being globally and justice-conscious in your parish or school decision making and activities
  10. Buying or selling Fair Trade or alternative gifts – including as a fundraiser for your school or group, or as a fundraiser for mission
  11. Sharing a video or other Media (PDF) on mission
  12. Vacation Bible School

Mission education programming often easily fits into your exiting parish or school programming and events. Mission education relates to nearly every subject and area of parish life, such as:

  1. Faith Formation & Religious Education
  2. Liturgy & the Eucharist
  3. Social concerns
  4. Service Learning
  5. The Sacraments: Reconciliation, the Eucharist, Confirmation, Baptism
  6. Vocations
  7. Community life & being a welcoming community
  8. Evangelization & parish renewal
  9. Liturgical seasons – especially Advent, Lent and Easter, as well as special Saints Feast Days
  10. Vacation Bible School
  11. Geography
  12. Social Studies
  13. Political Science
  14. Composition
  15. World History
  16. Science and the Environment
  17. Language
  18. Current Events
  19. Music and art
  20. Prayer
  21. Fundraising efforts

kateri_ropeIncorporating Mission Education into your programming is as easy as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Look at your parish, school or group’s purpose and goals. Find ways in which mission, global, peace and justice-awareness and activities would help you meet your goals.
  2. Look at your calendar, curriculum and plans. Find ways in which different mission-focused speakers or activities may fit in naturally, or times when additional events may enhance your existing programming.
  3. Contact the Mission Office to share your ideas and request help fulfilling your mission education programming needs. Contact us with questions, comments, needs or ideas, or stop by the Mission Office today to check out the many opportunities available for you and to get started arranging for your mission education dream to become a reality!

Then sit back and watch your class or parish get excited about Mission and our Catholic faith!


kids_mapThe Call to Mission Education

We have been created in the image of a relational God.  In recognizing this image we bear, we must also recognize the call we all have been given to be in relationship with others.  Our Triune God is one of three Persons, each fully relying upon and giving to the Others.  The Trinity would not be complete without all three living in relationship to each other.  And just as these Divine Persons cannot exist without each other, so we, created in the image of our Triune God, cannot exist without being in relationship with, giving to and receiving from others.  This call to live in right relationships is our call to mission.  It is a call to recognize that we do not exist in isolation, and that we must reach out beyond ourselves in living out the image of God within us.  It is a call for each of us.

None of us exists in isolation; our world is continuously showing us this.  Not only is our world becoming increasingly interconnected through technological advances, but we are also becoming more interconnected through advances in our recognition of what it means as Catholics to be a part of the universal Church.  Not only must we strive to live in right relationship with those around us, but also those who are strangers or in far-reaching places as well.  We are called to be members of the one Body of Christ in our local parishes and communities, as well as globally.  The Second Vatican Council redefined the mission of the Church, including our mission to transform the world, a mission that can only be met when we realize that no community – be it a community of any race, faith, nationality, ideology, age or other demographic – can exist within its own boundaries.  We no longer see our call as reaching out solely for the benefit of the other, proselytizing and healing ‘mission territory’ as it were, but for the good of both us and the other, now recognizing that we too are ‘mission territory’ since other cultures and communities have gifts to share with us and faith that can evangelize us as well.  This gift and faith sharing can only happen when we reach out beyond ourselves and allow others to reach out to us as well.  In the Vatican II document, The Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity (Ad Gentes), Church leaders urged all the faithful to answer our call as disciples by reaching out, so all involved can draw closer to Christ and His Kingdom can become more realized: “Christ and the church, which bears witness to Him by preaching the Gospel, transcend every particularity of race or nation…By missionary activity [reaching beyond ourselves], the mystical body grows to the full mature measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ad Gentes, #8 – 9).

Forty years later we are still being reminded of the importance of this action of our faith.  The Bishops of the United States have issued multiple documents in hopes of reiterating the essential call we all have to live as one global family.  They urge us to step beyond ourselves as individuals, or even as individual parishes, schools and communities.  “A parish’s ‘catholicity’ is illustrated in its willingness to go beyond its own boundaries to extend the Gospel, serve those in need, and work for global justice and peace.  This is not a work for a few agencies or one committee, but for every believer and every local community of faith” (Called to Global Solidarity, USCCB).

In response to the call for all believers to be active in striving for global solidarity, our Church also recognizes the important role that children and youth play in fulfilling the mission of the Church and bringing about the Kingdom.  In his World Mission Sunday message a few years ago, the late Pope John Paul II made this statement: “Children can become missionaries of their peers and of others.  With their simple honesty and their generosity, they can attract their small friends to the faith and create in adults the longing for a faith that is more impassioned and joyous.”

However, in order for our young people to answer their missionary call, they must be able to witness the truth and beauty of mission in adults around them.  In addition to this witness from their parents in the domestic church, the Church also believes that mission education is a vital part of Faith Formation and education in schools and parishes, and strongly encourages us to make it a key part of our programs and curriculum.  “We appeal to all educators to help give Catholics a better understanding of the task and demands of Mission today” (To the Ends of the Earth #70).

The United States Bishops have published the document, Teaching the Spirit of Mission Ad Gentes: Continuing Pentecost Today. This document reiterates the importance of mission education throughout our U.S. Dioceses, and calls forth all those in educational ministries to help those with whom they minister to understand the important call each of us has for being a part of Mission in our world.

We, at the St. Cloud Mission Office, take this work and the challenge of our Bishops to heart, and we encourage all of the educators and ministers of our Diocese to join us.  We believe in a two-pronged approach to Mission Education:

1. On-going curriculum, and

2. Supplementary relational activities/programs.

This approach provides students with the background understanding of our call to mission through the curriculum; it also offers the chance to put that understanding into practice through hands-on activities and relationships that bring this call to life for all involved!

However, we recognize that this is not an easy challenge to meet.  It is for this reason that we are working to provide you with the resources necessary to easily and thoroughly incorporate mission education into your parish and school programs and curriculum.  We have been working on a Comprehensive Mission Education Resource list that includes a variety of curriculum tools and resources to be used in classrooms or parish programs, as well as practical ideas as to how and when to utilize them.

The following is a list of some of the many resources that are available to you.  These include existing curriculum from a variety of organizations, Pontifical Mission Society programming, helpful contact people, media resources, global connections, possible projects, Liturgy planning, and mission/cultural-oriented field trip possibilities, as well as ideas of key times and easy ways to incorporate mission activities and lessons into your existing calendar and curriculum.  For more information or a copy of the curriculum included, contact us at the mission office.

“We, the Catholic bishops of the United States, commit ourselves anew to supporting the world mission effort, and we ask all Catholics to join us in this venture”(Teaching the Spirit of Mission Ad Gentes).  We, the St. Cloud Mission Office, also commit ourselves to this important task.  Please, won’t you join us?  Let us all, together, answer our Baptismal call to follow the example of our Triune God in reaching out beyond ourselves and sharing with all of our brothers and sisters – be they our family members across the globe or the people we work and minister with on a continuous basis right within our parish and school family.  We are called!