NEW FLAG APPROVED JPEG
NEW FLAG APPROVED JPEG
Sunday, 18 October 2015 09:37

Young missionaries pack Cathedral for annual Mission Mass

Written by

One senior citizen said it best when he first walked into the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Oct. 7. After looking at the pews filled with uniform-clad Catholic school children from all over the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, he remarked with a smile, "Isn't this beautiful? This is our future!"

mission mass 1One senior citizen said it best when he first walked into the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Oct. 7. After looking at the pews filled with uniform-clad Catholic school children from all over the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, he remarked with a smile, "Isn't this beautiful? This is our future!"

The children, their teachers, principals and family chaperones were in the see city to attend the annual Mission Mass, which was concelebrated by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki and 19 priests, many who traveled to Springfield in support of their parish school children. Father Brian Alford was master of ceremonies and Deacon Terry Ellerman from Quincy acted as deacon for the liturgy.

In his homily, Bishop Paprocki reminded those who attended the Mass that Oct. 7 is the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, and said that it was important to ask the Blessed Mother to "pray for all of our missionary efforts." He then reminded them, that even as children, they have an important job to do. "We cannot say we are too young or too inexperienced to be missionaries," he said.

"As missionaries we are always to be moving forward with our head up," he said adding that the children should look in their own special places to live as missionaries. For many that are very young, safe places to live as missionaries are in their own homes and schools, he suggested. "There will always be an opportunity for you to do missionary work. … Mary is the perfect model for us to follow."

mission mass 2Following Mass, Vicki Compton, director of the Office for the Missions, spoke to the people in the pews and thanked them for their continued support of the "missionary efforts of our church." "Today's readings spoke to us of mercy. Mercy means compassion and action," she said. "I thank you for your great compassion for children living in mission lands and ask you to continue your great action of prayer and fundraising so that they know the love of Christ through the loving hands of the church.

"Let me say thank you to the mission moderators, teachers and principals who make mission education and fundraising an essential part of your Catholic education," she said. "I am so grateful for your efforts. Please know that those you help in the missions are praying for you every day. I also offer tremendous thanks to the generous donors here today — those who donate money and those who serve in the missions or send someone they love to serve God's people far from home."

Every year the Office for the Missions recognizes schools for their outstanding fundraising efforts for the Missionary Childhood Association. "All of these schools work hard to create a strong mission identity," said Compton. "We have one of the largest schools in our diocese and one of the smallest winning awards today."

The school awards went to: St. Louis School, Nokomis, first place; Cathedral School, Springfield, second place; St. Mary School, Paris, third place; Blessed Sacrament School, Springfield, fourth place; and St. Mary School, Brussels, fifth place.

Compton also announced that Samantha Moore, who graduated from St. Ambrose School in Godfrey, won the grand prize for the annual Christmas artwork contest sponsored by the Missionary Childhood Association. A framed replica of her artwork to hang in the school was presented to St. Ambrose art teacher Karie Preston. The original artwork will be displayed in the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Moore's design will be printed on Christmas cards that the national MCA director, Father Andrew Small, will use to send his Christmas greetings all around the world.