By: Luis Chacon
Province Coordinator for Volunteers
On Sunday, October 24, two members of the Missionary Animation Team of the Province were present in two Archdiocesan of Los Angeles Parishes to speak about the missionary work of the Church in the world and invite parishioners to be part of the Mission of the Church through prayer and economic cooperation.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has contacted Fr Mel (current Provincial) asking for the support of Salesian missionaries to motivate in some diocesan parishes during World Mission Sunday. Juan Carlos Montenegro was assigned to St. Peter’s of Alcantara Catholic Church in San Pedro, and Luis Chacón was assigned to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Northridge.
Juan Carlos presented himself with Rev. Josiho Lizarraga CSJ and participated in the five parish masses on Sunday; it was an experience to share how the Salesians in Los Angeles carry out the missionary work for the children in the area. At the same time, the parents were motivated to create environments where the baptismal vocation of service to the neediest is promoted. During his presentation, Juan Carlos asked the congregation to raise their hands to all those who considered themselves missionaries. To their amazement, no one raised their hands; Juan Carlos explained that being a missionary is sharing God’s love with the brothers and sisters. He asked again for the missionaries to raise their hands, and the whole congregation raised their hands.
For my part, as soon as I knew that I would be going to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Northridge for World Mission Sunday, I called the Pastor, Rev. David Loftus, who cheerfully welcomed me to preach on the Missions in his parish. When they told me that only one Sunday Mass was in Spanish, and the other 5 Masses were in English, I got a little nervous because I still have many opportunities for growth with my English.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles sent us material for this activity, some articles, and study packets. The missionary message would be announced at the homily time and not in the announcements time at the end of the Mass (as is commonly done). The subject of the message was “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20), to which was added, “Proclaim it with Joy!”.
At Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, I Invited the parishioners to be generous with prayer and financially in the following way:
Human logic is limited. We know that 2 + 2 = 4 and that 4-2 = 2, however in the logic of love (which is the same logic of God because God is love) 4-2 = 6, the more you give, the more you have and you are never empty. On World Mission Sunday, God invites us to be the arm of Providence through prayer and financial support. As a good Father, God wants his children to be happy, and that is the mission that we all have in this life: to be satisfied.
Happiness is not a conquest that is achieved once and for all, but it is a path in which we discover God’s mission in our lives. God’s mission for us is to be happy, and happiness consists of actualizing all our powers and reaching our full potential. Love makes us more similar to God because God is love, and love is the most powerful potency that human beings have. Therefore there cannot be happiness without love, and we cannot reach our full potential if we do not love.
The mission that God gives us on World Mission Sunday is to share the love: 1. Love ourselves; 2. Love for our families and people around us, and 3. Love for society and the Church. The manifestation of love can be in time, in prayer, and/or financially. And the organization that is in charge of managing the money collected on World Mission Sunday is the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
This World Mission Sunday, I had great surprises. First, I met Fr David Loftus, a priest dedicated to his parish who sees his parishioners as his sons and daughters in the faith. I also met Fr. Filli, who was a Salesian volunteer and entered to the formation as a Salesian of Don Bosco; after discerning God’s call, he incardinated into the Diocese and is now a happy priest with a Salesian heart who watches over and works tirelessly for the salvation of souls.