By Elvira Santiago Foronda , Charitable Gifts Manager
One of our donors established a family endowment fund to support the urgent needs of our missions. I was pleasantly surprised during our conversation when he said, “I want to establish this endowment to inspire my children, who are not very close to the church, to help them understand the importance of our faith and my love for the missions.” He wanted them to know that his faith is important, so he asked his children to donate to the family endowment fund, in lieu of birthday, Christmas and other important gifts. What a perfect idea to evangelize our next generation through our charitable giving! This is one great example of witnessing for our faith!
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit missions in Swan River, Manitoba and join Fr. Roy George Vazhaplankudiyil for a whole weekend where he celebrated five Masses at four different missions. He started with Masses on Saturday and Sunday at his home parish of St. Columba, known for its vibrant and spiritually engaged congregation. Then we drove to Sacred Heart Parish in Birch River for another Mass and a potluck lunch hosted by the parishioners. Then it was to St. Theresa’s Parish at Pelican Rapids, where we met young parishioners waiting to be confirmed. And to St. Helen’s Parish at Barrows where he celebrated Mass for four people at the rectory (because it costs so much to heat or cool the whole church that is in need of repairs). On our way back, we stopped by St. Anne’s at Mafeking which was unfortunately closed because they could not afford to keep it open anymore.
I am grateful to see first-hand the witness of our missionary and his parishioners. Fr. Roy drove quite a distance that Sunday and became the face of Christ to the people at each mission. Everywhere we went parishioners welcomed him with open hearts. They appeared so happy that the priest came to celebrate Mass, and to receive the Eucharist.
Another important witness is of the grandmothers who brought their grandchildren to church, who taught them how to pray, and to do good. These grandmothers are the extension of our missionaries in ensuring that the faith continues through the generations.
Missionaries witness to their vocation by being with those they serve in spite of the difficulties that they encounter in their daily lives. Like our donors, our missionaries know that it is about living the faith and sharing the faith. This is what Catholic Missions In Canada is about! We are grateful to serve as the link between people like you who love the missions, and our missionaries who witness to their congregation.
Fr. Roy’s witness is one of our many missionaries that travel far and wide to serve their parishioners.
They give all their time and talents to ensure that the Gospel is proclaimed and heard at the missions.
There are many different ways to support our missionaries to ensure that our faith extends to the next generations, especially in the most remote areas of our nation. I look forward to speaking with you about the charitable giving options that best suit your needs. May your witness bear good fruit.