We in the Catholic Church are united within the Body of Christ, making us all brothers and sisters regardless of our earthly heritage. All of us come from the same Father, all of us are loved and cared for by the same Mother, and all of us were saved by our one Brother, Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter where we were born, what country we live in, our familial situations, we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus and are called to care for each other on a global scale. Keeping that in mind, the Catholic Church in the United States holds yearly mission appeals wherein missionaries from all over the world are invited to come and share the stories of their mission and ask for prayers and financial help for the work that they do.
Every summer for the past six years, Sister Clarissa has come to the United States, the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois in particular, to share her stories of the Oikos Mission and the work done by the Oikos Sisters to help the poor in their region of Eastern Samar. This summer, Sister Clarissa spoke at three churches: Saint Walters, St. Ann in Oswigo and Immaculate Conception.
She was warmly welcomed at each and every parish and was overwhelmed by the generosity and hospitality that she was greeted with. A silent auction fundraiser was also held at St. Petronille Parish in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Sister Clarissa helped the members of the Poor Household of God to raise funds for all the work that the Sisters do, in particular, this year they focused on the Charity Village with the proceeds going to fund electricity and paint for the homes being built there.
New to this 2017 Summer Mission Appeal was a second appeal held in my hometown, Buffalo, New York. Although I am still in the midst of my missionary year with the Oikos Sisters, they asked me if I would accompany Sister Clarissa to the US and speak in the churches for the Buffalo Appeal. This was so new to me! I had heard missionaries speak before at masses, I have even heard Sister Clarissa give a few of her talks, but to listen to one and to give one are very different things!!
But just as He does with Sister Clarissa, the Holy Spirit was with me and helped to inspire me to speak the words that would most touch people’s hearts. I too was received so warmly by the priests and parishioners at the Churches I spoke at: Immaculate Conception in Wellsville, Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna and St. John the Baptist in Kenmore. I was so very grateful for the generosity of the people in Buffalo, and so touched by their interest in the Oikos Mission and their prayers and blessings for me.
It is with great joy and love that Sister Clarissa and I say THANK YOU to all of the priests and parishioners, to people in the communities that were so welcoming, to the Diocese of Joliet and of Buffalo, and to the members of the Poor Household of God as we head back to our mission in the Philippines. Truly, truly, the Oikos Mission could not do all of the amazing work that we do without the help of our caring and generous brothers and sisters in the United States and throughout the world. We are very blessed indeed!!
Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said, “I can do things you cannot do. You can do things I cannot do. Together we can do great things!” Amen!!
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!!!