LOOKING BACK AT THE MCP APPEALS ’09
Normally, for the past two years in Rome I spent my holidays in the hospital in the north of Italy or visited my confreres in Germany and joined in their annual pilgrimages. This year was a bit different, exciting and a new kind of adventure. I went to the United States last July 16 to join CTF- SOS DRS for their annual fundraising campaign in the various Catholic dioceses of the US. I had already planned to join
the pilgrimage of the German Province to the Holy Land this September but I gave it up for a more exciting ministry.
I have never been to the US and never thought of going there but the divine providence worked so hard that I could not refuse.
The day that I arrived in Atlanta airport on July 16 I was a bit uneasy since Rudy, who was going to pick me up, arrived late and I had to put my last 0.50 $ in the payphone to contact him. It was a meaningful but short acquaintance with Rudy. Getting to know persons with a great desire to serve the Lord according to their giftedness is one of the things that I have treasured most in these MCP appeals.
The following day, D’Ann Fisher, Sherman Runions and Mary Joe Runions picked me up in Atlanta heading towards our first mission appeals in the Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama. I am a priest for about 15 years but this is my first time to deliver six Sunday homilies successively! I told this to the pastor and he laughed at me and said, “Welcome to the parish, Fr. Aris.” It was a real baptism by fire through preaching in the pulpit. This experience went on for more than a month and each of them was simply filled with a lot of learnings and blessings.
Mission appeals are not simply an activity of fundraising. Obviously, we do it to raise funds for a noble purpose but at the same time it is always an evangelizing experience. We evangelized people through awakening their innate generosity and kindness. We make them aware of their primary Christian vocation that is to love God and care for and through His people. We give them opportunity to exercise the gift of charity and make charity incarnate in the actual encounter with people – especially those who need most of our help. On the other hand, it made me aware that there are just too many generous people in this world and it’s my task to let them know how they can help in building the Kingdom of love and compassion.
As a neophyte missioner to the MCP appeals and a first-time visitor to the US, I am looking forward to repeating such a marvelous experience. I would be more than glad also if more Camillians and CTF-SOS DRS members were willing to lend their time and availability for the next year’s MCP appeals in order to keep our ministry to the victims of man-made and natural disasters growing and developing. By the way, I still have three more weekends to go for MCP appeals so keep watch for more exciting stories to come. (Fr. Aris Miranda, MI)