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Pray and Give Generously on

World Mission Sunday October 23, 2016

“Good Shepherds need to have the smell of

their sheep”

-Pope Francis

Mike Mele, Volunteer

Pontifical Mission Societies of the Diocese of Arlington


hortly after we met and to help me understand his calling, he told me a story: “I had just spent several days up in the mountains of Mindoro tending to the spiritual needs of the Bangon tribe of the Mangyon people. They burn a fire the whole night in their bamboo huts to keep the mosquitoes away. Hopping on a small bus to get back to town, I noticed people moving away from me. The driver pulled out an air freshener. ‘Sorry’, I said, looking embarrassed. Everyone laughed, and understood (at least they didn’t throw me off the bus)”. Fr. Ewald Dinter of the Missionaries of the Divine Word has spent the last 30 years in the mountains with the indigenous tribes of Mindoro, a large island south of the main island of Luzon in the Philippines. He is now 78. Born in Germany, these are now his people. And he loves them. During his time with us, I realized how he longed to return to them, their bond that strong. “One tribe I serve is the Hanunoo, one of 8 tribes of the Mangyan people on the island of Mindoro,” he said. Once they covered this island. Now the

Mangyan are forced into the mountains, and make up only 10 percent of its population. “They are a peaceful, shy people,” he said. “Once I earned their trust and learned their culture, I began teaching them the Gospel. For example, I noticed that they believe that evil spirits are everywhere, in a passing butterfly perhaps. So I related the stories of Jesus casting out demons. ‘See,’ I said, ‘here is a man capable of dealing with all of your evils.’ “I asked them once: ‘What is the Church?’ They said, ‘No Father, who is the Church? ‘Okay’, who is the Church? ‘Father,’ they said, ‘we are the Church!’ I was so happy for them!” Fr. Dinter feels that the Mangyan people are a microcosm of the roughly 400 million indigenous peoples around the world. Now he serves as their spokesperson sharing their concerns: the integrity of their “ancestral land, which is being taken away,” and the recognition of their basic “human dignity.” Father relates that, “when I first arrived here, I was

troubled. I really didn’t know how to fulfill my assigned mission.” It was on his second day with the Mangyan when he came upon the following poem by theologian and missionary Max Alexander C. Warren: Our first task in approaching Another people, Another culture, Another religion Is to take off our shoes For the place we are Approaching is holy. Else we may find ourselves Treading on another’s dream. More serious still, we may forget That God was there Before our arrival. It was a literal answer to his prayer. “After reading that all was set right. I had my compass.” He found his true North in Christ’s service and has been traveling His road ever since.

Pray and Give Generously on

World Mission Sunday October 23, 2016

The red shirts are coming! Very Reverend Patrick L. Posey, V.F., Diocesan Director

Pontifical Mission Societies of the Diocese of Arlington No, that’s not a misprint referring to Paul Revere’s famous ride through Boston. Instead, I’m talking about the 4,000-plus volunteers who make up Caritas Manila known throughout the country by the colored shirts they wear. Caritas literally means “charity” and in Manila we see the personal response to Pope Francis’ call to go out into the peripheries of society, sharing Christ’s love with one another. In their annual report this tremendous group shares its purpose: “to be one with the community in its programs which continue to uplift the lives of the poor. Programs that give hope to the weakest, the poorest, and the vulnerable.” Yet, it is not programs that give hope but the people behind the programs (and in those red shirts) that reveal the face of Jesus Christ.

to politics here in the United States, these volunteers are to Filipino Catholic ministries. They literally work from the ground up doing all they can to see that no one falls through the gaps. At one clinic that saw rouchly 5,000 families, I spoke with the managing volunteer. Her duties included overseeing the pharmacy, organizing the other volunteer physicians, dentists and nurses, and providing preventive health care lessons such as those for diabetes prevention. She is just one person and she had been doing this for 16 years. In describing Caritas Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, echoes Saint Paul: “the love that moved the Father to send His Son into the world, and moved the Son to give himself for us, even to the point of dying on the cross— this love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5). This love impels us to live our lives accordingly and to love in the same manner—that is to say, to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, to be compassionate and to constantly give ourselves. That is why, for us charity—caritas—is not just an altruistic activity, but it is part of who we are as Christians, of who we are as Church.” Caritas Manila is the umbrella organization to eight separate volunteer groups striving to “care” for the vulnerable of our families, our society, our people.” (Pope Francis) Each seeks to address specific needs and provided targeted assistance.

Accompanied by Corinne Monogue from the Diocese of Arlington’s Multicultural Office and mission volunteer Mike Mele, we arrived on February 18th excited to see how the Philippine Church is responding to the spiritual and material needs of the people. With 76 million people (82% of the total population), the Philippines has the largest representation of Catholics in Asia. Whether we were visiting orphanages, schools, clinics, factories or churches, there were always red shirts present. What grassroots organization is

In the Philippines there are over 6.24 million children and young adults (age 6-24) not enrolled in school; 14 out of every 100 children will finish college. To combat this Caritas Manila began its flagship program, Youth Servant Leadership and Education Program (YSLEP). This is not just a scholarship program but combines leadership training for future leaders of vision and values who volunteer in the Church and community. Producing over 10,000 graduates, its successes are astounding: 100% college graduation rate with all gaining employment within six months after graduation; and most tellingly, 100% of program recipients are actively engaged in their Church and or community. Students must be from an impoverished family and with their parents agree to participate in the

Corinne Monogue (at left) and Rev. Ewald Dinter

required developmental activities as well as attend regular formation sessions. They must already be an active volunteer/servant of the Church or community, rendering at least 100 hours of service annually. Program recipients must maintain at least 80% grade average and cannot drop or fail a subject. This school year there are over 4,800 enrollees in the YSLEP program. As a means to raise funds for YSLEP, Caritas Manila operates 16 Segunda Mana stores, or thrift shops. A definite win-win proposition, these stores provide employment as well as revenue for the students. Among nations, the Philippines rank number two as seeing the most natural disasters. Caritas Manila has responded with their subgroup, Caritas Damayan, which means compassion. This program not only mobilizes its resources during disasters, but also promotes seminars and training on various topics such as Earthquake Preparation and Response, Community-based Disaster Risk Reduction and Management & Environment Consciousness, Climate Change and Community First Aid. There are 2,974 volunteers actively working in this program. After Typhoon Yolanda, Caritas Damayan reconstructed 77 chapels and convents, built 95 houses and distributed 11,581 relief packs to families. Caritas’s Preventive & Promotive Health Program seeks to address the country’s lack of adequate

Pray and Give Generously on

World Mission Sunday October 23, 2016

health care for the poor by staffing 26 Health Centers with 137 volunteer professionals. Last year 59,535 people received medical care. For example, malnourished children can receive food for six months or until they are once again healthy. With 45 percent of the population seeing a daily income of less than $2, life is extremely difficult, no matter how skilled one may be. Most workers spend three-quarters of their pay just for food for the family; developing and selling one’s own product is near-to-impossible for the poor. Caritas Margins helps make the impossible possible. Referring to the neglected, deprived, and ignored, the Margins program supports micro-entrepreneurs in marketing and skills training. Last year, 2,934 families took part in seminars such as Business and Financial Management. Additional courses are also offered in tailoring, food preparation and processing, carpentry, janitorial services and cosmetology. In each the goal was to provide a helping foundation on which the individual can grow and succeed. One of Cardinal Tagle’s cherished endeavors is Caritas Restorative Justice Program for Prisoners & Correctional Communities. For many in jail it can take up to ten years before their case goes to trial. Rather than see these souls languish in their cells, this program provides services ranging from advocacy and lobbying, to paralegal assistance and educational and vocational skills training. Counseling services (both religious and secular) are also made available. Prisoners are treated with dignity as they are afforded medical and dental visits. More than

7,200 persons benefited from volunteer efforts, including 27 imprisoned children who received educational assistance and 244 who were granted early release through paralegal aid. Caritas el Labora, is a Human Resource Service Cooperative whose members are given employment opportunities and who received leadership and values training, There are 1,612 members with 78 active business partners. Finally, Caritas Salve aims to provide micro-finance and lending services to the poor while focusing on values education. Among the 15,419 members, there have been 9,941 loans resulting in an amazing 95 percent repayment rate. The Caritas Programs, which serve literally tens of thousands, are run by just 24 paid staff and over 4,000 volunteers. Fr. Anton C.T. Pascual said of these people, “My deepest gratitude to our volunteers, partners, and benefactors—Stewards who have been selfless in sharing their time, talent, and treasure for the benefit of those in the peripheries. May we all live by our Christian value of fraternity, as Jesus Christ taught: ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”(Matthew 25:40) We left the Philippines physically on February 25th, but the faith, passion and spirit of its people remain very much in our hearts and prayers.

September 26, 2016

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Very Rev. Patrick L. Posey, V.F., Diocesan Director Pontifical Mission Societies of the Diocese of Arlington

“Mercy Changes the World!” On World Mission Sunday, October 23, Pope Francis invites each of us to be part of that change for our world of great need and calls us to announce the mercy of God, “the beating heart of the Gospel” (Misericordiae Vultus, 12).

Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Arlington

On this 90th World Mission Sunday, our diocesan family joins our brothers and sisters around the world who will gather at the Lord’s Table to celebrate, with great joy, our common vocation as missionary disciples. Our prayers and financial help, through the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, support the work of the Mission Church, its witness to Christ and service to the poor. Let us not close our hearts within our own particular concerns, but let us open them to all of humanity. ~Pope Francis Message for World Mission Sunday, 2016

I echo these words of our Holy Father, asking you to open your hearts as you connect on World Mission Sunday with every corner of the globe… with the Americas, where catechists travel to remote areas to bring the Good News of God’s great love to families; with Europe, where new churches are being built to welcome faith communities, renewed after years of persecution; with Asia, where six million children receive an education from Religious Sisters in some 16,000 Church-run elementary schools; with the Pacific Islands, where 1,000 young men are preparing for the priesthood to bring the Lord’s healing hope and peace to those in need; with Africa, where those who are sick are provided with loving care at 6,400 Catholic hospitals and small clinics. Grateful always for your generosity of spirit and heart, and confident of your missionary commitment to share the joy of the Gospel and help the poor, I pray for blessings for you and your families! Faithfully in the Heart of Christ, Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde Bishop of Arlington

Pray and Give Generously on

World Mission Sunday October 23, 2016

Mike Mele, Corinne Monogue, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Fr. Posey

World Mission Sunday 2016