Indianapolis (Agenzia Fides) - Monsignor John E. Kozar, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States has officially launched the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Church’s “missionary independence.”
“From 1822 until 1908, we were the biggest beneficiaries of the collective charity of the rest of the Catholic world,” Monsignor Kozar said. “With the grace of God and the infusion of faith brought here by missionaries, we flourished. So much so that in 1908, Rome determined we were no longer mission territory.” As the National Director of the PMS recalled, the United States was “one of the first recipients of financial assistance from the Society for the Propagation of the Faith” in those early years, although the Church in America “started contributing to world mission in 1833 with our first humble gift of $6.”
This year, the Church in the United States celebrates the 100th anniversary of their so-called missionary independence, “marking our ability as a Church to support our own pastoral and evangelizing needs.”
According to Msgr. Kozar, this celebration is an opportunity “to tell young people about our Church’s rich mission history, and have them learn about the Missions today.” With that goal in mind, all missionaries from Asia and Africa that work in the country, as well as immigrants living there, are being encouraged to share their testimonies with the youth.
The PMS in the United States has published online the first issue of its 100th anniversary newsletter, “Pentecost Continues...,” which examines the founding of both the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and the Holy Childhood Association, takes a look at a 19th century missionary journey, and offers an article on the local Church in Ethiopia. For the remainder of 2008, each monthly issue will spotlight the rich mission history of the Church in the United States, as well as the stories from the Missions of our day, in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and remote regions of Latin America. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 11/4/2008; righe 27, parole 329)