A summer to remember with MCP!
Well the summer is over and with it another year’s Mission Appeals in the USA under the Mission Cooperative Programme (MCP) which is organised by the Pontifical Mission Aid Societies in the various US Dioceses. Out of 100 plus dioceses applied to VC was invited to 5, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Chicago, Austin and San Antonio.
This involved 6 people, 16 Parishes, 56 Masses, 7 Spanish and 2 Bilingual!
We travelled on Mega Buses, Greyhound Buses, Private Lifts, Uber, Taxi Cabs, Hired Cars, Borrowed Cars, Internal Flights, Trains, Subway and the Elevated Loop in Chicago. We slept in Hotels, Motels, Hostels, Airb&bs, Rectories, Parishioners’ Homes, Convents, with Relations and Friends!
Our welcome ranged from amazingly warm and hospitable in most cases to a bit disorganised and indifferent in a few. Whatever the welcome we told our stories before Masses, after the Gospel, After Communion and After Masses and in general got a good response. The most common I have to admit in my own case went something like, ‘Honey I love your brogue, could listen to you all day’. Nice one! Nobody ever wanted to listen to me all day in Ireland, where we often get ‘I hope you’re not going to be too long, 3 minutes max! Do I really have such a pronounced brogue I asked myself while wondering if they actually heard anything I had uttered in said brogue!
Our heartfelt thanks to all who made it all possible, the speakers, Nora Casey, Tessa Cornally, Yvonne Moynihan (on her way back from her assignment in Peru), Dan Ferguson, (on assignment in El Salvador) and myself Sally. A special word of thanks to Incarnate Word Missionary, Kristen Amaro, who had worked in Peru with Yvonne and generously helped out with one Parish in San Antonio Diocese, which we couldn’t cover. A big thank you too to the Incarnate Word Sisters who gave accommodation and transport to Tessa and Yvonne in Austin and San Antonio, which was a big help. Thanks too to Sr. Joanne Bierl of the Medical Missionaries of Mary with whom I spent a lovely week in Chicago, enjoying wonderful hospitality.
Sally and Nora with Deacon Tim from Nora’s Parish in Martinsville outside Sally’s Parish in Nashville, Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
the most part MCP is similar to our own PPP but one big difference is that the collection is taken up inside and sent on to the Diocesan Propagation of the Faith Office, who eventually forward it to us less about 10% to 12 % to cover their own costs. It takes a long time to reach us usually and we are often well into organising next year’s appeals by the time it arrives, in the New Year. So we don’t really know how we did financially, but like Ireland, the Church in the US is experiencing cut backs in the numbers of Priests and in their congregation numbers so there are fewer Masses with fewer people to contribute but they do so with a big heart according to their means and that’s all we can hope for as we continue to raise awareness of the Mission of Christ and his Church in our World and our role as Lay Missionaries.