Inspiring Words for World Mission Sunday
To help lessen the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on World Mission Sunday Mass collections, in the coming weeks parishes and communities that celebrate Mass will receive a supply of donation envelopes. We ask you to distribute these in advance of October 18th. The envelopes will feature Sister Marie Catherine, who is dedicating her life to the marginalised in Niger. To show the importance of World Mission Sunday, please share her story of hope anyway you can.
In West Africa, the people of Niger have suffered for too long from poverty, drought and conflict. Famine has left over 2.4 million, including 800,000 children, starving and vulnerable. Women endure the most, battling child marriage, female circumcision and lack of education. Now COVID-19 is taking hold, bringing more hardship. The virus is more than a health crisis, it is an economic disaster. Prices have sky-rocketed, and there is little work. The pandemic has shut down borders, meaning no one can leave, and desperately needed supplies cannot enter. As many village men attempt to illegally leave to find work, the women remain, doing their best for their starving children. Much of the health care system has collapsed, and mothers have the added fear of an increase in other diseases due to COVID-19.
Thankfully the Catholic Church offers hope. Hardly any other organisation, through its global network of solidarity, can stand by so many. In the rural villages of Niger, Sister Marie Catherine, and her small community of fellow sisters are bringing the courage of the Church. They deliver life-giving programmes, specifically educating and enabling women and girls with the skills they need to survive. To ease their suffering and limit the risk and spread of the virus, Sister Marie Catherine has developed a hygiene programme. Through the programme, women learn how to make soap and avoid diseases like malaria. Together with her sisters, she works with women’s groups from 125 villages. Each group has at least 40 women, meaning nearly 5,000 women can be reached. Before the pandemic, Niger food supplies were decimated due to drought. To further help, the sisters are now buying maize to improve the food supply. The maize is distributed through women’s groups, ensuring it reaches the families who need it the most
In many of our poorer parishes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, it is missionaries like Sister Marie Catherine who are on the front line. Without World Mission Sunday, work like hers cannot be funded. Over the weekend of the 18th October, World Mission Sunday Mass collections will take place in 120 countries. However, it is in real jeopardy. The worldwide pandemic means that less parishioners are attending Mass, resulting in less offerings in the basket in support of mission. Its implications for suffering overseas communities in the months ahead will be devastating. Missionaries like Sister Marie Catherine need our help more than ever