By RENEE WEBB
Hosting missionaries in parishes of the Diocese of Sioux City can help raise awareness of the needs of others and enrich one’s own experience of the universal church.
With that in mind, it is Bishop Walker Nickless’ desire for each parish in the diocese to host a missionary every year to share their message and ministry. The task of assigning a mission cooperative speaker for every parish group is that of Father Brent Lingle, director of the Propagation of the Faith for the diocese.
“The mission cooperative is an annual program that takes requests from mission dioceses and religious orders working in the missions to preach at a parish for the purpose of making an appeal for financial support,” noted Father Lingle. “This program helps to raise awareness of the church’s missionary character to spread the Gospel and share our resources with the poor and vulnerable throughout the world.”
In years past, he explained, the diocese had a rotating cycle for parishes hosting a missionary. A parish would host one for two years and then have a year off. The new plan calls for parishes to host a missionary every year.
“Our experiences of the world and the needs in very poor places in the world can be very limited here in northwest Iowa,” said Father Lingle, who noted missionaries can raise awareness of others’ needs. “It helps broaden our world view and the global view of the Catholic Church.”
The priest explained mission dioceses from across the world, as well as leaders of men’s and women’s religious communities, submit applications to the diocese’s Mission Office.
“The application contains information about their specific mission, their goals, work, as well as letters of suitability from the group/person’s bishop or religious superior. We then sort through the applications and try to pick groups spread throughout the world and also consider applications with a diverse apostolate,” said Father Lingle, who noted the diocese picks 10 to 15 each year to come to the diocese out of the hundreds of applications.
Once participation is confirmed with the selected groups, parishes are assigned missionaries. Pastors are then notified of the mission assignment and they work directly with the missionary group to schedule a visit.
Each mission group makes presentations in several parishes where a second collection is usually taken up to benefit the mission. This money is sent to the diocesan mission office and from there, it is sent on to the mission group.
“This year we are hosting missionaries from Africa, India, the Philippines, Central America, Mexico as well as some groups that do mission work right here in the United States,” said Father Lingle.