Interviewed by Will Shaw
Fr. Greg Gallagher, OM, Administrative Councilor/ Office of Mission and Ministry/Assistant Treasurer for the U.S. Province has been I re-elected president of the U.S. Catholic Mission Association.
Fr. Gallagher has been associated with USCMA, since 2011. The Missionary Oblates have been Corporate Members and Sponsors of the USCMA for some 15 years and Fr. Gallagher feels the association is a natural fit for the Missionary Oblates: “The organization promotes mission awareness in the U.S. It takes the experiences and resources of returning missionaries from congregations like the Jesuits, Maryknolls, religious sisters, and others so we can develop “best practices” for other missionaries going on long and short-term missions to other countries. This is valuable information for missionaries going overseas and even for missionaries coming to the U.S.”
Fr. Gallagher also points out that it is not just for Catholic missionaries: “It’s a warehouse and networking center for mission-minded folks.” Catholic as well as protestant missionaries, lay people, even students going on short-term “mission trips can benefit from the best practices and networking opportunities within the membership. Fr. Gallagher says, “…we convene, connect, and collaborate with mission-oriented people.”
In addition to providing resources for out-bound missionaries, the USCMA works closely with the programs offered by its members which work with returning missionaries. Re-acclimating to the U.S. after living in a third-world culture for many years, “…can be very difficult,” according to Fr. Gallagher. To illustrate, he remembered an incident when the late, Fr. Larry Rosebaugh, OMI was visiting the states after years of living with the poor in South America: “When he was served dinner, he appeared stunned as he looked at the plate and said, ‘It was more food than he would eat in an entire week in the mission.'”
As president, Fr. Gallagher works closely with the other elected members of the association’s board of directors, as well as with the Executive Director. In 2015, the search for a new Executive Director to succeed the retiring Fr. Jack Nuelle, MS, resulted in the naming of Dr. Donald R. McCrabb as new Executive Director.
At the end of our interview, Fr. Gallagher responded to the question: “Is the Meaning of the word “Mission” changing?” “Always,” he answered, after which he offered a definition of “Mission:” “Since Vatican II we’ve been taught that we all have a mission by virtue of our Baptism. A mother who passes the faith onto her children is an example of a mission. Mission is simply a faithful response to an encounter with Christ.”