Fr. Harry Winter, OMI: “Thanks to Visitors to U.S. Catholic Mission Congress”

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(L to R:) Jennifer Pingolt, unnamed sister from the Congo, Fr. Billy Morell, OMI, unnamed sister from the Congo, and unnamed sister from Uganda.

by Harry Winter OMI

Many thanks to all the Oblates, and our friends, who prayed for the success of the 2015 Mission Congress, held in  Houston, TX, from Oct. 1-4.  The Congress was sponsored by the Catholic Mission Forum, a group of  ten different mission-minded organizations. As President of the US Catholic Mission Association, one of the ten sponsors, Father Greg Gallagher, OMI, had an important role in the preparation and conduct of the Congress. The Mission Congress, held every five years, brought together priests, nuns, brothers and lay people who promote the evangelization of our world.  (See photo.)

Our Oblate Partnership, led by Artie Pingolt, had its first booth at the Congress.  In 2015, the Partnership acquired Mission Project Service, an organization started by Maryknoll in 1974, and operated by the Brothers of Christian Instruction from 2005 (see the story in OMI/USA, Nov. 2015, p. 8). In every mission country, it takes financial resources to train seminarians, nuns and catechists, and start or strengthen diocesan structures.  The Partnership is uniquely qualified to train for Mission,  to apply for grants, make investments, and manage resources.  Project Mission is primarily a resource for grants for Catholic entities outside the USA.  They also offer programming geared toward sustainability.

The Congress also gave the growing number of laity involved in short term mission a chance to meet the pioneers who devoted their lives to mission (see attached article from America, Sept. 28, 2015, p. 7:  “A Deeper Mission:  Making short-term service more effective,”  by Michael Semmelink). http://americamagazine.org/issue/deeper-mission

Father Gallagher noted that attendance was good.  He also pointed out that the Catholic Volunteer Network, one of the ten sponsors, had a significant number of attendees at the Congress. Founded in 1963, this group works with both volunteers and  short-term missionaries (www.catholicvolunteernetwork.org).

For further information on the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the US Catholic Mission Association, see the website Mission-Unity-Dialogue, www.harrywinter.org.