Maryknoll priest explores the meaning of mission at annual rally

More than 100 members of parish mission groups and other supporters of mission in the Diocese of St. Cloud gathered April 25 for the annual Mission Rally sponsored by the Saint Cloud Mission Office and hosted by St. Rose of Lima Parish in St. Rosa.

The event’s keynote speaker, Father Rodrigo Ulloa-Chavarry, vocation director for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, focused his talk on what mission means.

Father Rodrigo Ulloa-Chavarry, vocation director for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, speaks during the rally. (Photos by Dianne Towalski / The Central Minnesota Catholic)

Quoting one of the first priests ordained to the Maryknoll order, Bishop James E. Walsh, Father Rodrigo said, “Mission is to go where you are needed but not wanted and to stay there until you are wanted but not needed.”

Visit Minnesota Catholic Podcasts to listen to a conversation about how mission work is changing with Father Rodrigo Ulloa-Chavarry and Greg Darr, both from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.

Franciscan Sister Ange Meyer, who served her community in Latin America from 2014 to 2020, agreed with that quote, and said mission to her is, “being Christ to others who are open to hear.”

She attended the rally with three fellow Franciscan sisters with mission experience to connect with others in mission ministry.

Father Rodrigo told those gathered that when we serve in mission, “our lives change, we are able to see with Christ’s eyes, we are able to serve the beatitudes with love and we are able to understand suffering in different ways.”

From Father Rodrigo’s talk, Elizabeth Brown, director of the Saint Cloud Mission Office, said that she connected with the idea that we, as people of faith, need to remember it is not about me, but ask, “Where is God?”

The mission groups in our diocese began over 100 years ago as a way for women to be connected with each other in their parish communities, Brown said.

Participants visit during the lunch.

“They gathered to quilt, sew, support families whose husbands and sons were in service and support families in the community during barn raising, crop planting, harvesting and livestock tending,” she said.

“When you quilt, you are doing more than making a quilt,” she told the mission group members gathered. “You are building community.”

Those mission groups evolved, and now prayerfully, financially and materially support missionaries from our diocese, as well as many mission organizations and projects throughout the world.

Mary Lou Sapp, a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Staples, said she is proud to support the work of missionaries from our diocese as a member of the mission group in her ACC, Mary Mother of the Church.

“I feel blessed to be a part of a mission group,” Sapp said. “To me mission is sharing what we have, we have such an abundance of everything, and I’m happy to be able to share that.”


Author: Dianne Towalski

Dianne Towalski is a multimedia reporter for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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