No summer vacation: ‘Propagating’ our faith is year-round ministry

It always amazes me in the early spring to witness the growth of new life around me from the leafless trees and barren soil to the abundant green of fields and forest during the summer months.

Elizabeth Neville
By Elizabeth Neville

This year, my perennial flower gardens and my large yard are flourishing with all the beautiful rain and overall pleasant temperatures we have enjoyed these past few weeks. My flowers have never been lovelier and my grass has never needed cutting so frequently!

My tomatoes are more plant than fruit at the moment and the kohlrabi are nearly as big as grapefruits! As a berry-picking addict, I am thrilled by the abundant array of plentiful and huge berries that I am finding in many varieties that I can only imagine will bring me lots of jam- and jelly-making sessions for weeks to come. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the surplus of growth around me, so thank goodness for my kids helping out!

Busy days

In all reality, it is sometimes hard to keep up with all the surplus and growth around us at the Mission Office as well. Not a day goes by when we do not have someone stopping in, such as missioners home from their ministries abroad, fair-trade shoppers looking for great gift ideas, mission groups dropping off items for distribution that they have lovingly sewn or assembled, and vacation Bible schools and youth groups going on service and mission trips.

People often ask when we have a slow time in the Mission Office and assume it is in the summer months when there are no faith formation programs, no national collections, no mission group meetings — not true. It might seem like we could really take a very long vacation and enjoy the BBQs and camping trips for weeks on end, but when it comes to being the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, does being the “propagator” or grower of faith ever really get a vacation?

Throughout the whole year, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith — the St. Cloud Mission Office — provides financial support to mission bishops, priests, religious orders and laity for day-to-day expenses and special projects. The society supports pastoral and evangelizing programs, catechists and catechetical work, the building of churches and chapels, the work of religious communities in health care and education, and for communication and transportation needs of those in mission around the world.

Answering our call

We have the most wonderful “job” in the world along with everyone else whose vocational call is to help educate, develop, grow and send forth all peoples throughout the world to be the servants of God, proclaiming his love and message in word and deed.

Our ministry is a lot like the planting, watering, pruning, weeding, harvesting and enjoying the fruitful abundance of our earthly gardens. Faith doesn’t rest nor does our ministry take a break or vacation, even when the frost and winter winds might appear too soon. Instead, we are here to help “propagate” the faith life of all, every day of the year.

If you have never visited our office, please do. We love to open our doors and our hearts to all the beautiful colors, faces and stories of anyone who is part of our great garden here on earth. Come let us help you propagate your faith and your call as missioner to the world.

Abundant blessings!

Elizabeth Neville is director of the St. Cloud Mission Office, 11-8th Ave., South, St. Cloud.

Author: The Visitor

The Visitor is the official newpaper for the Diocese of Saint Cloud.

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