The Second Vatican Council taught us that the Church is missionary by her very nature. It is a non-negotiable. We can’t choose not to give mission pride-of-place in Catholic life. One way in which we can increase our awareness of mission is through the Missionary Cooperation Plan.
Here in the Archdiocese of Chicago and in dioceses across the country the mission appeals take place during the summer months. In Chicago, the Office for Mission Education and Animation makes the missionary assignments. We typically get 300-400 applications from organizations, dioceses and religious communities that need prayerful and financial support for various mission projects in which they are engaged. The aim of each project is to make Christ known and loved. Some are direct evangelization efforts and others seek to reveal Christ through projects to help people have a more wholesome way of life.
The Missionary Cooperation Plan, or MCP as it is called, is a way for Catholics to learn about the Church’s missionary efforts throughout the world. Even if your parish is supporting a parish, school, or other project in one part of the world, the missionary who makes an appeal at your parish helps to make you aware of what is happening in another part of the globe.
Every year the Archdiocese of Chicago welcomes missionaries from India, Africa, Asia, and South America and the Pacific Islands as well as US representatives of mission societies. The funds they collect never remain in the USA. Your donations are sent to the Office for Mission Education and Animation and we disburse them to the respective mission groups for use in other countries. What this gives us here in the Archdiocese is an opportunity to share in mission throughout the world. Our local presence then becomes global.
The MCP helps us in another way too, as we learn about how others engage in mission we learn that to be on mission is our baptismal vocation. Whether we are called to go on mission in another country or we are here in our neighborhood, at work or at school - being on mission is the proper vocation of all the baptized.
So welcome the missionary to your parish, open yourself to the gift he/she is and allow the Holy Spirit to move you to be on mission wherever you are! And check out our video: