Guest Columnists

As Advent Approaches, Remember Missionary Work

Father Charles Keeney with children in the mission in Tanzania. (Photos: courtesy of Father Charles Keeney)

By Father Charles P. Keeney

There’s no question anymore that winter is upon us. We are all shifting gears from lighter clothes and air-conditioning to the trappings of the holiday season.

One of the gifts summer brings is all but finished: the diocese-wide Summer Mission Appeals made by missionaries who come from around the globe. You may remember a missionary priest, sister or layperson who spoke at your parish earlier this year. There is one more appeal left to be made — at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Ridgewood, on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

A severely broken leg kept me from working on site as director of the Missions Office, but it did not keep me from the most satisfying part of the job. Four times this summer, I was able to visit St. Sebastian, Our Lady of Angels, Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Mel to make mission appeals. It was a joy to be welcomed by the pastors and parishioners of these hospitable parishes — in my wheelchair!

Father Charles Keeney preaching on behalf of world missions from a wheelchair in St. Sebastian’s, Woodside. 

The Sisters of St. Gemma Galgani are an order ministering in Tanzania that I have worked closely with for years. I spoke about how I was introduced to their work and shared pictures of children in the city of Arusha, who receive care from the hardworking sisters. The response was generous as evidenced by over $20,000 donated and wired to the sisters.

On the first week of Advent, I am going to assist missionaries who could not travel here and make one last “Summer” Mission Appeal of 2019. In the meantime, I want to thank the pastors and parishioners of all of our diocese’s 184 parishes for their participation in this crucial missionary event.

The faithful of Brooklyn and Queens have supported missionary sisters, brothers and priests in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia (especially India). Countries of speakers who make the Summer Mission Appeal change every year.

Your generosity supports to furthering education, offering medical services, building and repairing churches, orphanages, and more. Funds also assist catechist formation and seminary training in areas in need of clergy.

We may never see the fruit of missionary works firsthand, but we can be assured that the church universal is indeed blessed by the prayers and financial response of Brooklyn and Queens. On behalf of the hundreds of missionaries who visited our diocese this year, thank you and may God continue to bless you for your support in prayer and deed.

For more information on the missionary work of the church, contact Rev. Charles P. Keeney at

Father Keeney is the director of the Propagation of the Faith (Missions Office) for the Diocese of Brooklyn.