Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Students Honored for Donating to Missions

World Mission Sunday used to be celebrated with parades and pageantry. Kids would dress up as their favorite saints and missionaries. There would be processions through the streets.

Today, the celebration is more subdued but just as meaningful. Last Sunday at St. James Cathedral-Basilica in Downtown Brooklyn, the Propagation of the Faith Office conducted the annual World Mission Sunday event as schoolchildren from around the diocese were honored for their donations to the missions.

Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros was the main celebrant of the Mass, assisted by Msgr. Joseph Nagle, who was marking his first Mission Sunday as director of the Propagation Office. Also on the altar was Msgr. John Strynkowski, who was observing his last Mission Sunday as rector of the cathedral. He will retire at the end of December.

Deacon Lou Panico, assistant director of the Propagation, recalled that as a youngster he used to dress as St. Louis for the Mission Sunday pageant. Now he was calling out the names of the schools to be honored for their generous donations to the missions.

The highest amount of all schools was from St. Joseph Catholic Academy in Astoria, collecting $5,641. The Queens school was followed closely by the highest total in Brooklyn, from St. Bernadette School, Dyker Heights, which had raised $5,467.

Recognizing that some schools are larger than others, awards also were presented based on enrollments.

For schools, K-8 with under 250 students enrolled, the honorees were St. Anselm Catholic Academy, Bay Ridge, and Holy Family, Fresh Meadows.

Banner Awards for collecting at least $2,500 went to Our Lady of Guadalupe School, Dyker Heights, and St. Sebastian’s, Woodside.

Mission Incentive Awards for schools that have consistently supported the missionary activity of the Church went to Blessed Sacrament School, Cypress Hills, and Incarnation School, Queens Village.

Religious education programs that have assisted the missions also were recognized. Singled out were St. Anselm parish, Bay Ridge, and Our Lady of Sorrows, Corona.

Mission Incentive Awards to religious education programs that have shown a consistent degree of support for Missions over a number of years went to Mary of Nazareth, Fort Greene, and Christ the King, Springfield Gardens.

Special awards recognized the Newman Club of Long Island University for its outstanding missionary support for the work of the Sisters of St. Gemma Galgani and the priests of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit in Arusha, Tanzania, Africa. Present to accept the honor were Father Charles Keeney, moderator, and Newman Club members Vanessa Cheatham and Annie Hong.

For the first time, a high school was recognized for extraordinary support of the Missions. St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows, was cited for its support of St. Francis School in Lare, Kenya, which is run by the Franciscan Brothers of Galway, the founding order of the Brooklyn Franciscan Brothers. Among those in the Prep’s delegation were Father Bill Sweeney, chaplain, and Brother Leonard Conway, O.S.F., president.

Bishop Cisneros said that on Mission Sunday, “we reach out to churches that are far away in the world. It shows our awareness that the world and all who live in it belong to God.”

Mission Sunday Photos