An integral part of our community’s charism is the apostolic tradition of intensive evangelization known as the “Popular Mission.” This summer’s popular missions were held during June in three IVE parishes:
- St. Veronica Church, North Philadelphia, PA, Archdiocese of Philadelphia;
- Ss. Peter & Paul Parish, Mankato, MN, Diocese of Winona; and
- St. Augustine of Canterbury, North York (Toronto), ON, Archdiocese of Toronto.
Going to the Streets in Search of Souls
At the beginning of our mission, Fr. Eduardo Coll, IVE told us about the nature of life in the parish and the difficulty of confronting the social ills that plague the surrounding neighborhood. And he told us that he wasn’t looking for immediate fruits – even if only one child gets baptized, that would make the mission a success! Most importantly, he emphasized that simply visiting the people in this neighborhood and bringing them the light and joy of Christ would be the greatest work we could do.
Starting on June 8, we knocked on every door in the parish – in most cases, we knocked twice! Our team of about 50 missionaries visited hundreds of houses and found many people in need, both materially and spiritually. During the mission, Fr. Mariano Vicchi visited 50 elderly and infirm Catholics to bring them the sacraments. Others came to the church for the evening mission sermon and returned to the sacrament of confession after many years. About 80 children and youth attended the oratory daily. At the closing Mass of the mission, 30 infants and children were baptized and 9 people received first Holy Communion. The parish will be holding special classes in July to provide for the many other adults and children in need of sacraments, who were re-introduced to the Church during the Mission.
We were happy to bring a spark to the parish life during this Holy Mission and we hope that by our continued prayers and the work of Fr. Eduardo and the sisters at the mission, the hearts of all in the parish and neighborhood will be aflame with the love of Christ.
The Beautiful Life of a Parish,Yesterday and Today
Since 2008, Fr. Mariano Varela, IVE has been pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul, a traditionally German mission parish founded by Jesuits in 1855 in southern Minnesota. He is assisted by Fr. Samuel Leonard, IVE and Fr. Joseph Lajocono, IVE. In addition to the apostolate of the parish, this mission is also home to the Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio High School Seminary, located next to the parish.
In the first week of June, sisters and IVE seminarians from Washington joined the priests and the IVE high school seminarians for the first popular mission of our Religious Family in the Mid-West. The summer mission really became a family event: Fr. Edgar Diaz preached the mission, teams of major seminarians and high school seminarians as well as teams of sisters and parishioners visited homes, and a great team of generous parishioners cooked for us!
During the mission, we visited the homes of nearly all the parishioners to pray with them, to invite them to the various mission activities, and to learn about the traditions of the parish. In order to reach all the homes, we spread out walking, driving, and even on bicyles. Afternoons were busy with activities for children and youth, Rosary processions, and doctrinal and mission sermon for the adults. Each evening ended with songs and skits performed outdoors in front of the church by the children, sisters, and seminarians.
A parish is a family, and this mission was a beautiful way of growing in the spirit and life of the long-standing tradition of Ss. Peter and Paul in Mankato.
Blessings for a Family of Faith
Once again we held a Popular Mission at St. Augustine of Canterbury in Toronto. This year we were able to make use of the new John Paul the Great Family Centre for all mission activities, including the After School Program, Youth Group, talks for adults, Family Day, Youth Weekend, and daily shows.
The Family Centre, which opened in April 2010 after ten years of hard work and prayer, was a great blessing.
We were able to have a safe and spacious area for the children during the After School Program, a daily oratory for children grades 2-7. Children could also play there during the evening talks for adults.
The annual Family Day on June 12 was also held at the Family Centre; families were able to spend time together eating and playing games. The Youth Group met in one of the large classrooms upstairs each day; we were also able to use the Family Centre for the 9th Annual Toronto Youth Weekend held on June 19.
We would like to thank all the families and Third Order members for their hard work during these missions. May Our Lady continue to draw many fruits from the labors of the missionaries and all the generous volunteers, that all souls may draw close to the Heart of Christ.