Our readers may have seen recent CNY stories about the missions taking place in parish clusters across the archdiocese. Or perhaps you have noticed the mission schedules printed in each issue for the past few months. The listing is on Page 13 of this edition.
Each parish in the archdiocese will take part in three-day missions this year and next. The missions, led by priests from various religious orders, are the primary component of Revive: Faith Every Day, an outgrowth of the Making All Things New pastoral planning initiative.
The missions offer an opportunity to hear some good preaching by priests and compelling witness talks by fellow parishioners, receive the sacraments of reconciliation and anointing of the sick, and participate in Mass. They will continue until the middle of June before a summer break.
Cardinal Dolan, in a video announcing the missions, said the Church used to be able to assume Catholics would show up for Mass. Automatic participation is no longer assured in a world where people don’t turn to religion as frequently, or at all, for the answers to life’s questions, the cardinal added.
Naturally, a big key to Revive is offering people the invitation to participate. As the cardinal put it, “Join us to bring our focus back to Jesus.”
Last week, I spoke to Daniel Frascella, the director of adult faith formation in the archdiocese, whose office is in charge of planning and organizing the missions.
“We’ve seen some stronger than expected turnouts in some places,” said Frascella, citing participation rates at some Bronx missions last month and at the mission at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church on Staten Island earlier in April.
We also discussed another Revive program in the works later this month. On Saturday, April 29, there will be an Archdiocesan Day of Service involving hundreds of volunteers at regional sites throughout the archdiocese.
Archdiocesan Catholic Charities, which is marking its centennial this year, will coordinate the volunteers at various service sites, many of which are agencies affiliated with Catholic Charities.
Frascella said the missions have provided a “spiritual boost” for many parishioners. An outlet for service just seemed like a natural outgrowth of the missions, he said.
“The idea is that our faith impacts us all the time, and it guides what we do,” he said. “One of the ways you can live your faith every day is through service.”
Philip Dorian and Staci Bruce eagerly provided me with the Catholic Charities perspective on the Day of Service. Dorian is senior director for federation advancement and Ms. Bruce is director of volunteer services.
They gave a good rundown of the sites and the tasks to be performed. Recruitment of volunteers began this week, so there are slots for parishioners who want to help.
Here’s a thumbnail sketch of the projects:
At the Merriam Playground in the Highbridge section of the Bronx, about 150 volunteers were needed (as of April 7) for various projects including repainting handball courts, lawn restoration and litter removal. Around the corner at Mosaic Success Garden, volunteers will help to build a shed, install wire fencing for a spring gardening project and remove litter.
At the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Memorial Community Center in Harlem, 125 volunteers are needed for painting projects, one for adults and a second for kids. The works will hang in Beacon of Hope residences for adults with mental illnesses.
No artistic ability is required, but a good attitude is key. “A lot of people do it for fun,” Ms. Bruce said. “Everyone has their own style. They are shocked that it comes out so nicely.”
Encore Community Services, based at St. Malachy’s parish in Manhattan, needs six people to pack and deliver food to homebound seniors within a 15-block radius of its midtown location.
Sorting donations and filling the shelves at a food pantry will require 25 folks at Charities’ Ulster County Community Center in Kingston.
Another art project, this one a 6’x4’ mural, will hang from a conference room wall in Charities’ office in Brewster. Twenty painters are being sought.
On Staten Island, 20 volunteers are needed to play an afternoon of board games with Beacon of Hope residents there.
Catholic Charities has a network of people who assist with various endeavors. Dorian said Charities is glad to partner with Revive for the Day of Service and believes that it is a perfect initiative for Charities’ centennial year. “It’s a great experience for both of us,” he said.
If you would like to serve as a volunteer for the Day of Service, you may sign up online at faitheveryday.com/volunteer