This week I have been daydreaming about upcoming Christmas celebrations and am looking forward to being able to attend midnight Mass with my family this weekend. Luckily my family lives in a place where the Catholic Mass will be celebrated.
My daydreams have also led me to think that, for the first time ever, the Glenmary's missions in Eastern Tennessee will be able to celebrate a Christmas Mass! Glenmary recently founded missions in Grainger, Unicoi and Union Counties Tennessee. These new missions and the five brave missioners serving in those counties are something to celebrate, to sing and to pray about! And as we are singing Christmas carols this weekend, we need to sing extra loud so that our voices might be heard in the hundreds of other counties in the United States where they will not be able to celebrate a Christmas Mass. These are places like Schley County, GA and the over 300 counties in the southern part of the United States without a Catholic presence.
Many years ago a newspaper columnist told a child that Santa does exist, my prayers this Christmas Season are for the people and places that do not know that the Catholic Church exists. Places where they have never experienced the love, generosity and devotion that I associate with Jesus and I have felt through the Catholic Church. Glenmary Home Missioners, a community of missionary Priests and Brothers, has been serving in many of the poor and neglected areas of the United States for nearly 75 years... But we still face a tremendous challenge, the challenge to share the Good News in this great land of ours and to build up the Kingdom of God in places where the Catholic Church is not yet present.
"No Catholic Church! Thank God! she lives, and she lives forever. A thousand years from now, Mission Land USA, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, she will continue to make glad the heart of all."