“Fewer Architects, More Bricklayers”: 2024 Mission Appeals

The Holy Cross Mission Center (HCMC) Founding Director, Rev. Michael Mathis, C.S.C. (1923-33), was a diligent fundraiser for the Mission in Bangladesh in the 1920s, and his successor, Rev. Francis Goodall, C.S.C. (1933-43), perfected a system whereby teams of Holy Cross priests did “road work”: they traveled the country by car, stopping at willing parishes and preaching Mission Appeals. They brought silent films of life at the missions, which captivated audiences who were still adjusting to the global perspectives made available by transportation and communication technologies.

Not only were these important fundraising efforts for the international ministries of Holy Cross but there is good evidence that they were effective evangelization and recruitment efforts for the Congregation. For instance, we know that one young man heard one such appeal at his home parish in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and it planted in him the desire to become a Holy Cross missionary himself. From there, he transferred from Creighton University to the University of Notre Dame to join the Congregation and serve in the missions. This man is now-Servant of God Vincent McCauley, the Holy Cross priest and bishop who founded the Congregation’s mission in Uganda and played an integral part in the institutional growth of the Church in East Africa.

McCauley had a catchphrase he used: “Wanted to build a better world: Fewer architects, more bricklayers.” We still need bricklayers today. That’s why we at the Holy Cross Mission Center are grateful to all Holy Cross priests who would generously donate a weekend of their time in 2024 to assist with Mission Appeals.

This past fall our office submitted applications to ten dioceses in the United States, giving priority to dioceses within driving distance of Holy Cross community houses. In the coming months, those dioceses will assign the HCMC the parishes where Holy Cross priests will conduct Mission Appeals in the summer and early fall of 2024. HCMC Assistant Director for Community Engagement Michael Jezewak will coordinate with those parishes to identify available weekends for Holy Cross priests to conduct Mission Appeals at their Saturday Vigil and Sunday Masses. Last year we were grateful to have sixteen priests from the U.S. Province participate, and we are looking to expand that number this year.

The following is helpful information for Holy Cross priests who have not yet participated in a Mission Appeal:

  • Logistical Coordination: The HCMC works with the parish to verify the Saturday Vigil and Sunday Mass times and locations, parish contact information, and parish housing arrangements to be made available for Holy Cross priests. Typically, these weekends fall between April and November. Once a Holy Cross priest is paired with an available weekend, that priest will be introduced via email to the parish coordinator of the Mission Appeal.
  • Homily Resources: The HCMC has a growing list of Mission Appeal speaker resources about the international Holy Cross ministries that are supported by Mission Appeals. These include sample homilies, international ministry overviews, country and regional statistics, and impact statements from those served by the international ministries of Holy Cross.
  • Reimbursement of Travel Expenses: Following the Mission Appeal, the HCMC will reimburse Holy Cross priests for any documented travel expenses they incur for their participation in the Mission Appeal.
  • Feedback Solicitation: In an effort to continuously improve our support for the ministries of Holy Cross, the HCMC solicits anonymous feedback from each participant in our Mission Appeals.

All Holy Cross priests in the United States are invited to consider giving one or two weekends between April and November to support the Congregation’s international ministries to communities in need. If you are willing to support these valuable efforts on behalf of your international Holy Cross brothers, please email us at hcmc@holycrossusa.org.

Published: December 21, 2023

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