Skip to content

Lessons learned in mission land USA

The #1 Catholic Online School
FREE Catholic Classes

By Tony Magliano
12/6/2018 (4 days ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Many years ago as a young man born and raised in Baltimore, I spent a very different week getting a taste of life in Appalachia. 

Mission country actually starts in our own families, neighborhoods and parish congregations.

Mission country actually starts in our own families, neighborhoods and parish congregations.

Highlights

By Tony Magliano
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
12/6/2018 (4 days ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Appalachia, United States, Mission, Holy Family and Divine Savor, Catholic


The opportunity to travel from the hustle of big city life to the quiet beautiful mountainous area of eastern Kentucky - to deepen my Catholic faith, experience Christian community with other young adults from around the U.S., and help the rural poor - was an offer this adventurous soul jumped at!  

Through a wonderful program which the Glenmary Home Missioners still offer, I and about 20 other guys, under the supervision of two skilled Glenmary brothers, worked on improving impoverished homes of several mountain families. Then in the evenings, we participated in wonderful spiritual retreats. 

Now fast-forward 40 years.

Having recently retired after 17 years as a pastoral associate in Baltimore, I contacted Glenmary to see if I could volunteer once again. Father Vic Subb, pastor of Holy Family parish and Divine Savior mission in Lafayette and Celina, Tenn. respectively, warmly invited me to take up residence at his home and assist him in ministering to the folks in his neck-of-the-woods. 

And so I packed my bags and headed south, driving over 700 miles to Holy Family and Divine Savor in Tennessee - which are the only established Catholic congregations within a five-county radius.      

For nearly six weeks, I took the Eucharist to homebound and nursing home parishioners, assisted with R.C.I.A., gave two social justice and peace presentations, and delivered a weekly Scripture reading and sermon on the local country radio station. 

It was all a very enriching experience of sharing and receiving God's love. 

But my most insightful experiences were ministering to prisoners and migrant workers. 

Every Friday at the Macon County Jail, Fr. Subb, along with a few volunteers including myself, celebrated the Eucharist with 20 prisoners. Their prayerful reverence and sincere reflections concerning the proclaimed Scriptures deepen my understanding that active faith in God's love and mercy is greater than our sins, and as Jesus often taught, is our very salvation (see: Luke19:1-10). 


On several occasions, I traveled to migrant worker camps in Tennessee and Kentucky with Fr. Subb - who for years has traversed many country back roads to befriend and minister to numerous Mexican and Central American farm workers. 

During a visit one evening, I asked them to tell me about their work harvesting tobacco. They explained that for 11 hours a day, six days a week, they work non-stop - except for lunch - cutting, stacking, hanging and stripping this hazardous crop - dangerous to workers and users alike. 

These very poor migrant workers labor so hard in dangerous conditions because at about $11 an hour, they make 11 times what they would earn back home.

While approximately one million migrant workers pick our fruits and vegetables, these men - migrant women also work the fields - explained that tobacco was the only farm job available to them. 

Although all of these men have legal worker visas, millions of other migrant workers throughout the U.S. remain in the undocumented shadows, partly because the federal government refuses to issue enough worker visas each year. 

Comprehensive, fair immigration reform legislation is sorely needed and long overdue. 

Now back home in Maryland, where my county and all of the neighboring counties have Catholic churches, I realize the final lesson I learned in mission country USA is that in our very secular nation and world, mission country actually starts in our own families, neighborhoods and parish congregations. 

------------------------------------------------------------------

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan and parish gatherings. To invite Tony, contact him at tmag@zoominternet.net.  

---


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'


Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2018
Priests and their Pastoral Ministry.
That priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.


Comments


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.