Relating to other organizations whose goals are not Evangelization
In recent years, several well-funded national charitable groups, whose priority is not the essential evangelizing mission of the Church, have attempted to gain direct access to parishes to solicit support of their works. Such groups bypass the Missionary Cooperative Plan process and the normal verification process of the Missions Office. In some cases, they contract with Catholic clergy to represent them at parishes. Without trying to prejudice the good works of these organizations, it is not always clear that these groups are not Catholic organizations, but may be perceived as such.
Three such prominent groups are:
- Food for the Poor
- Cross International
- Unbound (formerly known as Christian Foundation for Children and Aging)
We ask that our parishes give priority to supporting the Church’s evangelizing mission through the diocese’s Pontifical Mission Societies’ Missionary Cooperative Plan and our own diocesan mission program, Partnership in Mission. We ask that any other requests for appeals from outside groups be coordinated through the diocesan mission office so that each group may be verified and properly screened for their purpose and relationship to the Church’s evangelizing mission.
The concerns raised here should be interpreted without prejudice to the operation of the groups in question. They often perform outstanding humanitarian work in some of the most marginal and broken areas of our world, for which they should be applauded. However, while admitting the tremendous good done by these and many groups like them – and the fact that they are often inspired by the Gospel – they are not charged with nor do they assume the responsibility common to all the baptized: to preach the good news and to baptize in keeping with Our Lord’s great commission. The Pontifical Mission Societies, the organizations associated with the Missionary Cooperative Plan, and our Partnership in Mission, on the other hand, do both: missionary evangelization, and charitable aid and practical help.
Unlike some dioceses that have outright banned Food for the Poor, we have entered into an agreement wherein they are to arrange to speak in our parishes only in those months not covered by the Missionary Cooperative Plan – the MCP season being May through September - and neither are they (or any other mission organization) to arrange to speak in October, the month in our diocese for the World Missions Collection. They are to report all parish engagements and submit the required letters of suitability to our office. This same policy will apply to all other groups of a similar nature, name or unnamed above. Engagement with such organizations should be seen as supplemental to, but not substitutionary for a parish’s responsibility in mission education.
At no time should a non-Catholic missionary organization be allowed to request support for evangelization efforts from your parishioners or school students.
In promoting mission awareness and animation in your parish:
- Please give priority to the diocese’s Pontifical Mission Societies’ Missionary Cooperative Plan and our own diocesan Mission Office programs.
- Any other requests for appeals from outside groups should be coordinated through the diocesan mission office so that each group may be verified and properly screened for their purpose and relationship to the Church’s evangelizing mission.
- At no time should a non-Catholic missionary organization be allowed to request support for evangelization efforts from your parishioners or school students.
Thank you for your attention to this request.
Tom Garlitz, Nancy Schramm, OFM Deacon Bruce Carlson
Director Pontifical Missions Coordinator Missions Coordinator
download this document