What an exciting way to end National Vocation Awareness Week by attending the National Religious Vocation Conference in Chicago! I believe that with our Pope Francis and the vision of our religious men and women, we can courageously face the challenges of our future and the transformation that awaits us with a newer generation of religious sisters, brothers, and priests!

Pope Francis calls all of us to be Missionary Disciples: to be joyful in the Gospels, serving all of our neighbors…the young, the poor, the immigrants, the old…to all people on the periphery. He says he wants the Catholic Church to be like a “field hospital” healing and caring for all people, with joy in our actions, our words and in the Gospel message!

Tell me who this sounds like! Our very own St. Gaspar! I know he is with us, challenging us, praying for us, standing by us, to help us not only make our own 200th Jubilee a celebration of our past successes but ensure our future!

I believe in our young people! I have heard people say, “Young people won’t commit!” Really?? They spend hours upon hours at practices…for football, soccer, volleyball, theater, math relays, Eucharistic Ministers, lectors at mass, extra classes for Confirmation, school, homework…What more do you want them to commit to? A lot of my students are at mass, with or without their parents…

So our pope is challenging us, to be bold and JOYFUL in the Gospel message and be Welcoming to all! Create our spaces where people feel they belong…belonging leads to believing! Our Pope in says in Evangelium Gaudium, “Wherever there is life, fervor, and a desire to bring Christ to others…there will be Vocations! The gospels will have a true impact with all those people who find and know Jesus and renew themselves to be Missionary Disciples.”

Let’s break down what a “missionary disciple” looks like. It’s really quite simple! A person who is sent to do work or an activity that helps this world become a better place. A place more like the way God would have things. What Jesus called the kingdom or the reign of God. Where on earth do we get such instruction? Such knowledge? Such ability? From our Mass! The sending forth! To GO
in peace to love and serve the Lord! The entire mass is aimed at The Sending Forth! We hear God’s word, in the Gospel, we receive nourishment, from the Eucharist and then we are sent out to go and do God’s work….no matter what our jobs are!

Our challenge is simple…in a quote from Gregory Augustine… “Stick close to the Mass. Don’t let anyone or anything distract you from what it really is. Allow it to forgive you, prepare you and send you forth. Leave the church like you have been shot out of a cannon, embrace your mission to make this a better world!”
And for heavens’ sake…Pope Francis calls us to stop being “sour pusses” and get about God’s work….happily!

Debbie Bollin, Sedalia MO Companion