The Diocese initiated missionary programs in the 60’s encouraged by Vatican II documents as AD Gentes Divinitus - Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity. (That the church by her very nature is missionary.)
The new Code of Canon Law specifically defined The Missionary Action Of The Church (Cann. 781 – 792). (That the whole church… is to assume it’s part in missionary work).
As such the Mission Commission since 1964 has developed a yearly Mission Cooperation Plan to support missionary territories of the church that apply for help.
Missionary Cooperation Plan (MCP)
This mission program enables parishioners at mass to participate in the missionary activity of the Catholic Church. The MCP 2015 plan was developed to nurture our faith along with the missions that we serve and support.
- The Mission Commission receives and then acknowledges applications from all over the globe. Generally a Missionary Order or Diocese asks to send a visiting Priest or religious Brother or Sister to the diocese for a weekend liturgy. Missionary priests serving in our diocese and former diocesan missionaries are also eligible to this program.
- The Applicant is then prescreened to determine if their request serves mission cooperation and mission support.
- Host parishes are then invited and matched to potential mission groups.
- Missionary presenters are identified and approved. (approval depends upon a second screening by the Bishop's Office)
- Liturgical events are arranged and finalized with parish.
- Eucharistic services, appeals and collections are completed.
- Diocesan Mission Office coordinates any financial support for the mission.
Guidelines And Support
- Prayers and masses are encouraged for the missionaries.
- Applicants from all mission groups are to be matched with a Host Faith Community based upon mission interest/activities and current missionary presence in the parish.
- All missionary presenters must be approved in writing by their Bishop, Religious Superior or Lay Ministry organization. Also the Diocese of London must issue a letter of suitability for every celebrant/concelebrant before the liturgical event is finalized.
- The Pastor of the Host Parish determines the appropriate liturgical event and date. The Parish is not required to cover the missionaries travel costs but should if possible provide local accommodation and transportation. The Diocesan Mission Office will send preliminary information about the mission organization and the financial appeal to the host parish. Also brief bulletin announcements are sent to the parish to be distributed in a timely fashion. If possible, the Diocesan Director of Missions will participate in the weekend liturgy as well.
- Visiting clergy are allowed to minister in the Diocese in terms of their current faculties only. When a non-clerical representative speaks at Mass the presentation is not to be a substitute for a homily. The Missionaries must at all times recognize the privacy rights of the parish and of all parishioners.
- Special MCP envelopes are provided for the parish to use at the masses or attach to bulletins. The total of all proceeds from the mission appeal are forwarded to the Mission Office, funds are not to be sent directly from the parish to the visiting missionaries.
- Parishioners recognize the universal nature of the church.
- The Eucharistic celebration clearly connects faith and charity.
- The program provides an activity for parish mission committees to sponsor.
- Missionaries are supported with prayers and reflection.
- Missionary vocations are promoted with lived spiritual experiences.