World Mission Sunday

By | October 20, 2010

Lay missioner Jean Donovan, Ursuline Sr. Dorothy Kazel and Maryknoll Srs. Maura Clarke and Ita Ford were driving from the airport in San Salvador Dec. 2, 1980, when they were pulled over on a rural road by the five national guardsmen, beaten, raped and murdered. The next morning, on orders from local authorities, their bodies were buried in a common grave. However, witnesses contacted the parish priest and within 24 hours the bodies were exhumed and the world eventually learned of their gruesome fate.

This weekend the Catholic Church observes World Mission Sunday. It’s a time to offer our financial support to missionaries around the world who risk their lives to build up God’s kingdom in places like Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe.

World Mission Sunday is also a time for us to offer our prayers for Catholic missionaries, giving thanks for their sacrifices and remembering the fallen ones.

Several weeks before her death, Donovan wrote to a friend about the perils of living in El Salvador. Her missionary spirit is evident in her words:

“Several times I have decided to leave El Salvador. I almost could, except for the children, the poor, bruised victims of this insanity. Who would care for them? Whose heart could be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and loneliness? Not mine, dear friend, not mine.”

On the 30th anniversary of their deaths, let us remember and pray for these martyrs.

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