Greetings, my friends. We are moving quickly into fall. What a season of color and coolness to lift our spirits and sense another one of God’s gifts in nature.
I thought we would visit with the Franciscans and Father Sereno Baiardi today. Father Sereno writes about a young lad named Elias who, like many small children, was abandoned in Ecuador by his prostitute mother. She would leave the little boy alone for hours from the time he was a baby until the age of three. One day, like other days, she left — this time never to return.
A few days passed, and the rent was due. When no one opened the door for the landlord, he entered and discovered the toddler in a cardboard box. A portion of his nose and upper lip had been gnawed by rats. The landlord took the child to the Franciscans, who immediately brought him to a hospital. Besides being malnourished, the boy was HIV positive. So our little friend was given the name Elias — meaning "God’s little prophet" — and brought to live at St. Mary of the Angels, a home for children abandoned by their parents.
Elias was well nourished and cared for and became the first one to greet visitors. He charmed everyone with his hugs and smiles. He did not begin to talk until the age of 6. Just before Easter of 2010, God took him to heaven. He died during the night from heart failure. Thanks be to God Elias had the care of wonderful people. Indeed, they are one family living in one house. Yes, my friends, they are one family in mission.
God’s plan for all of us is to make us need each other. Working together is God’s plan for human survival. The Franciscans have 5,400 missionaries and 800 missions throughout the world. They serve the poor by following in the footsteps of St. Francis himself with a ministry to people with leprosy and AIDS.
We have enjoyed our visit with you today and remind you to prepare for the worldwide celebration of Mission Sunday Oct. 24. The Catholic Accent will present a special insert for Mission Sunday with a message from our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt and me.
I will write more about Mission Sunday as it is celebrated around the world in my October column. I will also bring you up to date on our regional Pontifical Mission Society meeting in Danville.
You may listen to our message on WEDO 810-AM Fridays at 9 a.m. or any time on the diocesan Web site, www.dioceseofgreensburg.org. Click on "Mission Work" and then "Radio Programs."
Until then, remember we are all called to bring Jesus to the world in which we live. God love you.
Msgr. McCullough (firstname.lastname@example.org) is diocesan director of the Pontifical Mission Societies.