Germany: Expressing Gratitude Personally
It is worthwhile to have a good databank of our donors, in which we keep record when, for what purpose and how much somebody has made us a gift.
As I planned to give more attention to our major donors, I did some research in our databank. I had hoped to identify some major donors who do not live too far away from Sankt Augustin in order to give them a phone call to express gratitude for their donations and offer to pay them a visit in their home. So I ask our databank to give me the names of benefactors who had given more than € 3.000,- during the last year. Among those I found a lady called Maria, who had given small donations to us for a good number of years, but who then had stopped to donate four years ago. Through a special mailing to activate inactive donors, in which we proposed an agricultural project in Bolivia she donated € 300,- We than had called all donors from this mailing to thank them for their donation and to express the need that their help is very important and precious to us. Maria had also been called in this way. As a result she donated for each of our following mailing € 300,- and gave in addition € 3,000,- as mass stipends. This was the time I personally took notice of her. I called her personally, thanked her for her generosity and offered to visit her. She accepted my offer and so I visited her a few days later. It turned out that she was 91 years old and that she had suffered a stroke at the time she had stopped donating.
Now she was sitting in a wheelchair, physically weak, but mentally quite strong. She told me many things about her life, happy and sad experiences alike. She asked me about my life and I told her about my ministry in Ghana. She was quite interested. I thanked her for her kind donations, because through people like her we were able to do our missionary work. Finally I offered to pray for her and her family. I laid my hand on her as I had done so many time in Ghana when I prayed for the people and I brought her whole like into the prayer. She was touched. Before I took leave I briefly mentioned that we really appreciated her help and that we hope that she would be able to donate again. She said she will help. I returned to St. Augustin happily because it was not so much a visit about money, it was certainly no begging. I was happy because it was a pastoral visit, she told me about her life I shared my enthusiasm about the mission with her and we brought everything before God in prayer. Two weeks later was our next mailing and Maria donated € 5.000,- It is worthwhile to express personal gratitude to our benefactors and to let them feel that they are part of us.
Hungary: Advent Appeal for Tacloban
As the news reaches our knowledge of the double calamity in the Philippines last year, people started approaching us, asking how they could help the unfortunate brothers and sisters there. We then came up with an initiative to launch an advent appeal which was called Tacloban Advent Action. Along with the announcement we provide people with fresh information from The Philippines. We are fortunate because one of our Hungarian brothers, Bro. Béla Lanyi is working there and experienced the catastrophe first hand. His reports help people understand how severe the damage was, yet at the same time how people courageously deal with it. Within two months we managed to collect an amount of more than 2 million HUF which we immediately forward to the generalate and to the Philippines.
Magung, Fransiskus Xaverius
Ireland: Masses at Parishes
Thanks to the Irish Missionary Union, IMU, and with the cooperation of the Local Ordinary, missionariy groups, such as ourselves, the Divine Word Missionaries, are allocated one Diocese in Ireland each year. We are permitted to visit and to preach at all the masses about the work of the missionary work of the Church today. At the end of the masses we can meet the people as they leave the church. There is a custom of those who wish, giving a donation for our work. This work is organised by the Mission Office. This has been pretty much a full-time work for this mission secretary, for the past twelve years. Generally, there are about 33 week-ends in the year when we can do this work. If there are more parishes than 33, then it is imperative that other confreres are found to assist with the work or we lose out on the opportunities given to us. Usually, we manage. This is a significant means of support by which my office can respond to the appeal of the Treasurer General each March and October.
Italy: Reaching out to Typhoon victims
With mission appeal from the Superior General of what had happened in the Philippines (about typhoon hayan), our ITA Province responded concretely, we raised big amount of mission support and continuosly coming to this particular project. Almost all communities responded to it. We did it by information dissemination, preaching, mission appeal. Migrants did it collecting among themselves and from people, we went for concert, also in the piazza asking different people from all walks of life. Parishes responded, our bishop and the mayor did the something also in Vicenza. We used informations from different sources and photos. I am asked to give life testimony for many times and also to attend and release press conferences.
Bumanglag, Elmer (Paulino)
Austria: Awareness for the world-wide mission and raising funds
The ‘Working Group for Mission and Development’ in the Vicariate South of the Archdiocese of Vienna) has been producing a Calendar for the days of Lent (Fastenkalender) and distributing it in parishes, among teachers and other interested persons to spread the idea of mission and to raise funds. They did it for more than 30 years, but they could continue any longer. They asked us to continue with it. Our Mission office took it over and together with some schools (including our SVD-school in St. Rupert) students at the age of 16 to 17 produced the design and the texts. It is connected with a project supported in Bolivia. The students were instructed about the meaning of it and they are involved in a missionary project. The title of the calendar is: “Searching for god” We printed around 30000 calenders and did not have enough due to the very positive response. People are also donating so that the cost of producing it is covered and also the project will get a good support. The positive response and praise, which we got up to now has encouraged us to approach all the Bishops in Austria to offer this product in all nine dioceses to the parishes and the religion teachers in the secondary schools. We see these positive effects: - Young people are being motivated to write spiritual texts. - It is a very positive sign for the interest in faith, which young people have. This has also motivated religion teachers and parishes. Our co-workers are happy that faith is important for ‚normal‘ youth. This is a vision for the future. - The awareness for mission is being brought to conscience at a low-threshold level. At the same time the dimension of a worldwide mission is shown by supporting a project and a commitment of solidarity (journey of solidarity). - This calendar is an input for the faithful and for the distant ones to the church.