When you support the Seraphic Mass Association, you ensure that our mission is carried out in the following key areas:
Supporting Capuchin Missionaries
The sole purpose of the Seraphic Mass Association is to support Capuchin missionaries around the world, especially among the poor and in the most challenging circumstances. They rely daily on the generosity of faithful Catholics to accomplish great things for our Lord.
Frequently, a mission priest’s only source of support for his own needs and those of the mission he serves is the donation he receives from the Seraphic Mass Association for the Mass he offers each day. The priest uses the Mass offering for food, clothing and other personal necessities. The Mass stipend may also be used to purchase candles, hosts, wine and catechetical materials and to make minor repairs needed in the mission.
Your gift is an expression of love for our Capuchin missionaries and the people they serve. As you share generously with them, they, too, share generously with the people God has entrusted to their care.
Impact Highlight: Chennur, Telengana, India
In the central region of India, it is a struggle to survive. The dry season can be especially brutal, and the wet season produces devastating floods. For the poor, it is a daily contest that determines if there is enough food for the family.
It is all the more difficult when the nation’s culture makes it almost hopelessly challenging. This is the lot of the lowest castes of Hindus – the untouchables. Although the government promises to raise the standard of living for them, it does nothing. The ruling Hindu Nationalist Party insists that the untouchables are not capable of learning and prospering.
The region has not been hospitable to Christianity either. It is a courageous act for Capuchin missionaries to live and work among the untouchables. Their efforts are paying off. With the help of the Seraphic Mass Association, the mission started with a primary school. It is a great success and anticipates rapid growth, requiring more buildings.
The mission is expanding to offer medical services to the woefully underserved poor people. The missionaries will also introduce hygienic practices and facilities. Where infant mortality is tragically high, pregnancy and infant care will be in great demand when the health clinic is completed. Expansion plans are being readied.
Care for Children with Special Needs
For children born into poverty and with physical or intellectual disabilities, a promising future can seem distant. The Seraphic Mass Association is dedicated to being a beacon of light for these children so that they don’t have to turn to a life of begging and illiteracy, and their circumstances may change.
Your support allows for these children to get the extra love and care they deserve.
Impact Highlight: St. Veronica Primary School, Kithyoko, Kenya
Where there was a dry, empty field, the Seraphic Mass Association funded the construction of St. Veronica’s School. The residents of the region are in the danger zone – physically and culturally – of Islamic extremism from Somalia. Their children have a special need for the hope and light of our Catholic faith to overcome the violence and hatred of the fanatical intruders.
Missionaries in Kenya boldly placed themselves and a new school in this danger zone. Parents and grandparents, neighbors and villagers wanted this wonderful school to educate their children and to strengthen them in our Catholic faith. The Seraphic Mass Association is a continuing supporter of this school that stands as a beacon of light.
Training Missionaries and Seminarians
The Seraphic Mass Association has long and generously contributed to the education and training of priests, sisters and brothers who are eager to become missionaries. Seminarians and men and women in religious orders can rely on the SMA for financial support so that they will be effective and successful missionaries.
Thanks to your generosity, sisters and brothers can receive the training and education needed to be effective and holy missionaries. Supporting yet another “next generation” will always be part of the SMA’s mission to serve the missions. Each new Capuchin missionary is given a mission cross before his ministry in the mission fields begins.
Even before a missionary is sent to the missions, there is much training and preparation. For priestly ministry, theology and scriptural studies are required. Lay persons who wish to be mission doctors or nurses need the full course of studies and to earn professional degrees. Pilots, architects, engineers, teachers and administrators need to be on top of their crafts before they are sent “to the ends of the earth” as missionaries.
While some missionaries bring experience, all will face new challenges in foreign cultures and languages, with specific needs and requirements depending on a wide range of conditions.
In addition to job-related requirements, it is essential to gain emotional and spiritual strength, as well as physical conditioning. Being a missionary is a demanding job.
Unlike 40 or 50 years ago when most missionaries were sent from Europe and North America, today missionaries are sent in great numbers from emerging countries, where vocations are flourishing. For instance, Tanzania, India and Kenya are among the highest missionary-sending countries in the world.
But the mission vocation is alive and well in the Capuchin community in the United States. Capuchin friars from several countries work together in the missions. They bring a wealth of talent, energy and enthusiasm.
Mission Medical Clinics & Health Care
Around the globe, Capuchin missionaries bring medical care and attention to those in dire need: people who cannot access life-changing surgeries, pregnancy and infant care, childhood immunizations, elder care and more. In many places, a physical injury can have life-long debilitating consequences. With the help of the Seraphic Mass Association, thousands of people receive medical care each month. Healthy babies, children, parents and grandparents raise the standard of living for all.
Your support makes all the difference in the world for those who need medical care and procedures.
Impact Highlight: Capuchin Children’s Centre, Mlali, Tanzania
It is a remarkable place of hope for children born with severe physical deformities. The Capuchin Children’s Centre accepts children of poor families, provides life-changing surgeries, and physical therapy to maximize the corrective procedures.
Founded by Italian Capuchins, today the Centre is owned and operated by the Capuchin friars of Tanzania. They continue the great work begun nearly 30 years ago. However, Tanzania is one of the poorest nations in the world, and the potential for local financial support is extremely limited. Thanks to the Seraphic Mass Association, the Centre will be able to treat nearly 100 children each year, children whose families could never afford the procedures.
Surgeons from Italy arrive at the Centre four times a year, spending three weeks in one of the finest surgery facilities in the country. After the surgery, children are given physical therapy for as long as it takes to gain full use of their reconstructed limbs. Most children stay for five months, receiving compassionate and professional care from the trained staff of friars and laypeople. The Seraphic Mass Association is proud to be a sustaining partner of the Capuchin Children’s Centre.
Helping Retired Missionaries
After years of faithful service and bodies worn down by a labor of love, our retired missionaries deserve the best care. Some retired missionaries served 50 and 60 years, always caring for others. Now they need someone to care for them.
Your support helps to care for the retired Capuchin missionaries, who have dedicated their lives to faithful service to God and His People.
Impact Highlight: Capuchin friar Fr. Jonathan Williams
Capuchin friar Fr. Jonathan Williams, after nearly 40 years in the missions of Papua New Guinea, reluctantly returned to the United States and our friary in Pittsburgh to receive medical attention for advanced Parkinson’s disease. His heart is surely in the missions.
He served in various mission parishes with their numerous out-stations before his assignment to educate and train local Capuchin seminarians. Fr. Jonathan was loved by the seminarians, and he maintains email contact with many of them. He also assisted various congregations of Sisters in retreats, conferences and recollections days.
His final task in Papua New Guinea was to serve the friars as mission superior, a post he held for six years. Fr. Jonathan’s kindness and wisdom were needed for the many challenges such a position always presents.
In the assisted living unit of the friary, Fr. Jonathan strives to fend for himself as much as possible, but he knows he often needs help. He is grateful for the assistance he receives, be it the strength of another friar to help him rise from his chair or the help that comes from benefactors that makes possible the care he receives.