Diocesan celebration of World Mission Sunday

Diocesan celebration of World Mission Sunday
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Father Seiter stands with Father Joachim Ifezuo Oforchukwu, C.S.Sp.

Father George Seiter, Camden Diocesan director of the Propagation of the Faith and director of Diocesan Missions, talks with several Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Nyeri, Kenya, who work at Bishop McCarthy Residence, Vineland, following Mass Oct. 19, World Mission Sunday, at St. Pius Church, Holy Eucharist Parish, Cherry Hill. Left, Father Seiter stands with Father Joachim Ifezuo Oforchukwu, C.S.Sp. Photos by James A. McBride

Father George Seiter, Camden Diocesan director of the Propagation of the Faith and director of Diocesan Missions, talks with several Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Nyeri, Kenya, who work at Bishop McCarthy Residence, Vineland, following Mass Oct. 19, World Mission Sunday, at St. Pius Church, Holy Eucharist Parish, Cherry Hill. Left, Father Seiter stands with Father Joachim Ifezuo Oforchukwu, C.S.Sp.
Photos by James A. McBride

From staff and wire reports

The Diocese of Camden observed World Mission Sunday, Oct. 19, by inviting all men and women religious who are part of missionary communities to a diocesan Mass at St. Pius Church, Holy Eucharist Parish, Cherry Hill.

The Mass was celebrated by the pastor Father George Seiter, who is diocesan director of the Propagation of the Faith and director of Diocesan Missions.

World Mission Sunday, organized by the Propagation of the Faith, is a day set aside for Catholics worldwide to recommit themselves to the church’s missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice.

“Every year the needs of the Catholic Church in the missions grow — as new dioceses are formed, as new seminaries are opened because of the growing number of young men hearing Christ’s call to follow him as priests, as areas devastated by war or natural disaster are rebuilt, and as other areas, long suppressed, are opening up to hear the message of Christ and his church,” the Society of the Propagation of the Faith says on its website. “That is why the involvement and commitment of Catholics from around the world is so urgently needed.”

About 30 religious serving in the Camden Diocese attended the Cherry Hill Mass, including several Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Nyeri, Kenya, who work at Bishop McCarthy Residence, Vineland.

In addition to serving in the United States, the order’s more than 400 members staff and provide administration for 10 primary and three secondary schools throughout East Africa. They also maintain three orphanages, two hospitals and five clinics in the region.

Father Joachim Ifezuo Oforchukwu, who also attended the Mass, said World Mission Sunday was an opportunity “to deeply reflect on my life as a missionary priest.” He belongs to the Congregation of the Holy Ghost.

Originally from Nigeria, he came to the diocese in 2005 and currently is a chaplain at N.J. State Psychiatric Hospital in Ancora and lives in residence at Christ the Redeemer Parish in Atco.

“My life as a priest has been very challenging as well as a blessing to many people. Some have sent messages of appreciation thanking me for the difference I have made in their lives,” he said. “Some people have openly confessed that they have immensely benefited from my prayers.”

Pope Francis, in his message for World Mission Sunday, said that engaging in or supporting missionary activity allows Christians to enter the “flood of joy” that comes from experiencing God’s love and sharing it with others.

“The Lord’s disciples persevere in joy when they sense his presence, do his will and share with others their faith, hope and evangelical charity,” the pope said.

Pope Francis said the lack of vocations to the priesthood, religious life or to lay missionary activity in many parts of the world often can be traced to “the absence of apostolic fervor in communities, which lack enthusiasm and thus fail to attract.”

“The joy of the Gospel is born of the encounter with Christ and from sharing with the poor,” he said.

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