Published November 28, 2017
JACKSON—In connection with World Mission Sunday on Oct. 22, the parishioners at St. Mary, Mother of God Church, Jackson, under the leadership of the youth ministry and the Knights of Columbus, organized a one-day outreach program Oct. 21.
Thirty-three parishioners joined together in reaching out to the needy in the area. “Project Outreach” was born out of the fact that the Catholic Church is missionary by nature and through her mission Christ is to be made present here and now.
“And this was exactly what the group has accomplished with their manifold service activities among the needy brothers and sisters in the area,” said Father Jose Kochuparampil, parish administrator.
In his message for World Mission Sunday 2017, Pope Francis began by saying,“… World Mission Day gathers us around the person of Jesus, ‘the very first and greatest evangelizer’ who continually sends us forth to proclaim the Gospel of the love of God the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
It was obvious from the zeal and enthusiasm that Project Outreach participants exhibited, young and old alike, that they were led by Jesus himself to touch and transform the lives of the needy in the area.
Volunteers branched out into eight groups to work in Jackson, Hampton, Flovilla, Indian Springs and Jackson Lake. They cleaned houses, washed cars, raked yards, pruned shrubs and trees, cut grass and picked up limbs and debris left from Tropical Storm Irma.
Some volunteered for the housing authority in Butts County. They cleaned up and replanted two beds in the community garden and scraped and painted doors. Some worked at the Pregnancy Resource Center, cleaning the yard and removing debris.
“We want to thank the Butts County Pregnancy Resource Center, the Butts County Housing Authority, The Senior Citizen Center and our own St. Mary’s parish family for helping to find people in need in our community. We were so blessed to go out and spend time helping neighbors and sharing God’s love with them,” said Brenda Patterson, youth minister and project co-coordinator.
Pat Pappa, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Danny McMichael Council 12984, helped coordinate the outreach day.
At the completion of the day, the volunteers were asked if they would participate in a similar program in the future. The answer was a resounding “yes”—a response perfectly in tune with what the Holy Father said in his World Mission Sunday message.
Quoting from “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis said, “His resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force.”
It’s indeed this force that motivated the St. Mary, Mother of God volunteers to come away from comfort zones and reach out to their needy brothers and sisters.
Father Jose Kochuparampil contributed to this story.