50 Years of Service to the Missions

50 Years of Service to the Missions. 

“Whatever you are giving to the missions you are giving to the Lord.”

(Hugh Brennan, Hexham & New Castle Diocese, July 2021)

On Sunday 4th July, Fr Dermot and myself celebrated Mass at St Michael’s Parish in Houghton-Le-Spring in New Castle. Mr Hugh Brennan had contacted our Missio Office earlier on that he was getting on in years and no longer able to do the work of Local Secretary in the parish and wanted to step back for someone else to carry on.

St Michael’s Church is very missionary in appearance, in words and in deeds.  There is a redbox in the sacristy, not idle or abandoned but filling up and seemingly a reminder.  The parish Deacon mentioned that St Michael’s is sometimes “on top of the league table” with Annual Redbox collection.  The retired resident priest, Fr Bill spoke fondly of Missio and Mill Hill, particularly about late Fr Joe Burton who was from that parish and was ordained the same year as himself.

Fr Dermot preached about Mission – how the Gospel touches and transforms each of us and the love of God in Jesus compels and propels us to tell and treat others kindly and lovingly.  He spoke about Cardinal Vaughan and his missionary passion and vision.  He spoke about himself as always wanted to do parish work but was sent to teach in the seminary in Uganda and the students he taught are now in active parish work in different countries.  He spoke of how like St Therese, many Redbox holders or local secretaries or volunteers may feel like him, that they are far from the mission they desired to reach, but are actually missionaries in their daily and parish activities of prayers, donations, voluntary services and collaboration, even if not teaching.  He spoke of how Missio and Mill Hill are grateful for all the indispensable redbox work without which he and many others wouldn’t have been trained or helped in their formation, mission or ministries.

He turned to Hugh Brennan to say that his Award Certificate and Medal, signed by the Cardinal, the Mill Hill Superior and the Missio National Director, could be both overwhelming and embarrassing; but that like his work over the past years, he shared this milestone with the whole parish and not least with his beloved wife, Margaret.

The Mass was to thank both Hugh and the parish, very separate from appealing for more to sign up.  The parish priest and Deacon are passionate collaborators both in the ongoing Redbox work and in finding a new Local Secretary to coordinate the Redbox and Missio initiatives.

“Whatever you are giving to the missions you are giving to the Lord.” Hugh Brennan.

We thank the Lord of the harvest for the call and grace for each of us to love, to serve, to give and to share.

Fr Emmanuel Mbeh mhm.

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