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No. 33

No. 33 of Ad Gentes is an exhortation to missionary entities to coordinate their
efforts.  It begins with a paragraph about the usefulness of missionary institutes of the same
territory working together: “Institutes which are engaged in missionary activity in the same
territory should find ways and means of coordinating their work.  So conferences of religious
and unions of nuns, in which all the institutes of a particular nation or region would have a
part, would be extremely helpful.”

Then it goes on in a second paragraph to speak of coordination in the home
countries: “With equal reason, all these things could be usefully extended to collaboration
between missionary institutes at home, so that common difficulties and projects might be
more easily resolved.”

The only association in the USA that I know of, which endeavors to do some or all
of the things that this no. 33 envisions, is the United States Catholic Mission Association
(USCMA) with headquarters in Washington, DC.  It has an Internet web site:
USCatholicmission.org.  It is not a part of the US Bishops’ Conference, so it has no
legislative powers.  As its Internet home page says, “It is a membership-based organization,”
gathering together “mission-sending and mission-minded organizations and individuals and
providing them with opportunities to gather, share and learn from one another.”

The Association’s mission, in its own words, is “to unite and support those
committed to the cross-cultural and global mission of Jesus Christ in service to the Church
and the world” (ibid.).  Its membership is comprised of “religious and lay mission-sending
groups, diocesan mission offices, mission-minded organizations, religious communities,
active missionaries, and individuals who support missions” (ibid.).

Again in its own words, “The USCMA provides a forum in which people with a
variety of experiences in mission can find a welcome, celebrate their faith, reflect on the
signs of the times, foster leadership within mission organizations, explore emerging trends in
mission, stimulate creative mission practices, and challenge one another to live lives more
deeply rooted in mission spirituality” (ibid.).  This year its conference will take place in the
Cincinnati, Ohio, region.  It will be on the weekend of October 28-30 and is entitled:
“Together in Mission - Celebrating Concrete Expressions of Missionary Discipleship
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”  Its aim will be “to highlight the mission reality of US
Catholics serving around the world and at home and reflect how these realities can help
make our local communities a reflection of Jesus’ liberating spirit and how these expressions
mission will adapt in the coming years.”

The organization is celebrating its 35th anniversary of existence this year.  Its present
executive director, Dr. Donald R. McCrabb, is the first layman to hold that position.  The
home page of the Association states what is, I presume, his plan for his term in office: “Over
the next five years, we will concentrate our efforts on the integration of the key elements of
mission: proclamation, witness, dialogue, prayer, spirituality, reconciliation, and social

Mary, Queen of the Missions, pray for all missionaries.