By Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor

Each year, evangelization in its most global form visits the Diocese of Trenton, giving the faithful numerous opportunities to learn about the people and works of the Church taking place in every corner of the world.

Starting in May and continuing well into fall, each parish in the Diocese has a designated weekend to host a missionary, someone who will spend a weekend meeting parishioners and sharing stories about lived experiences in their respective countries.

The visits are coordinated through the diocesan Missionary Cooperative Plan, which, according to Father Peter James R. Alindogan, diocesan director of missions, actively supports the efforts of missionaries throughout the world through financial assistance, prayers, awareness and evangelization.

“With the belief that nobody is so rich that they cannot receive, and nobody is so poor that they cannot give, the Missionary Co-Op is a realistic Christian way of reaching out across the broad horizon of our world,” said Father Alindogan. “The missionaries relate with us and speak to the needs of everyone – be they physical, emotional, material or spiritual.”

The roster of missionaries traveling the Diocese this year represent a great mix of priests, religious sisters and brothers, and religious institutes, said Father Alindogan, noting that the countries from which the missionaries hail represent all continents except for Antarctica. He added that the U.S. missionaries come from the Diocese of Jackson, Miss., as well as Alaska; all missionaries are vetted by the Mission Advisory Board from a yearly list of applicants.

It is Father Alindogan’s hope that faithful will be inspired by the presence and messages of the missionaries and become “more mindful and aware of the needs of developing churches around the world, that they will share part of their time, talent and treasure in promoting the missionary mandate of our Lord and that they will come to know more about the universal call to holiness through the efforts and endeavors of our missionaries.

“When missionaries visit our parishes in person, they not only share the experiences they had in the mission lands, but they also share their experience of our God who loves us immensely and wants us to be sharers of our gifts to one another,” he said.

Father Alindogan reflected on missionaries who have encountered dangerous situations and even experienced religious persecution. In a way, he said, the Diocese, through the Missionary Co-Op, gives security and comfort to the missionaries.

“The missionaries know they can depend on us as we have done generously in the past,” he said. “What a great way to make them feel that they can also find their home in our hearts … What a blessed way it is for us to let them know that they are also part of the Roman Catholic Church we all cherish and love.”