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Missions/CRS Office

The Diocesan Missions/CRS Office represents two very important organizations that support our missionaries and Catholic workers overseas: Pontifical Mission Societies and Catholic Relief Services.

When you make donations to the Propagation of the Faith, Missionary Childhood Association, and CRS Relief Programs, you are directly touching the lives of so many people who look to us, their brothers and sisters in Christ, for support as they work to better their lives and the lives of their families. To read stories about mission work being done locally, visit the Maine in Mission section.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers!

World Mission Sunday 2017

Sunday, October 22, is World Mission Sunday, a day to celebrate our missionary call and to support mission dioceses around the world. A special collection on World Mission Sunday gathers support for the pastoral and evangelizing programs and needs of more than 1,150 mission dioceses in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, and remote regions of Latin America. The funds gathered on World Mission Sunday are distributed in the pope's name by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith—a Pontifical Mission Society.

The theme of World Mission Sunday 2017 is "Mission at the Heart of the Christian Faith." In his message for World Mission Sunday, Pope Francis writes: "The Church’s mission impels us to undertake a constant pilgrimage across the various deserts of life, through the different experiences of hunger and thirst for truth and justice."

Click here to learn more about World Mission Sunday and for resources for the celebration of the day. A new feature this year allows you to use your Smartphone to connect to the missionary experience and to "Chat with the Pope."

Diocese of Portland Contributes Nearly $60,000 to CRS Rice Bowl in 2017

Total Contributions Rise for Fifth Straight Year

PORTLAND---Parishes and schools in the Diocese of Portland combined to raise over $57,000 for the Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Rice Bowl program during the forty days of Lent in 2017. CRS Rice Bowl is a faith-in-action program that encourages Catholics to fill cardboard bowls with monetary donations, giving alms to those in need and honoring Jesus’ call to serve our neighbors.

Nearly 50 Catholic parishes and schools in Maine participated in the 2017 program, contributing a total of $57,471. It marks the fifth straight year that total contributions have risen in the diocese, including an over $12,000 increase from 2016 ($45,070).

According to Catholic Relief Services, 75% of the donations support CRS’ humanitarian relief programs in nearly 100 countries worldwide, while 25% of the proceeds are given to hunger and poverty alleviation efforts in the donor’s community.

The top three contributing Maine parishes in 2017 were: Good Shepherd Parish (Most Holy Trinity Church, Saco; St. Joseph Church, Biddeford; St. Margaret Church, Old Orchard Beach; and St. Philip Church, Lyman) with $6,116; St. Paul the Apostle Parish (St. John Church, Bangor; St. Mary Church, Bangor; St. Joseph Church, Brewer; St. Teresa Church, Brewer; St. Matthew Church, Hampden; and St. Gabriel Church, Winterport) with $5,235; and Holy Spirit Parish (St. Martha Church, Kennebunk; St. Mary Church, Wells) with $4,756.

All Saints Parish in Brunswick, Parish of the Ascension of the Lord in Kittery, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Portland, Christ the King Parish in Skowhegan, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Auburn, Notre Dame du Mont Carmel Parish in Madawaska, Our Lady of Hope Parish in Portland, Parish of the Holy Eucharist in Yarmouth, Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord in Old Town, St. Brendan the Navigator Parish in Camden, St. John Vianney Parish in Fort Kent, St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Calais, St. Mary Parish in Houlton, St. Matthew Parish in Limerick, St. Michael Parish in Augusta, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux Parish in Sanford all eclipsed $1,000 in donations.

Since 2011, the diocese has collected nearly $300,000 for the program.

Missionaries Welcomed to Maine

The 2017 mission appeal is underway throughout the Diocese of Portland.  We are blessed to be able to welcome to Maine many dynamic missionaries from all over the world.  Pictured here are Sister Brigitte and Sister Bernadette from the Sisters of St Francis of Assisi of Tshumbe (Democratic Republic of Congo), along with Yvonne Chace, the diocese's director of the Office of Missions/CRS. The sisters did their mission appeal the weekend of July 8 & 9 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Windham.  We hope you will attend a Mass when your parish is hosting a missionary this summer so that you will have an opportunity to hear about their wonderful works of charity and evangelization!

Brunswick Youth Complete Successful "Mission to D.C."

On Sunday, June 25, a group of 26 teens and five adult leaders from All Saints Parish in Brunswick filled five minivans for a weeklong journey aimed at providing the young people with a residential experience of living as disciples of Jesus through prayer and service to the poor.

The trip from Brunswick to Washington, D.C. took twelve hours, but the lessons gleaned from the “Mission to D.C.” will last a lifetime.

By day, the group went to a variety of sites throughout the city to perform acts of service, including pruning and clearing weeds at parks, installing drywall and flooring at the city parks headquarters, doing yard work for senior citizens, preparing food at a community kitchen, delivering food to homebound people, and leading games for children. By night, the participants cooked their own meals and slept on the floors of classrooms at a local church.

“The purpose of our mission week is always to practice intentionally living in the Kingdom of God,” said Sheila Murphy, youth ministry coordinator for All Saints Parish. “This means having an attitude of openness to God for the whole week. One practical starting point for this was leaving our phones at home!”

By eliminating distractions, the teens were able to focus on the theme of the week: “The Good Life.”

“It’s a phrase we explored with more depth each day,” said Murphy. “At first, we thought it meant experiencing all the blessings God has for us like food, family, friends, safety, and freedom. Later, we came to understand the good life means helping everyone experience the goodness that God wants to give them in their lives now as a preview of life in heaven! Our students were living life to the fullest because they were oriented toward helping others experience life to the fullest too.”

The young people also prayed together each day, sang worship songs as a group, and wrote in spiritual journals before going out to work for the day, reflecting on the grateful people and unforgettable moments that filled the week.

Though the parish holds the mission trip each June, preparations begin months earlier as the teens hold a variety of fundraisers, including large community dinners, to raise money. Each year, the All Saints parishioners are eager to help their youth have this special experience.

“Anyone who wants to participate in the mission trip is able to do so, regardless of financial situation,” said Murphy. “The support from parishioners and friends is wonderful.”

Pontifical Mission Societies' Meeting in Rome

This May, I was blessed to attend the Pontifical Mission Societies’ meeting in Rome, Italy!  I met diocesan mission directors from across the country as well as the secretary generals from the Missionary Childhood Association, the Propagation of the Faith, and St Peter Apostle.

We began our journey in Assisi with a visit to the Basilica of San Francesco and walked the same streets as St. Francis.  From there. we traveled to Rome where we visited the Vatican and attended a papal address. We also attended Mass daily at so many beautiful churches and cathedrals.

I am so grateful that I was able to go on this spiritual journey and blessed to have met so many wonderful people associated with the Pontifical Mission Societies, as I begin my work as the director of the Office of Missions for the Diocese of Portland. - Yvonne Yvonne Borelli-Chace

CRS Fair Trade Now "CRS Ethical Trade"

In January 2017, the CRS Fair Trade program transitioned to CRS Ethical Trade.

With a new expanded vision, website, and resources, CRS Ethical Trade inspires Catholics to act on their faith and values by building on the principles of fair trade and moving beyond its boundaries to include other models of ethical trade.

The CRS Ethical Trade program mobilizes the Catholic community to live their faith through practicing ethical purchasing grounded in Catholic social teaching with a global focus, working with more than 20 companies to promote fair and ethically traded products such as: coffee and tea, home décor, chocolate and candy, religious items, jewelry, and products for special occasions for use by Catholic individuals and institutions.

The organization offers an online directory of fair and ethically traded products from companies that meet their high standards and opportunities for parishes, schools and universities to host fair trade sales.

Learn more about the transition and new opportunities to reflect and advocate on issues affecting the most vulnerable, including human trafficking, climate change and livelihoods for refugees, by clicking here.

 Mission Ambassador Program

The purpose of the Mission Ambassador Program is to connect the Missions/CRS Office to parishioners in the parish/cluster for greater awareness about the work being done for Mission, here at home and overseas.
Mission Ambassadors represent the Diocesan Mission Office by:

  • welcoming missionaries when they come to the parish for their summer appeal.
  • reminding parishioners about World Mission Sunday (October 19, 2014) by helping their pastor communicate through announcements, bulletins, and by greeting parishioners as they arrive one week before the collection.
  • promoting the Mission program (Holy Buckets) at the beginning of Advent.
  • promoting CRS Rice Bowl prior to Lent.
  • sharing initiatives from the parish with the diocesan office for publication on the website. The Diocese is doing so much to help the missions, why not let others know?
  • praying the Mission Rosary and receiving updates about missionaries.

For more information, contact:

Ruth H. Oakley, Director
Missions/CRS Office
510 Ocean Avenue
Portland, ME 04103-4936
(207) 321-7817

- See more at:

The purpose of the Mission Ambassador Program is to connect the Mission/CRS Office to parishioners in the parish/cluster for greater awareness about the work being done for Mission, here at home and overseas.

Mission Ambassadors represent the Diocesan Mission Office by:

  • welcoming missionaries when they come to the parish for their summer appeal.
  • reminding parishioners about World Mission Sunday by helping their pastor communicate through announcements and by greeting parishioners as they arrive one week before the collection.
  • promoting the Missions program, Holy Buckets, at the beginning of Advent.
  • promoting CRS Rice Bowl prior to Lent.
  • sharing initiatives from the parish with the diocesan office.
  • praying the Mission Rosary and receiving updates about missionaries.

To learn more, read an article about the Mission Ambassador Program that appeared in Harvest.

For more information, contact:

Ms. Yvonne Borelli-Chace
Office of Missions/CRS
Diocese of Portland
510 Ocean Avenue
Portland, ME 04103-4936
(207) 321-7817

Society Membership Communicates the Faith

For many years, Catholics have followed the custom of enrolling themselves or their loved ones, living or deceased, for membership in The Society for the Propagation of the Faith. By doing so, they give an ongoing gift to members and the missions.

Membership means the person enrolled receives the spiritual benefits of daily Masses celebrated by missionary priests, and they are also included in the intentions of a daily Mass celebrated at the Vatican. Enrollment in The Society for the Propagation of the Faith is another loving, spiritual gesture one can make for a loved one and their intentions.

In many mission locations, funds from the Propagation of the Faith memberships are a substantial means of support. Many missionary priests rely on this donation because their parishioners are unable to financially sustain the parish, or the parish is young and growing with many needs. Your donation will be a spiritual benefit to your loved ones and a financial gift to the missions.

Five-year, ten-year and perpetual membership certificates are delivered to you or your parish in a white leatherette folder with a mailing envelope. Members’ intentions are included in the general sacrifice of over 15,000 Masses offered each year around the world. The suggested offering for these enrollments is:

Five Years $15
Ten Years $25
Individual Perpetual $50
Family Perpetual $100

Please make the check payable to Propagation of the Faith and mail it to Missions/CRS Office, 510 Ocean Avenue, Portland, ME 04103-4936.

Diocesan-wide Mission Rosary Group

Join now!

Join the Diocesan-wide Mission Rosary Group and help missionaries around the world with your gift of prayer.

There are no fees or requirements other than your personal commitment to prayer. You will join hundreds of other parishioners in praying for the spiritual needs of missionaries around the world. You and the Rosary Group Members will be asking Our Lady of the Rosary to intercede for them as they labor among God’s people with dedication and generosity.

[Learn more]

Mission Magazine

"To wed the afflicted and the comfortable is our humble mission, our dedicated task, our abiding joy." -- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

For six decades, MISSION has done just that, telling the story of the Church in mission countries, proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and serving the poor, and showing how each of us, by Baptism, is called to be part of that story in all times, “to bring to each circumstance,” observed MISSION’s current editor, Monica Ann Yehle, “the hope-filled, life-giving Risen Lord and His love compassion.”

Mission magazine is published quarterly by the Propagation of the Faith. [Learn more about it.]