Two priests in front of a church

Messages of Mercy

Sharing the stories of the poor

Outreach Priests are an important part of the Cross Catholic Outreach ministry. Each weekend, they travel to parishes throughout the United States to assist parish priests with coverage while delivering inspiring mission-oriented messages, increasing parishioner engagement and deepening faith.

Outreach Priests share stories of faithful Catholic servants working in remote locations around the world transforming individuals and communities, while also providing the sacramental needs of a parish for mission-specific weekends, parish missions, special events, or during a pastor’s absence. One of their goals is to motivate greater generosity toward the poor and greater support of Cross Catholic Outreach project partners serving impoverished families overseas. In this way, they share the Gospel, and through it, the message of charitable work.

Here are a few links to some recent Cross Catholic Outreach Priests’ visits:

Homilies from the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

St. Leo the Great, Cleveland, OH

“Today when we hear about Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, we think about glory, extravagance, power of this man. But it’s completely different! He’s not the king of glorification. He’s not king of extravagance. He is a king who is a shepherd. A shepherd king who is going to love his people. Take care tenderly of his people.”

Listen to More Homilies from the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe​

Infant of Prague, Jacksonville, NC

St. Gabriel, Colorado Springs, CO

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Greenville, WI

St. Peter, Ashton/Middleton, WI

Homilies from the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Charles Borromeo, Gretna, NE

“In today’s gospel about talents – we all have received many talents and blessings from God. Do you count your blessings and gifts or sometimes waste your time comparing your talents and blessings to others? Today is an opportunity for each one of us to think about it. To count our blessings and gifts and be thankful for them. And the second thing that Jesus is saying is that the talents and blessings we have are not ours. They are given to us by God, Our Father out of love. God gave us those talents and blessings so we can use them ourselves and for our families throughout our journey on earth. But also to be able to multiply those blessings and talents shared with people around us who are in need.”

Listen to More Homilies from the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Patrick, Kathleen, GA

St. Gianna, Wentzville, MO

St. John the Baptist, Johnstown, CO

St. Ann, Burleson, TX

Mary, Our Queen, Omaha, NE

Holy Family, Elizabeth City, NC

Invite an Outreach Priest to Your Parish

Interested in hearing the message of mercy from a Cross Catholic Outreach Priest? Here are a few upcoming dates and parishes where you can hear the stories of the poor:

Dec 5-6 St. Vincent de Paul Austin TX Fr. Pascal Kumanda
Dec 5-6 Our Lady of Consolation Parkesburg PA Fr. Bernard Olszewski
Dec 5-6 Our Lady of Lourdes & St. Michael Springfield TN Fr. Raul Perez
Dec 12-13 St. Mary of the Assumption Santa Maria CA Fr. Carlos Chavez
Dec 12-13 Immaculate Heart of Mary Maringouin LA Fr. Alan Bower

Homilies from the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Holy Rosary, Saint Marys, OH

“These final Sundays of the current liturgical year, we always focus upon that eternal kingdom in which we are called to be a part of and to dwell in the presence of our God forever. We need to prepare ourselves as we do not know the day or the hour. Scripture theologians encourage us to look at the oil as not being the oil that can be procured from a local merchant, but the oil is God’s love that is given to us and we respond to that love in love. Like Peter, we are commissioned to share that love with one another and in sharing it, we end up having sufficient love, sufficient oil to do the work of God here and now.”

Listen to More Homilies from the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Charles Borromeo, Saint Charles, MO

St. Edward, Lebanon, OR

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Minnetonka, MN

Prince of Peace, Green Bay, WI

St. Therese, Collinsville, OK

Homilies from the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Cletus, Saint Charles, MO

“On this feast of the Solemnity of All Saints, we have that beautiful and powerful reading from Matthew on the beatitudes. Such beautiful words. But perhaps we read or hear them and soon forget them. We tend to focus on the ten commandments. Perhaps we can make a comparison of sorts briefly by analogy, say to a college education. Now some will go to college to get an education to prepare for a career so that they may live a good life. Others will go to college to get an education but not necessarily just to prepare for a career but to discover more about themselves, their passions, their dreams, their priorities. Not just to have a good life, but the best life. The commandments are like the rules of life. To guide us on doing good and avoiding evil so that we might have a reward somewhere down the road. Of course, you know our Lord gave us his commandment. He said to us, “I give you a new commandment. Love one another as I love you.” And then he gave us the beatitudes. Not rules of life but principles of life. To have the mind and heart, the compassion of Christ.”

Listen to More Homilies from the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Louis of France, La Puente, CA

Homilies from the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Odessa, TX

“In today’s gospel, I see unselfish love. Unselfish love from God himself because despite everything that we do in our weaknesses, he is there for us everything single day to keep us safe and to provide for us. Unselfish love, I see also to you fathers and mothers, grandparents here present. Every single day you make sacrifices to go out in the midst of the pandemic to work very hard to provide for your families. Today, I would like to invite you if you can consider expanding that love because it is about loving our neighbors. There are some neighbors you cannot see but who are part of your family and part of your community. We belong to the bigger family of the children of God, and we have our sisters and brothers all over the world.”

Listen to More Homilies from the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Augustine, Basile, LA

Our Lady of Mercy, Hicksville, NY

St. Clare of Assisi, Daniel Island, SC

St. Mary’s, Greenville, OH

St. Joseph Catholic Community,
Plymouth & New Hope, MN

Homilies from the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Nativity of Mary, Bloomington, MN

“Welcome to all on World Mission Sunday! 90% of the world doesn’t live the way we live. They don’t have what we have. If you are feeling grumpy someday, just remind yourself of that. The scripture is a message we can take home with us. Every day if we just realize an attitude of gratitude, we’d be a lot happier than we are right now. We’d be a lot more at peace. And we’d be counting our blessings with an attitude of gratitude. Everything good comes from God. Charity and justice you might say then is the rent we pay for living on this earth. In other words, it’s up to all of us to give something back to those who have so much less.

Many of you have given to your families, to your children. Many of you have received from your parents or grandparents. It’s so important to give beyond even our family and those who can give us back something. To give to the poor who cannot say thank you. To give to the body of Christ. Sister Joan Clare is passing out bread in the orphanage in the Philippines for handicapped children.

1 John 3:16-18 – We know love by this, that Jesus Christ laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”

Listen to More Homilies from the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Church of the Holy Spirit, Mustang, OK

Holy Guardian Angels, Reading, PA

Nativity Catholic Church, Washington DC

St. Jude the Apostle, North Tonawanda, NY

St. Peter the Apostle, Savannah, GA

Homilies from the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Paul Catholic Church, St. Paul, MO

“Fight the good fight of faith. Do not rely on so uncertain a thing as wealth. Trust in the God who provides us richly with all things for our use. Do good. Be rich in good works and generous. Sharing what you have. Thus you will build a secure foundation for the future for receiving that life, which is life indeed. And here at the end, Paul is emphasizing it’s our generous nature in this life that will secure eternal life in the kingdom that is coming. That’s how we show thanks and gratitude to our God – is to live out this call to be mindful of others and to do our part to help them with their misery and hopefully give them relief.”

Fr. Bower also offers a wonderful communion meditation at all Masses he celebrates. We hear of Mother Teresa, now known as St. Teresa of Calcutta, shares this insight with us:

‘My dear children, without our suffering, our work would just be social work – very good and helpful but would not be the work of Jesus Christ – not part of the redemption. All the desolation of the poor people, not only their material poverty but their spiritual destitution must be redeemed and we must have our share in it. Yes, my dear children, let’s share the sufferings of the poor for only by being one with them, we can redeem them – that is bringing God into their lives and bringing them to God.’

Listen to More Homilies from the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Francis de Sales, St. Paul, MN

St. Bernard, Appleton, WI

St. Hyacinth, Deer Park, TX

St. William, Tewksbury, MA

St. Bernard, Appleton, WI

St. Hyacinth, Deer Park, TX

Homilies from the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Patrick, Armonk, NY

“The gospel today is about to give profit to the Lord. Each one of us has a banker. Each one of us has a tenant. Because we receive a spiritual gift and material gift every day. We need to give something back. If you die right after mass today and meet Jesus face to face? What do you have in your hands to present to the Lord? It’s not only good to go to the Masses and only pray the Rosary. It is also good to help people in need. To extend your hands and give support to people in need. 

Every day, in different places around the world, before the pandemic, between 30 and 45 thousand people with the same dignity like everyone here, used to die. Not because of war, violence, AIDS, cancer – no – of starvation. Out of that number before the pandemic, every four minutes, a child used to die of starvation. What can we do today for people who have nothing to eat? What can we do today for people who can’t even afford to buy a mask per work orders like in India, in Africa, in my country in Venezuela, in the Philippines? We are living in a very, very bad situation — but even being in bad situations is the time, and it’s our responsibility to share our spiritual gifts and material gifts with other people who truly have nothing.”

St. John the Apostle, Minot, ND

“We know the gospel. We know the message our Lord gave to us, and sometimes we do indeed seem to be oblivious to it. Maybe because love has become diluted. Because we love so many things! Look at this day, isn’t it beautiful? We LOVE it. I don’t know who your favorite football team is, but, boy, you love your team! 

What did our Lord mean when he said love one another? But he gave us a very good clue. Because the last time he got together with Peter, John’s partner in the fishing business, John’s partner in the missionary work. The last time he got together with St. Peter according to scripture, he said to Peter, ‘Peter, do you love me? Peter, if you love me, feed my lambs, feed my sheep, feed my family.’ It’s as if for our Lord, the word love and feed are synonymous. He could just as easily say to us, ‘I give you a new commandment — feed one another as I feed you.'”

Homilies from the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Joseph & Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Chisolm, MN

“We are reminded constantly that wickedness is a self-centeredness and it’s turning away from any kind of meanness in our life — any kind of separating judgement that keeps us from loving our neighbor, near and far away. Sister Joan Claire ministers at an on orphanage in the Philippines and Cross Catholic Outreach allows you to bless that orphanage by supporting them. This is helping your neighbors. Helping them have dignity by giving peace and love. 1 John 3 — we know love by this, that Jesus Christ lay down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and action.”

Fr. Bernard Olszewski and Fr. Tulio Ramirez

St. Jude, Erie, PA

“Jesus tells us we need to change. God gives us great space and ability to change — to understand what we must do to fulfill God’s will. John Cardinal Newman – To live is to change. To be perfect is to change often.” We must be willing to change ourselves and be agents of change so that two things can be accomplished. God can be loved above all things – mind, body, soul and heart. And love of neighbor as ourselves may be our motto. For the achievement of those two great loves is the achievement of perfection.

God asks us to be those agents of change. To be the agents of the mercy and the love of God, which knows no boundaries. Which comes to us freely, not for anything we have done but simply because God is love. God has asked us to be agents of change to transform the world in which we live into his kingdom. A kingdom of light, peace, unity and love. Cross Catholic Outreach was founded to be an agent of change. To be the messenger of change for the poorest of the poor in developing countries throughout the world. We cannot cure world poverty. Jesus told us the poor you will always have with you. But never did I hear Jesus say, “Oh yeah, that’s okay.”

Homilies from the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Mary Cathedral, Austin, TX

“Brothers and sisters, God is generous! He loves us without limit. We must also love unlimitedly. As a young boy living in India, we would walk to a well to get water. The water was not clear, like the bottled water we have here in the US. It was colored and dirty. It was really hot weather — more than 100 degrees. We were so thirsty. We drank the dirty water. When I visited Haiti, people were walking nearly three miles up on the hills to find a stream of water. Their water was like mine when I was a boy — dirty. You can help!

Our Lady of Grace, Johnston, RI

“Above all, we need to love God but we need to also love our neighbor. Our neighbor is not just the people who live on the same street or in the same city. Our neighbors are those people like us around the world. At Cross Catholic Outreach, we help you bless those neediest of needy neighbors around the world by partnering with mission partners in developing countries to feed the hungry, provide water to the thirsty, build safe shelter for the homeless, love and education to the orphans, help those impacted with natural disasters, and so much more.”

Homilies from the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Andrew the Apostle, Apex, NC

“Jesus came to give us that God’s eye view of the world — where there is no difference between young/old, black/white, man/woman — it doesn’t matter in God’s eyes. We are all equal. And Jesus came to show us how to live in this diverse world accepting and loving one another. His message was especially most poignant, especially most pointed about caring and loving those who have less than we whether they be in prison, whether they are sick, and most especially whether they be poor. That’s the message of the gospel, that’s what each and every one of us as Catholics, as Christians are called to do. To allow ourselves to be transformed so that we can live within that kingdom that Jesus gave us.”

St. Andrew the Apostle, Apex, NC

“Jesus came to give us that God’s eye view of the world — where there is no difference between young/old, black/white, man/woman — it doesn’t matter in God’s eyes. We are all equal. And Jesus came to show us how to live in this diverse world accepting and loving one another. His message was especially most poignant, especially most pointed about caring and loving those who have less than we whether they be in prison, whether they are sick, and most especially whether they be poor. That’s the message of the gospel, that’s what each and every one of us as Catholics, as Christians are called to do. To allow ourselves to be transformed so that we can live within that kingdom that Jesus gave us.”

St. Columbkille, Wilmington, OH

“As we recognize God’s mercy in our lives to practice that mercy in our daily life with one another. Today I want to thank you for the many and varied ways in which you have recognized God’s blessings and God’s mercy in your own lives and you have shared those blessings and that mercy with those who we send to remote areas of our nation and even to the ends of the earth. Having been blessed to have served the Church as a foreign missionary, I can assure you that that which you have shared has gone a very long way to bring the light of Christ into the darkness of the world.”

Homilies from the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Holy Rosary Church, North Mankato, MN

“What Cross Catholic Outreach does has tremendous results.  The goal of our organization is to ensure that the poorest of the poor have regular access to basic necessities through loving and caring agents – the priests and nuns who manage the projects we support.  I challenge you to consider a gift of building a house, and if you are unable to do that full amount, do half – push yourself to help the poor.”

St. Joseph, Owatonna, MN

“The word ‘catholic’ means universal. We are building bridges with believers around the globe who have it much worse than we do. Reaching out is so important to share the faith. We don’t just give money, we support the missions who work to share the faith and transform lives. A US dollar goes far when it’s done with the love of Christ!”

Homilies from the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Ann, Charlotte N.C.

“I’ve literally supported hundreds of charities in my lifetime. I have yet to find one that can match Cross Catholic Outreach’s level of stewardship. Over 95 cents of every dollar goes exactly to where it is supposed to go. To the mission and not to administration. So you can trust you are going to get great value out of your support of Cross Catholic Outreach.”

St. Anthony of Padua, Dalhart, TX

“The Holy Father reminded us the world is suffering greatly because of COVID-19. He also reminded us we can become greater because of this pandemic or worse. Being myopic can harm us in the spirit. We need to take great care. We are brothers and sisters of the Lord and building up his kingdom. Our God does not leave us to ourselves. Blessed are the feet of those who preach the good news – those who make a difference.”

St. Leo of the Great, Cleveland, OH

“Cross Catholic Outreach not only gives the fish but also teaches the community how to fish. You can help break the cycle of poverty by blessing a family with a gift of $2,500 that will help build a sturdy and safe home for a family in need. “

Homilies from the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fr. James Kramper

St. Joseph the Worker, Mankato, MN

“God sends enough for everybody, but he does give extra to some, so that they can have the joy of being generous towards others. There are children in Guatemala who, because of this virus, don’t have enough food to eat. So the $3,000 we had done fundraising for a youth retreat, we gave to Cross Catholic Outreach to feed these children who have a need right now.”

St. Bede, Williamsburg, VA

“We are all Jesus! On the day of our baptism, the Holy Spirit came upon us and we became children of God, just like Jesus was the Son of God. May your light shine before others so when others see the good that you do, they give glory to the Father. Jesus passed down to mission to us to save the world. You are all the hands, feet, body of Jesus. The way we live our life, speak to people, we need to be an example of Jesus.”

St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, Fort Mill, SC

“Our Lord told us what he meant by love. If you love me, feed my lambs, feed my sheep, feed my family. Whenever you do it to the least, you do it unto me. Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, show love to the Lord by helping those in need.”

Homilies from the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Blaise, Bellingham, MA

“The purpose of our ministry is to know, love and serve God in this world and be happy with God in the next. The way to that path is by being aware of the human needs of those who are around us. Very clearly He says if we want to experience the fullness of the kingdom after life here on Earth, what we need to be doing is paying attention to the human needs of others. When we respond to their needs, we respond to God.”

St. Henry, Lake Charles, LA

“They did not do anything to deserve this. It’s not their misfortune they were born in a poor country. They are all family. All children of God. We need to open our hearts. During this pandemic in the past six months we’ve averaged 4,000 deaths a day. Unbelievable! During this same time in the pandemic of hunger, we average 25,000 deaths a day, each and every day for the lack of food.”

Homilies from the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cross Catholic Outreach’s Day of Prayer takes place on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, which this year was on a Saturday. It is fitting then, that this year’s prayer day was observed by staff on the Friday before which falls on the Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe, patron saint of volunteers, who died a “martyr of charity”. 

 “I pray you to tell the Brothers not to be afraid at all to love the Immaculate too much since . . . they will never love her like Jesus loved her.” ― St. Maximilian Kolbe

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Hartwell, GA

“Of all the gifts we are asked to give — and we Americans are asked to give many, many, many times — I have a problem trying to figure out, well, of these hundreds of requests I’m being asked for, big and little, how do I work it out? And I know in the mind and heart of our God, the most sacred of all the acts of kindness and charity that we can do will always be the to our brothers and sisters who are amongst the poorest of the poor. ‘I was hungry and you fed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was without a home and you brought me in. Whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for Me.’ ”

St. Thomas, Tukwila, WA

“Do as Peter did. Come! Put our faith in Jesus. That is something we do at Cross Catholic Outreach all the time. Put our trust in Jesus. Two things you can do: 1. Pray for us! Even just 2 minutes per day. Pray for the missionaries of Cross Catholic Outreach. Your prayers are very effective. They open God’s heart and extend his mercy. 2. Good works in the form of donations. Only $25 can feed 167 children!”

Hear Homilies from Prior Weekends

St. Thomas More University Parish, Norman, OK

“Jesus has great faith in his disciples – that is us. God knows our potential and we have to tap into our potential that has been lying dormant. The power of your donation goes very far to help the poor – and you share a part of yourself with them. On behalf of Cross Catholic Outreach and the poor in the countries we serve, I most humbly say, thank you, thank you, thank you for your past donations and to beg you one more time on their behalf for your mercy, your compassion and your donation. Amen.”

Church of the Holy Family, Hebron, CT

“Today’s readings instruct us that we have a moral responsibility to help and take care of one another. Cross Catholic Outreach invites us each day to come to the water. One of my brother Outreach Priests always says, ‘If I do not go out to preach, the poor cannot eat; if I do not go out to preach, the poor will not have clean water; if I do not go out to preach, the poor will have no home.’ ”

St. Therese, Midvale, UT

“Today’s Gospel message tells us – the field is both the world and our own heart.  We have the option of changing the world through our mercy and love. On, July 18 the Church celebrated Saint Camillus de Lellis who said, “the poor and the sick are the heart of God and in serving them we serve Jesus Christ”. 

Our Lady of Nazareth, Roanoke, VA

“At this time the entire world is affected in so many ways. We can be Jesus through our prayers, our love, our compassion and our generosity. We are here today to pray for our sisters and brothers who are starving and with our acts of generosity, we represent Jesus in this difficult time”

St. Paschal, West Monroe, LA

“The poor of the world do not have a stimulus package; no food stamps, no government housing. They are relying on us, as the stronger members of the Body of Christ, to be helpful to them. This is your opportunity to use well, your means, to help our brothers and sisters who need it the most.” 

Our Lady of Lourdes, Washington, MO

“The mustard seed grows so big and so strong – Jesus asks us to grow as strong, to extend a hand to reach out to people in need.  In the middle of this pandemic, you may ask what can we do today?  We are here to link the Catholic Church in the U.S. with our brothers and sisters in the developing world.”

St. Katherine Drexel, Mechanicsburg, PA

“Cross Catholic Outreach was founded to bring the vision of God’s glory more fully in the lives of the poorest of the poor in the developing countries of the world. We can’t cure poverty. Jesus told us ‘the poor you will always have with you,’ but never once did I hear Jesus say, ‘Ah, yeah and that’s okay!’ Cross Catholic’s structure provides 3 fundamental needs: adequate food; clean drinking water, and safe, secure shelter. Without those things, not much else can happen. When a community receives clean water – hygiene goes up and disease goes down – that is bringing about God’s kingdom in the world.”

Presentation of Our Lady, Denver, CO

“In front of the brochure, you can see a Franciscan nun. Her name is Sr. Clara; she lives and works in the Philippines. Every day, she goes to the streets of Manila to feed the poorest children. With your donation this weekend and from many other parishes around the country, Cross Catholic Outreach is able to provide support not only to Sr. Clara and those children, but many different life-saving ministries in the developing world.”

Mater Dei, Topeka, KS

“I look at myself and my brothers who go out and raise money for the poorest of the poor as farmers… because we help parishes plant seeds. Why do we plant them here? Because you, our Catholic family, are the ‘good soil.’ “

Holy Redeemer, Odessa, TX

“I have worked as a missionary for the poor all my life, traveling to many places that not many people want to go; you can also be missionaries for the poor from Odessa, where you can make your contributions to Cross Catholic Outreach, helping your neighbors in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, South and Central America to have food, clean water, education for those who have been marginalized and destitute from society. You can be the good soil that will bear good fruit as we read in the Gospel today.”   

Following Fr. Rivera’s visit, one donor sent the following email praising the ministry of Cross Catholic Outreach:

“I want you and the whole Cross Catholic Outreach team to know that I first heard a talk that Fr. Hilario Rivera did a while back in Big Spring, TX and I have never forgotten it. My wife and I have donated periodically to you over the years, but it was his talk of conviction, honesty and humor that re-ignited our desire to continue. I pray for the continued success of all the hard work you all put in to help those in need.”

 

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Our mission is to mobilize the global Catholic Church to transform the poor and their communities materially and spiritually for the glory of Jesus Christ. Your gift empowers us to serve the poorest of the poor by channeling life-changing aid through an international network of dioceses, parishes and Catholic missionaries. This cost-effective approach helps break the cycle of poverty and advance Catholic evangelization.

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