By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
The Missionary Childhood Association (MCA), formerly known as the Holy Childhood Association, was founded in 1843 by French Bishop Charles de Fourbin-Janson as a society for children similar to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
Bishop Fourbin-Janson was convinced that children rich in faith and love are capable of playing their own part in the Church’s mission and even of stirring adults to show the same giving spirit.
For some people, Lent is a time to “give up something.” For others it is a time to “do” or “give” something. Both of these approaches can lead us to focus on our mission to serve Christ — the poor, in his name.
“We are urging diocesan youth to answer this challenge by giving generously to this collection and urging all adults throughout the diocese to donate to this important campaign,” said Lee Morrison, MCA director and the Diocese of Davenport’s superintendent of Catholic schools.
Sharon Roling, principal at St. Joseph Catholic School in DeWitt, said the school has collected donations for the MCA for years. “We collect money throughout the year, but pay special emphasis during Catholic Schools Week when we have our traditional penny challenge. We also have our Lenten boxes,” she said. This year students raised $1,164.49 during Catholic Schools Week, despite having two weather-related days off from school.
“When it’s the school’s turn to host one of the parish soup suppers, our donations also go to Missionary Childhood,” she said.
Msgr. W. Robert Schmidt, who served as the director of the Holy Childhood Association (HCA) for the diocese from 1986 to 2011, continues to serve as honorary chair and as a member of the MCA board.
Under Msgr. Schmidt’s direction, the annual collection flourished with collections always ranking among the top 10 dioceses in the U.S., Morrison said. Last year the faithful from the Diocese of Davenport contributed more than $9,000 to the appeal. “We hope that spirit of giving continues.” The kick off began Ash Wednesday.