World Mission Sunday, October 21, 2011
“Called to radiate the Word of truth” (Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, n. 6)
Excerpt from the Holy Father’s message for the World Mission Sunday, October 24, 2012:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This year the celebration of World Mission Day has a very special meaning. The 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council and of the opening of the Year of Faith and of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of the New Evangelization contribute to reaffirming the Church’s desire to engage with greater courage and zeal in the missio ad gentes so that the Gospel may reach the very ends of the earth.
Today this vision is still valid, indeed, it has experienced a fruitful theological and pastoral reflection and, at the same time, is presented with new urgency because the number of those who do not know Christ has grown: “The number of those awaiting Christ is still immense”, said Bl. John Paul II in his Encyclical Redemptoris Missio on the permanent validity of the missionary mandate and he added: “we cannot be content when we consider the millions of our brothers and sisters, who like us have been redeemed by the blood of Christ but who live in ignorance of the love of God” (n. 86). In announcing the Year of Faith, I too wrote that “today as in the past, he (Christ) sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth” (Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, n. 7). Such proclamation, as the Servant of God Paul VI said in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, “is not an optional contribution for the Church. It is the duty incumbent on her by the command of the Lord Jesus, so that people can believe and be saved. This message is indeed necessary. It is unique. It cannot be replaced” (n. 5). We therefore need to recover the same apostolic zeal as that of the early Christian communities, which, though small and defenceless, were able, through their proclamation and witness, to spread the Gospel throughout the then known world.
Organized by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the World Mission Sunday, is a day set aside for Catholics worlwide to recommit themselves to the Church’s missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice.
The contributions to the Propagation of the Faith on World Mission Sunday and throughout the year help support their pastoral and evangelizing programs, catechists and catechetical work, the building of churches and chapels, the work of religious communities in health care and education, and communication and transportation needs. The gifts provided on World Mission Sunday or at other times to the Propagation of the Faith help to ensure that the poor of the missions receive help and the hope that comes from knowing the love of Jesus Christ. The day-to-day service of the Catholic Church in the developing world depends on such financial help.
Missionaries can only do what you make possible!
photo source: http://archstl.org/missions/