World Mission Sunday

World Mission Sunday was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1926 and was first commemorated in 1927. It is celebrated on the next-to-last Sunday in October. Donations are collected at Mass on this Sunday and all of the funds collected go to support missionary activity in countries where the Church is new, young or poor.

Since 1922, the Pontifical Mission Societies have been the official missionary arm of the Catholic Church charged with the work of evangelization and charitable works throughout the world. These Mission Societies provide mission awareness and raise funds for the poorest mission churches of the Catholic Church. Mission Societies exist through the generosity of Catholics and play a crucial role in combating poverty, disease, injustice and exploitation.

The World Mission Sunday collection taken up last year in Canada was used to support programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Ghana, Madagascar and Antilles as well as to support the CCCB Pastoral Fund and the Domus Missionalis Foundation in Rome.  Each year the collections are sent to the National Office of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in Toronto. Annually, in May, National Directors from around the world meet in Rome to approve projects submitted for financial assistance. The money is then sent directly from the National Office to the country of the approved project. For more information about specific projects, go to www.missionsocieties.ca

As Pope Francis said in his message for World Mission Day 2016, which was delivered from the Vatican on Pentecost Sunday,

The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, which the Church is celebrating, casts a distinct light on World Mission Sunday 2016: it invites us to consider the missio ad gentes as a great, immense work of mercy, both spiritual and material. On this World Mission Sunday, all of us are invited to "go out" as missionary disciples, each generously offering their talents, creativity, wisdom and experience in order to bring the message of God’s tenderness and compassion to the entire human family. By virtue of the missionary mandate, the Church cares for those who do not know the Gospel, because she wants everyone to be saved and to experience the Lord’s love. She “is commissioned to announce the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel” (Misericordiae Vultus, 12) and to proclaim mercy in every corner of the world, reaching every person, young or old….

Mercy finds its most noble and complete expression in the Incarnate Word. Jesus reveals the face of the Father who is rich in mercy; he “speaks of [mercy] and explains it by the use of comparisons and parables, but above all he himself makes it incarnate and personifies it” (John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia, 2). When we welcome and follow Jesus by means of the Gospel and sacraments, we can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, become merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful; we can learn to love as he loves us and make of our lives a free gift, a sign of his goodness (cf. Misericordiae Vultus, 3). The Church, in the midst of humanity, is first of all the community that lives by the mercy of Christ: she senses his gaze and feels he has chosen her with his merciful love. It is through this love that the Church discovers its mandate, lives it and makes it known to all peoples through a respectful dialogue with every culture and religious belief.

This Jubilee year marks the 90th anniversary of World Missionary Day, first approved by Pope Pius XI in 1926 and organized by the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith.  It is appropriate then to recall the wise instructions of my Predecessors who ordered that to this Society be destined all the offerings collected in every diocese, parish, religious community, association and ecclesial movement throughout the world for the care of Christian communities in need and for supporting the proclamation of the Gospel even to the ends of the earth.  Today too we believe in this sign of missionary ecclesial communion. Let us not close our hearts within our own particular concerns, but let us open them to all of humanity.

Canadian Catholics last year opened their hearts to the less fortunate of the world and supported programs which provided catechesis and evangelization as well as the construction or restoration of buildings such as churches, chapels, convents, and rectories. Please continue to support World Missions through your prayers and generous financial support.