Categories: General Date: Oct 17, 2017 Title: World Mission Sunday
This year, World Mission Sunday is celebrated on Sunday, October 22. World Mission Sunday, organized by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, is a day set aside for Catholics around the world to recommit themselves to the Church’s missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice. The theme this year is Mission at the heart of the Christian faith.
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, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Malawi and India as well as to support Missionary Dioceses of the Great Canadian North via the CCCB 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 2017, which was delivered from the Vatican on Pentecost Sunday,
The world vitally needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the Church, Christ continues his mission as the Good Samaritan, caring for the bleeding wounds of humanity, and as Good Shepherd, constantly seeking out those who wander along winding paths that lead nowhere….
The Church’s mission is enlivened by a spirituality of constant exodus. We are challenged “to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the peripheries in need of the light of the Gospel” (Evangelii Gaudium, 20). 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. The Church’s mission inspires a sense of constant exile, to make us aware, in our thirst for the infinite, that we are exiles journeying towards our final home, poised between the “already” and “not yet” of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Mission reminds the Church that she is not an end unto herself, but a humble instrument and mediation of the Kingdom. A self-referential Church, one content with earthly success, is not the Church of Christ, his crucified and glorious Body. That is why we should prefer “a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security” (ibid., 49).
The Pontifical Mission Societies are a precious means of awakening in every Christian community a desire to reach beyond its own confines and security in order to proclaim the Gospel to all. In them, thanks to a profound missionary spirituality, nurtured daily, and a constant commitment to raising missionary awareness and enthusiasm, young people, adults, families, priests, bishops and men and women religious work to develop a missionary heart in everyone. World Mission Day, promoted by the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, is a good opportunity for enabling the missionary heart of Christian communities to join in prayer, testimony of life and communion of goods, in responding to the vast and pressing needs of evangelization.
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.