The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerful missionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy World Mission Sunday!

Most of us have an event that is remembered each year with special meaning.

Perhaps it's our birthday, or an anniversary, the return home from a war, the birth of a child, or another such personal history moment.

In the Catholic Church, we celebrate on the next-to-last Sunday of each year World Mission Sunday. This is a very special celebration for the whole Catholic world. We could say that this is our annual flesh-and-blood way of continuing Pentecost. Just what is World Mission Sunday all about?

It is a universal celebration, one that takes place at the altar of churches and chapels worldwide. The Church draws us on that day to the Eucharistic table to renew the missionary vocation given to us at Baptism. It also invites us to pray for the missionary needs of the Church, to respond to these needs with material support, and even to consider service ad gentes as a missionary.

The solidarity with people all over the world - many already committed to Christ and drawing sustenance from His Body and Blood, and many more still waiting to know Him and to be one with Him - is made real through your participation in World Mission Sunday. Especially in your role as celebrant at the Liturgy, the Lord provides the opportunity to renew your faithful in their missionary commitment, and to invite them to be part of the continuing Pentecost as, through prayer and sacrifice, they help to share Christ with the world.

My prayer for you and all in your parish is that you be instruments of evangelization on World Mission Sunday, accepting more fully your role as missionaries in this "one family in mission."

As always, I am most grateful for your missionary zeal and generosity.