Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On October 23, World Mission Sunday, we join Catholics worldwide in this annual Eucharistic celebration for the Missions of the Church.

Pope Francis reflects on this year’s theme: “You shall be My witnesses” (Acts 1:8). He emphasizes the call to every Christian to bear witness to Christ, to participate in a mission of universal evangelization, and to seek strength and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

Beginning in 1822, the universal fund of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith provided some $7 million in help to the new and growing Churches in the United States. Your prayers and generous support today sustain priests, religious and lay pastoral leaders in more than 1,100 mission dioceses in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, and parts of Latin America and Europe as they proclaim the Gospel, build the Church, and serve the poor.

Blessed Pauline Jaricot began this work 200 years ago. As Pope Francis reminds us, “She accepted God’s inspiration to establish a network of prayer and collection for missionaries so that the faithful could actively participate in the mission ‘to the ends of the earth.’” Her vision would lead to World Mission Sunday, which helps the Pope support missionary activity.

When you contribute to the World Mission Sunday collection, you make it possible for the Holy Father to provide for the formation of our seminarians and religious men and women. You assist in building the schools and orphanages that care for children in places few visit. Missionaries can build churches in areas with scarce resources. Priests and religious Brothers and Sisters can buy food and the bare essentials that make it possible to proclaim the Gospel and celebrate the Sacraments.

I encourage your generosity on World Mission Sunday, especially in this bicentennial anniversary year. Your prayers remain your greatest gift, and your financial support is life-giving to our brothers and sisters in the world’s most vulnerable communities. 

Gratefully in the Lord,

Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M.

Bishop of Trenton