My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Every year we remember in a special way our Baptismal call to mission as we celebrate World Mission Sunday, this year on October 18. On this Sunday, we will gather at the Eucharist, as will Catholics throughout the world, in a spirit of love for Evangelization so that, through our prayers and concrete acts of solidarity, the gift of faith may be shared with all. This year’s celebration is further enriched as we mark the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church (Ad Gentes) which proclaims, “The pilgrim Church on earth is missionary by its very nature,” reminding us that all of us are called to be on mission.
In his message for World Mission Sunday, Pope Francis writes, “Mission is part of the ‘grammar’ of faith, something essential for those who listen to the voice of the Spirit who whispers ‘Come’ and ‘Go forth.’ Those who follow Christ cannot fail to be missionaries…”
On World Mission Sunday, as our diocesan family joins our brothers and sisters around the world, responding to the voice of the Spirit, we connect with our world on mission: …with Africa, where six million children receive an education in some 16,000 Church-run elementary schools …with Asia, where those who are sick are provided with loving care at 5,000 Catholic hospitals and small clinics …with the Americas, where catechists travel to remote areas to bring the Good News of God’s great love to families …with Oceania, where young men are supported in their studies for the priesthood, to bring the Lord’s healing hope and peace to those in need …with Europe, where new churches are being built to welcome faith communities, renewed after years of persecution.
Your financial help on World Mission Sunday, offered in the collection for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, supports such efforts in 1,150 young mission dioceses in our world, reaching the poorest communities with a message of hope and healing, mercy and peace. Pope Francis emphasizes that “mission is a passion for Jesus and at the same time a passion for his people.” Let us have that same passion this World Mission Sunday, as we share the joy of the Gospel and help the poor by our fervent prayer and through generous hearts!
Faithfully yours in the Lord,
The Most Reverend David M. O’Connell,CM, JCD
Bishop of Trenton
For more about this important celebration of the universal Church, please visit the special World Mission Sunday web site: www.IAmAMissionary.org. On that website, you will find information as well about continuing the celebration for the Missions all throughout the year!