This year, in every nation on earth, World Mission Sunday will be observed on the weekend of Oct. 17-18. The message for this year is “Our World on Mission,” and it is a call to put our faith and our lives into loving action.
It is recognizing and acknowledging, as Pope Francis stated, that “being a missionary is not about proselytizing or mere strategy; 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, for they know that Jesus ‘walks with them, speaks to them, breathes with them. They sense Jesus alive with them’ (‘Evangelii Gaudium,’ 266)” (Message for World Mission Day, May 24, 2015, Solemnity of Pentecost).
By baptism, all Catholics are called to participate in the mission of the church, called to share their faith as missionaries. Through the Eucharist, we are challenged together to extend the circles of Christ’s love throughout our world.
“Ite, missa est” literally means: “Go, this is your mission.” With these simple but powerful words spoken at the end of many of our liturgies, each of us is sent out by the Holy Spirit to be disciples and missionaries of Christ. God identifies himself with the hungry, the sick, the naked, the homeless, and it is our responsibility to feed and to fill this hunger not only with bread but with love, with care and with dignity. This is our world on mission.
The observance of World Mission Sunday is an opportunity for all people everywhere to be united through prayer, love and understanding. It is a time to recognize and be inspired by the many men and women who faithfully serve and minister to the people of God in more than 1,150 mission dioceses throughout the world. With little or no resources, they are the present-day missionaries of our church, who continue to bring the sacraments, the living Word of God and the gift of God’s grace and mercy to those who are most vulnerable.
Through the work of our local Mission Office/The Society for the Propagation of the Faith, our World Mission Sunday celebration and collection connect with the loving work of missionaries throughout the world. The office shares directly in the work of the Holy See, not with one mission but with all missions and all peoples of the world. This is the true propagation of the faith.
I pray that this year World Mission Sunday will touch each and every one of you deeply, and that we will be united in providing true assistance and prayers where they are needed most. Please join me in helping to make World Mission Sunday a resounding success with your generous gifts and missionary spirit.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of St. Cloud