“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body.”
— Colossians 3:14
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
World Mission Sunday began in 1926 by Pope Pius XI and was organized by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Through the work of our local diocesan Mission Office/The Society for the Propagation of the Faith, our World Mission Sunday celebration and collection connects with the loving work of missionaries both locally and 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.
As we are all so aware, for our brothers and sisters around the world as well as here in the United States, this has been a year of many tragedies and devastation, pain and suffering, loss and sacrifice. These are stories that move us, challenge us and evoke recognition in our hearts because, when we are in solidarity with others and have a relationship of the heart, love naturally is the motivator. God’s love is an instrument of positive, transformational and peaceful change both in our lives and in the lives of those we encounter.
This year, the theme for World Mission Sunday 2017, chosen by Pope Francis, invites us to understand more than ever that mission constitutes an essential part of our Christian faith, and we are all sent out to our brothers and sisters right here and throughout the world to bear witness to our faith in Christ and to proclaim his Gospel.
Our Christian faith is not simply just a part of who we are, but rather an entire way of living and being, involving each and every one of us. Living out our faith means leading with our hearts at all times, being willing to embrace sorrow, giving of ourselves to others we encounter and loving all unconditionally.
To love God with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength is to expose your heart to the greatest sorrow a human being can know. This is how and why we carry the sorrow and love for those most especially on the margins.
I pray that this year World Mission Sunday will touch each and every one of you deeply and that you will be open to a relationship of the heart where we will be united in providing true assistance and prayers where it is needed most.
Please join me in helping to make this 91st World Mission Sunday a resounding success with your generosity and missionary spirit.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of St. Cloud