October is the missionary month for the whole Catholic Church. Its high point is the celebration of World Mission Sunday on the penultimate (next-to-last) Sunday of October. It was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1926 at the request of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Through the Pope’s annual Message, the World Mission Sunday reminds us that the Church is missionary by her very nature. Hence, every member of the Church is called to share in the responsibility for mission ad gentes, that is, share the gift of faith with those who have not yet received it.
When prepared with care and lived with real fervour, “Mission Sunday” becomes a precious opportunity to form mission-conscious believers. Through organised initiatives for mission animation, every Catholic is stirred up to actively participate in the Church’s mission, above all through prayer and by offering of sacrifices that come to us through sickness or in ordinary daily life. Connected with prayer and sacrifices, and never isolated from these, is solidarity for material and financial needs of the Church’s missionary activities. Pope Pius XI, John XXIII, John Paul II had wisely stipulated that all offerings collected on World Mission Sunday be destined in their entirety to the needs of the Church’s mission ad gentes. Indeed, financial sacrifices from the faithful ‘are essential for sustaining and building up the Church and for showing love’ but must be ‘enlightened and inspired by faith’ (Redemptoris Missio, 81).
By being engaged, in different ways, in the Church’s missionary activities, every believer’s faith grows, is strengthened and revitalised with ‘fresh enthusiasm and new incentive’ (Redemptoris Missio, 2). Let every ‘Mission Sunday’ be an opportunity to mobilise all the members of our EPCs in fostering prayer, sacrifice and solidarity for the missions: those in places with deep Christian tradition and those where they have just received the faith, those with sufficient resources and those weighed down by poverty, those freely developing along with those suffering persecution!
Questions for Reflection and Sharing:
- How can I foster mission consciousness through the World Mission Sunday?
- How can we mobilise our EPC to foster prayer and solidarity for the missions?