Shall we Carry on the Same Missionary Spirit?
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“Once we experience the power of God’s love and recognize His fatherly presence in our personal and community life, we cannot help but proclaim and share what we have seen and heard. Jesus’ relationship with His disciples and His humanity, as revealed to us in the mystery of His Incarnation, Gospel, and Paschal Mystery, shows us the extent to which God loves our humanity and makes His own our joys and sufferings, our hopes and our concerns.”
These are the opening words of the 2021 World Mission Sunday statement by Pope Francis, in which he points out the sacrifices and joys of the early Christians. The Acts of the Apostles records how St. Paul and fellow missioners carried out our Lord’s command to: “Go, therefore, to the highways and byways and invite everyone you find” (Matthew 22:9). No one is excluded and no one needs to feel distant or removed from this compassionate love.
The Holy Father urges us to be grateful for these early missioners, and all of our missionaries today throughout the world, and to follow their example. This year the Archdiocese of Cincinnati celebrates our 200th anniversary, a reminder to us to be thankful for the many sacrifices’ missionaries have made to build our local Catholic community: secular priests; religious brothers, sister, priests; lay men and women.
We must also praise God for the past mission fundraising efforts of lay Catholics in Europe who supported the growth of our
U.S. Church. In 1822, Pauline Jericot and her factory co-workers in Lyon, France, received letters from overseas missioners and began to donate parts of their salaries to the Church here. This led to the establishment of the Pontifical Mission Societies, which gave more than $7 million to U.S. missions in its first 100 years. Today, Catholic donations from the United States make up 25% of the collection received at the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Vatican. These gifts from Catholics in the United States are then shared with the 1,200 mission dioceses that cover more than half the globe.
As COVID-19 continues to be a major problem in many mission dioceses, I urge you to be especially generous to the upcoming collection at your local parish on World Mission Sunday, October 24, to benefit the Pontifical Mission Societies. You are welcome to join me for a special Mission Mass at 3:00 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains that day to thank the Lord for all those who have and continue to sacrifice for the growth of our Church locally and globally.
Sincerely in the mission of Christ,