World Mission Sunday: Uniting in solidarity with the Missions of the Church
By Mary Powers
On Sunday, Oct. 24, the Church will celebrate World Mission Sunday—the annual worldwide Eucharistic celebration for the Missions of the Church. World Mission Sunday is an opportunity for Catholics to recommit themselves to their Baptismal call to evangelization and mission, standing in solidarity with missionaries around the world serving the poor, proclaiming the Gospel and building the Church.
Established in 1926 by Pope Pius XI, the annual collection for the missionary work of the Church worldwide provides an opportunity to support the work of almost 1,100 mission dioceses. The theme for this year’s celebration is, “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
Pope Francis, in his message for World Mission Sunday, gratefully acknowledged the work of so many missionaries who have “set out, leaving home and family behind, to bring the Gospel to all places and people athirst for its saving message.”
The Pope also asked the faithful to pray for more Catholics to courageously follow the call to be missionaries to the “peripheries of our world as messengers and agents of compassion.”
“Today too, Jesus needs hearts capable of experiencing vocation as a true love story that urges them to go forth to the peripheries of our world as messengers and agents of compassion,” writes Pope Francis. “To be on mission is to be willing to think as Christ does, to believe with him that those around us are also my brothers and sisters. May His compassionate love touch our hearts and make us all true missionary disciples.”
The collections taken up this year on World Mission Sunday will go towards Missions in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Pacific Islands and Europe. Contributions will support ministries such as young men preparing for the priesthood in Africa, children who receive an education from religious sisters in Church-run elementary schools in the Pacific Islands, missionaries in Latin America where catechists travel to remote areas to bring the Good News of God’s love to families and missionaries in Europe who are rebuilding faith communities after years of persecution.
“The [Holy Father] invites us to speak of our faith!” writes Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone in his letter to the faithful. “World Mission Sunday provides us with that very opportunity. We can speak about our faith and respond generously to the collection for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith on that special day….Last year many were unable to support missionaries due to the difficulties arising from the pandemic and assembly…As we rebuild our lives, help us to also reach out in solidarity and support for the Mission Church, and the work and witness of missionaries in the Pope’s missions.”
For more information on World Mission Sunday, visit: https://sfarch.org/missionssf/