World Mission Sunday
World Mission Sunday, organized by the Pontifical Mission Society for the Propagation of the Faith, is a day set aside for Catholics worldwide to recommit themselves to the Church’s missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice. In 2017, World Mission Sunday is celebrated on October 22.
This year’s theme is, “Mission-the Heart of Christian faith.” Chosen by Pope Francis, invites us to understand more than ever that Mission constitutes an essential aspect of the Christian faith; we are sent to our brothers and sisters in order to bear witness of our faith in Christ and to proclaim his Gospel. Beginning with the Second Vatican Council, the Church has worked to restore the essential importance of every baptized person’s Missionary dimension.
Annually, World Mission Sunday is celebrated on the next-to-last Sunday in October. As described by Pope John Paul II, World Mission Sunday is “an important day in the life of the Church because it teaches how to give: as an offering made to God, in the Eucharistic celebration and for all the missions of the world”
Every year the needs of the Catholic Church in the Missions grow – as new dioceses are formed, as new seminaries are opened because of the growing number of young men hearing Christ’s call to follow Him as priests, as areas devastated by war or natural disaster are rebuilt, and as other areas, long suppressed, are opening up to hear the message of Christ and His Church. That is why the involvement and commitment of Catholics from around the world is so urgently needed. Offerings from Catholics in the United States, on World Mission Sunday and throughout the year, are combined with offerings to the Pontifical Mission Society for the Propagation of the Faith worldwide.
Mission dioceses – about 1,108 at this time – receive regular annual assistance from the funds collected. In addition, these mission dioceses submit requests to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples for assistance, among other needs, for catechetical programs, seminaries, the work of Religious Communities, for communication and transportation needs, and for the building of chapels, churches, orphanages and schools. These needs are matched with the funds gathered in each year.
Your ongoing support of the Pontifical Mission Society for the Propagation of the Faith is vital to the Missionaries serving dioceses throughout Asia, Africa, parts of Latin America and Europe, and on the Islands of the Pacific. Your generosity makes it possible for local priests, religious, and catechists to reach out to communities, families and children in desperate need, bringing the light of Christ to the darkest of circumstances.
World Mission Sunday Resources
Archbishop’s 2017 Letter to the Faithful:
Dear Faithful Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In his message for World Mission Sunday, October 22, Pope Francis invites us to understand that Mission is an essential aspect and at the Heart of Christian faith. The Holy Father reminds us that we are sent to our brothers and sisters in order to bear witness of our faith in Christ and to proclaim His Gospel. By our baptism, we are all called to be Missionary disciples.
Pope Francis exhorts us repeatedly to go out of the temple’s sacred walls and to make sure that our Church becomes a Mission-centered Church. We are challenged “to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the peripheries in need of the light of the Gospel.”Evangelii Gaudium.20
Your prayers and financial help, through the Pontifical Mission Society for the Propagation of the Faith, will provide resources to the countless faith-filled Missionaries who bring the Gospel to 1,108 Catholic Mission Dioceses, serving as the Church’s witness to Christ through their care for the poor and most vulnerable.
As Pope Francis’ World Mission Sunday message asserts, “The world vitally needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the Church, Christ continues His Mission as the Good Samaritan, caring for the bleeding wounds of humanity, and as Good Shepherd, constantly seeking out those who wander along winding paths that lead nowhere.”
I pray that the faithful in every parish in the Archdiocese will respond to this year’s World Mission Sunday by actively offering your fervent prayer and heartfelt generosity for Missionaries and the people they serve, responding to the vast and pressing need for evangelization in the world.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia
To Be Missionaries, Go Forth!
If we want our faith to be fruitful, we need to bring it alive first in prayer, and then in action. The greatest way we can show love to other persons is by sharing Jesus Christ with them. And that means all of us are called to be Missionaries.
To be Missionaries, we have to go somewhere. We need to “go forth.” But Catholics oftenmisunderstand what real Mission work involves. We think of people like the great Jesuit saint, Francis Xavier, who left his home, his family and his friends, and traveled around Asia for the rest of his life preaching the Gospel. We have a harder time seeing ourselves as Missionaries.
It’s very possible that God is calling one of you in this room today to be the next Francis Xavier. God created each of you to be a Saint; to do some special task no one else can do. The Church needs men and women who are willing to live their faith radically and heroically, and carry the Gospel into every corner of the earth.
Most of us, however, won’t be called to preach in a foreign country, or smuggle the Gospel into North Korea or Iran. Most of us will work in the Mission fields of our homes and schools, our sports teams, jobs and friends. And the work will be just as demanding as it was for Francis Xavier, even if the people and places look familiar. The mandate Jesus gave us to preach the Gospel will demand a different kind of journey — a spiritual journey out of ourselves.
Two thousand years ago, St. Paul wrote to his followers, “woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel.” 1 Cor 9:16 Those are strong words. It’s easy to mistake what he meant. It’s easy to assume that he feared God’s punishment. But Paul actually meant something very different. If we don’t share our faith with others, we begin to lose it ourselves. That’s what Paul feared. The seed of the Gospel is restless. It never sleeps. It’s always either growing or dying in our hearts, and it only grows if we witness Jesus Christ to others by our example and our words.
A lot of Catholics are embarrassed to talk about their faith. We may know that the Church calls all of us to holiness and to make the world around us holy, but we often try to wriggle out of actually doing it. It’s easier – and much more comfortable — if we don’t make a big deal about our faith in public. Even if we know a lot about our faith, even if we’re fully convinced by it, we tend to worry about other people’s reactions.
Part of the problem is that self-consciously “religious” people sometimes give religion a bad name. Sooner or later we all meet a difficult priest or a pompous televangelist or a gossiping volunteer. They’re often the first people to talk about how important religion is to them. But the best witnesses to the faith usually talk less and act more. Then when they do speak, their words are very powerful. Excerpt from Archbishop Charles Chaput: World Youth Day Catechesis July 26, 2013, Rio de Janeiro
World Mission Rosary
In February of 1951, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, national director of the Pontifical Mission Society for the Propagation of the Faith from 1950 to 1966, inaugurated a World Mission Rosary in his Catholic Hour radio address.
“We must pray, and not for ourselves, but for the world. To this end, I have designed the World Mission Rosary.Each of the five decades is of a different color to represent the continents.”
Praying this Rosary, Archbishop Sheen said, would “aid the Holy Father and his Society for the Propagation of the Faith by supplying him with practical support, as well as prayers, for the poor mission territories of the world.”
The different colored beads of each decade call to mind an area where the Church continues her evangelization efforts in Mission: GREEN for the forests of AFRICA; BLUE for the ocean surrounding the ISLANDS of the PACIFIC; WHITE symbolizing EUROPE, the seat of the Holy Father, shepherd of the world; RED, calling to mind the fire of faith that brought missionaries to the AMERICAS and YELLOW, the morning light of the East, for ASIA.
How to Pray the World Mission Rosary