World Mission Sunday

Columbans see how the global economy can disproportionately benefit the world’s wealthy minority while most of the world’s people and the environment are left on the margins - Photo:Fr Alvaro Martinez SSCColumbans see how the global economy can disproportionately benefit the world’s wealthy minority while most of the world’s people and the environment are left on the margins - Photo: Fr Alvaro Martinez SSC

World Mission Sunday is celebrated annually on the last Sunday in October. In his message for this year’s World Mission Sunday (see attachment below) Pope Francis says: “Once we experience the power of God’s love … we cannot help but proclaim and share what we have seen and heard”. And so we are compelled to take on Jesus’ missionary call for us to, “Go therefore to the highways and byways, and invite everyone you find” (Mt 22:9). “No one is excluded,” says Pope Francis, “no one need feel distant or removed from this compassionate love”.

The theme of this year’s World Mission Sunday - “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20), “is a summons to each of us,” says Pope Francis, “to ‘own’ and to bring to others what we bear in our hearts”.

In these ongoing challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic Pope Francis says there is an urgent need for a mission of compassion and for missionaries of hope. As Christians, “we do not proclaim ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord” (2Cor 4:5), and we hear the powerful message of life and hope that proclaims: “He is not here, but has risen” (Lk 24:6). “This message of hope,” says Pope Francis, “bestows the freedom and boldness needed to rise up and seek with creativity every possible way to show compassion, the ‘sacramental’ of God’s closeness to us, a closeness that abandons no one along the side of the road”.

40% of local churches around the world are too young, or too poor, to support themselves, that is, thousands of parishes, schools, hospitals, centres of social service and support, and many other organizations within the Church. Columban missionaries, through the generous support of our benefactors, accompany and support these local churches. On this year’s World Mission Sunday we thank all those who continue to support Columban mission. 

On World Mission Sunday we celebrate our call in baptism to be missionary disciples of Jesus, and in these challenging times, to be missionaries of compassion and hope. With gratitude in our hearts we give thanks to God whose grace enables us to be instruments of God’s love in our world, so that in all we say and do, we can reflect God’s compassion and hope, God’s life-giving to our world. This is our mission – our call as missionary disciples of Jesus.

In his message Pope Francis says: “Let us remember especially all those who resolutely set out, leaving home and family behind, to bring the Gospel to all those places and people athirst for its saving message”.

For over one hundred years, Columban missionaries have left our homelands to live and work alongside people living in poverty. Together with all those engaged in Columban mission, both at home and overseas, and with the support and prayers of our generous benefactors, in sharing the Good News we are a voice for transformation by providing humanitarian assistance and accompanying communities in their struggle to care for the environment, protect their livelihoods, and participate fully in society. We support people who have been excluded in society to tell their own stories, and through education and advocacy, work for structural change to address the root causes of injustice. Columbans see how the global economy can disproportionately benefit the world’s wealthy minority while most of the world’s people and the environment are left on the margins. Our experience has taught us that an economic and social order that collaborates mutually with creation is necessary for the care and protection of all of life.

40% of local churches around the world are too young, or too poor, to support themselves, that is, thousands of parishes, schools, hospitals, centres of social service and support, and many other organizations within the Church. Columban missionaries, through the generous support of our benefactors, accompany and support these local churches. On this year’s World Mission Sunday we thank all those who continue to support Columban mission. 

“To be on mission,” says Pope Francis, “is to be willing to think as Christ does, to believe with him that those around us are also my brothers and sisters”. Let us pray in the words of Pope Francis: “May Christ’s compassionate love touch our hearts and make us all true missionary disciples”.

Columban Fr Kevin O'Neill is a member of the Peace, Ecology and Justice office at the Columban Mission Center, Essendon.

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