World Mission Sunday is the Holy Father’s annual appeal for spiritual and financial support so that the life-giving work of overseas mission and missionaries can continue. It always falls on the second last Sunday in October, meaning this year it will be celebrated over the weekend of Sunday 23rd
World Mission Sunday collections take place in every single parish where the Church is present. This includes not only Ireland and Europe, but also in poorer parishes in developing countries. It is a moment of universal solidarity when each member of the Church family, regardless of location or background, play their part in supporting each other. This is what makes it such a special celebration.
What is Actually Supported? The needs of overseas dioceses vary greatly. Anything from a motorbike so a priest can celebrate Mass in a remote village, to a community hall to allow people to gather and celebrate in safety. Or more urgently, vaccinations and medicines to protect the vulnerable.
In essence, World Mission Sunday:
· Provides Church centred infrastructure by helping communities build schools, clinics, parish halls, and churches
· Prepares the future leaders and carers of the Church by supporting the training of sisters, priests, religious brothers and catechists
· Supports missionary programmes that protect and care for children’s wellbeing by offering safe shelter, healthcare, education, and hope for the future
In Ireland, Missio Ireland is responsible for coordinating World Mission Sunday. We are part of a global network serving the Church in over 120 countries.
- We seek to help the faithful to understand and respond to the call of mission. We respect all cultures and traditions by treating everyone as brothers and sisters under one loving God. Because of your kindness, we can support overseas missionaries, serving in some of the most impoverished areas of the world, through their challenges, struggles and hardships.
Right now, missionaries desperately need your help. In many poorer parishes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America missionaries are serving on the front line. They already do so much, walking hand-in-hand with marginalised communities, long before and after any emergency. You can show missionaries you care by supporting World Mission Sunday. Your prayers and generosity will change lives.
You shall be my witnesses – Message of Pope Francis
In his World Mission Sunday message for 2022 Pope Francis highlights the personal call of each of us to be witnesses to Christ. “You shall be my witnesses“, the Holy Father recalls the bond between every missionary andChrist himself, “the first to be sent, as a missionary of the Father”, “His faithful witness”, and remembers that the Church’s sole mission is to bear witness to Christ.
Pope Francis speaks of the community-ecclesial dimension of the missionary call, and expresses the fact that no missionary acts alone and on his behalf, but in every circumstance, “performs an act of the Church,” as Pope Francis says citing St. Paul VI.
Again, Pope Francis underlines that the “disciples are sent by Jesus to the world “not only to carry out the mission, but also and above all to live the mission entrusted to them; not only to bear witness, but also and above all to be witnesses of Christ.” In this sense, Francis emphasizes the importance of coherence of life, because – citing Paul VI again – “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” Yet, he also reiterates the centrality of the explicit announcement: “In evangelization, then, the example of a Christian life and the proclamation of Christ are inseparable. One is at the service of the other. They are the two lungs with which any community must breathe, if it is to be missionary.”
Looking at today’s social reality, the Pope also notes that more and more often, due to migration, the presence of the faithful of various nationalities enriches the face of parishes and makes them more universal, more Catholic; and consequently, he indicates that the pastoral care of migrants is a missionary activity not to be neglected.
And again, he points out how the ends of the earth are not only the geographical ones, but always include the new geographical, social, existential horizons, towards the places and human situations of the border, where witness is made to the love of Christ towards men and women of all peoples, cultures, social states.
Finally, in the last part of the message, the Pontiff highlights where the missionary can draw energy, strength and stimuli. It is the part dedicated to the passage “You will receive the strength from the Holy Spirit”. Indeed, He is always the protagonist of the mission, He who was able to give “strength, courage and wisdom” to the first disciples, who “had previously been weak, fearful and closed.” Hence the reference of Francis to cultivate the life of prayer, which, he emphasizes, – has a fundamental role in missionary life.