October 19, 2008 is World Mission Sunday. “Mission Sunday is about supporting Young Churches and missionaries in meeting the spiritual and material needs of their communities. Mission Sunday is one day of the year which is set aside for Catholics worldwide to recommit themselves to the Church’s missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice and a financial gift.”
“A collection takes place in every single Church throughout the world, including the poorest, and these donations are used to assist missionaries and to fund a range of pastoral projects in Young Churches. The Pontifical Mission Societies organise the Mission Sunday collection on behalf of the Pope and the Irish Bishops. In 2008, the Mission Sunday celebration and collection will take place on October 19th.”
In his message for this year’s World Mission Sunday celebration, Pope Benedict XVI says “On the occasion of the World Mission Day, I would like to invite you to reflect on the continuing urgency to proclaim the Gospel also in our times. The missionary mandate continues to be an absolute priority for all baptized persons who are called to be “servants and apostles of Christ Jesus” at the beginning of this millennium.”
“It is therefore an urgent duty for everyone to proclaim Christ and his saving message. St Paul said, “Woe to me if I do not preach it [the Gospel]!” (1 Cor 9: 16). On the way to Damascus he had experienced and understood that the redemption and the mission are the work of God and his love. Love of Christ led him to travel over the roads of the Roman Empire as a herald, an apostle, a preacher and a teacher of the Gospel of which he declared himself to be an “ambassador in chains” (Eph 6: 20). Divine charity made him “all things to all, to save at least some” (1 Cor 9: 22). By looking at St Paul’s experience, we understand that missionary activity is a response to the love with which God loves us. His love redeems us and prods us to the missio ad gentes. It is the spiritual energy that can make the harmony, justice and communion grow among persons, races and peoples to which everyone aspires (cf. “Deus Caritas Est”, n. 12). So it is God, who is Love, who leads the Church towards the frontiers of humanity and calls the evangelizers to drink “from the original source, which is Jesus Christ, from whose pierced heart flows the love of God” (”Deus Caritas Est”, n. 7). Only from this source can care, tenderness, compassion, hospitality, availability and interest in people’s problems be drawn, as well as the other virtues necessary for the messengers of the Gospel to leave everything and dedicate themselves completely and unconditionally to spreading the perfume of Christ’s charity around the world.”, he said.