Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India in his message for World Mission Sunday, invites his flock to obey the call of Jesus to go forth from their comfort zone in order to reach the "peripheries" in need of the light of the Gospel.
Recalling Pope Francis’ message for the World Mission Sunday this year Cardinal Gracias said the Pope invites us to understand more than ever that our ‘mission’ constitutes an essential aspect of the ‘Christian faith.’ He affirms that ‘we are sent to our brothers and sisters in order to bear witness to our faith in Christ and to proclaim his Gospel,’ he added.
The Pope’s every year choose Pentecost Sunday to convey their message for the World Mission Sunday. The theme chosen by Pope Francis for this year is ‘Rediscovering Mission at the Heart of Christian Faith’.
World Mission Sunday is celebrated on the penultimate Sunday of October every year. This year it will be celebrated globally on the 22nd October. World Mission Sunday is a day set aside by the Catholic Church throughout the world to remind the faithful of the command of Jesus to go forth and make disciples. It was first started by Pope Pius XI in 1926 as the day of prayer for missions. In October and especially on Mission Sunday Catholics are invited to be specifically conscious of the Church’s missionary (Ad Gentes) through prayer, sacrifice and financial contributions.
Read below the full text of the Cardinal’s message:
We celebrate World Mission Sunday this year on October 22. The theme chosen by the Holy Father is, ‘Rediscovering Mission at the Heart of Christian Faith.’ The Pope invites us to understand more than ever that our ‘mission’ constitutes an essential aspect of the ‘Christian faith.’ He affirms that ‘we are sent to our brothers and sisters in order to bear witness to our faith in Christ and to proclaim his Gospel.’ The Holy Father exhorts us to become a Mission Centred Church. The word of God constantly shows us how God challenges those who believe in him “to go forth”. To Jeremiah God says: “To all whom I send you, you shall go” (Jer 1:7). Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples” echoes in our changing scenario and ever new challenges to the Church’s mission of evangelization, and all of us are called to take part in this missionary “going forth.” Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, and all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach the "peripheries" in need of the light of the Gospel. I congratulate all those who have taken different initiatives for the promotion of Mission Sunday. In the years gone by the Archdiocese of Bombay was known all over the country for its leadership role in the promotion of Mission Sunday. We are called to rekindle that fire once again. Mission Sunday is an opportunity for us to teach our children about the missions, promote love of the missions in our families, and different cells in our parishes co-ordinating their activities with a sense of mission. This is what all the recent Popes have been reminding us, taking a specific relevant theme each year in their Mission Sunday Messages. Promotion material for Mission Sunday has already been sent to our parishes. Do use this material for encouraging our people to keep alive an enthusiasm for the missions. The collection made at all Masses on the weekend of Oct 21-22, expresses our solidarity with the Universal Church and goes to help the needy Churches in their apostolate. I thank you for your generosity.
+Oswald Cardinal Gracias
Archbishop of Bombay