World Mission Sunday 23rd October 2022
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 October and is coordinated in Ireland by Missio Ireland.
All offerings made on behalf of World Mission Sunday become part of the Holy Father’s Universal Solidarity Fund. This Fund supports missionary activities in over 1,100 young dioceses, mostly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. As young dioceses grow, so do their needs. On top of this, they are often found in remote areas devastated by conflict or natural disasters. The Universal Solidarity Fund provides aid so that missionaries can continue to go to these places to share the love of God.
Every year to enhance World Mission Sunday celebrations, Missio Ireland prepare the Mission Month Pack. These resources are designed to help individuals, parishes and communities celebrate not just World Mission Sunday, but the entire month of October.
Feel free to use and share these resources with your wider community in any way you wish – in person, from the pulpit, on your website, or over social media!
To Access the Resources www.missio.ie/mission-month/
To Donate to Missio Ireland www.missio.ie/donate/
DEACON MARTIN REFLECTS ON MISSION AWARENESS – October 2022
Do you believe that you are My witnesses?
When Jesus went to ‘be there’ with his friends Martha and Mary on the occasion of the death of their brother Lazarus, just before He raised him from the dead, He asked Martha a significant question. Jesus said,
“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die, do you believe this?”
We notice how Martha responds to Jesus, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world”
Do you believe? is a question each person who has ever encountered Jesus has to answer and testify to in life.
At Caesarea Philippi Jesus asked ‘Who do you say I am?’
Peter answered you are the Messiah. When Jesus returned to the Upper room and stood before Thomas and said, ‘Give me your hand.’
Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and My God.’. Jesus found Thomas in his unbelief. All these expressions of faith inspire us to reflect on our daily interaction with God
Our genuine encounter with Jesus evokes within us an organic faith, emerging from grace and openness to use the gifts we have been given. Faith is something that we feel in our own hearts. Often our belief comes from the witness of others rather than memorising lists of rules and morality codes.
In the Old Testament, we can recall God’s faithfulness to His covenant to the Chosen People, ‘You will be my people and I will be Your God.’
We see how often the people strayed yet the mercy of God brought goodness and life out of the bad situations. We too notice our hearts move with gratitude and awe when Jesus restores our hope. We see and believe in God’s amazing goodness and abundant love for us.
In parish, when the Baptism Team meets Parents and Godparents for Baptism Preparation, we emphasise the importance of being a witness and encourage them to ponder what it means to be a witness for a new Christian. We suggest that they look at their own witness to Christ and his Gospel. It is then the role of the witness is to share all that they have seen, heard, and experienced through God’s grace and gifts. God does the changing of hearts. All who know Him are to proclaim Him, not just a talented or chosen few. We live out our faith in everyday actions.
Luke records in Acts 1-8 that Jesus tells his disciples: ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’
This powerful message of mission and sending to the disciples to is leave their comfort zones to go beyond the Jewish world to the Gentiles to proclaim the Good News far and wide is still paramount today.
When we receive the Holy Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation that is our calling too. We too are called to be witnesses to the Truth everywhere we go.
Do you believe this? is a question Jesus continues to ask us. Our belief is never perfect. We need to continue to renew our belief in God’s goodness. This is why each Sunday, Christians profess their faith publicly in the form of the creed, not because they lost their faith in the past week but because there is profit in reflectively answering Jesus’ question over and over again.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola understood that repetition often bore fruit. He knew that the spiritual life required daily recommitment, and most importantly, that our answer to Christ’s question required continuous encounters with Jesus in prayer and the sacraments. Our beliefs can be the most real things in our lives because they have the power to transform our lives.
When Jesus told Martha that He was the resurrection and the life and asked her if she believed this. And then He gave her the space for a free response. Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises illustrates how precious the gift of freedom Jesus came to set us free. From what? The kind of freedom Ignatian spirituality preaches is freedom from the attachments, fears, and blockades that inhibit our spiritual growth. The paradox of Christian freedom is that when we take risks and make choices, we don’t restrict our freedom; we increase it. God calls us all to have freedom. Jesus’ question ‘Who do you say I am?’ and our response has the power to deepen our faith, lead us to more questions, and to a greater trust in a God who always remains faithful and abundant in love.
In this season of Mission awareness, we pray for the grace to reach out to others through prayer, donations and giving witness, so let us ask ourselves
Do we believe?
What do we believe?
Do we pray and attend church out of a deep conviction of belief?
Do we acknowledge the presence of God in our daily lives?
Do we see God in all things and in all people?
How can I fulfil the mission and call of Baptism?
What can we do this October to make a difference?
Let us pray that all of us, might be moved by the Holy Spirit and inspired to give our lives over to Christ and set about doing the Church’s mission in bold and courageous ways.
Rev Deacon Martin Donnelly
St Michaels Parish, Enniskillen
Diocese of Clogher.