October is Mission Month
October is Mission Month. This is the time in the Church calendar which focuses on heightening awareness of the life and service of missionaries, to raise funds for their work and to offer prayers and support for young churches throughout the world.
The theme of World Mission Sunday on October 20 is ‘Growing in Faith’ and the Mission Sunday poster this year celebrates the election of Pope Francis. The theme reflects the fact that we are coming to the end of the Year of Faith and have welcomed the first encyclical of Pope Francis published in July 2013 and entitled Light of Faith (Lumen Fidei).
Since its founding in 1926, World Mission Sunday has been entrusted to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, founded by Pauline Marie Jaricot. Through World Missions Ireland, the work of the Pontifical Mission Societies brings the prayers, solidarity and financial help from the Church in Ireland to Christian communities in other parts of the world, especially those in greatest need.
Each Mission Sunday we are asked to put aside – for that day – our support for our favourite missionary group or project so as to show our solidarity with the younger churches throughout the world, especially those with the least resources.
On Mission Sunday we also celebrate the work of over 1,700 Irish born missionaries working in 84 countries today and all missionaries throughout the world. We thank God for them, for all who support them in Ireland and the communities with whom they work.
“I hope that Mission Month 2013 gives us all cause to pause and reflect on what it means to be a Christian,” said Fr Eamon Aylward, SSCC, acting director of World Missions Ireland. “In doing so we will have done a good job in truly celebrating this Mission month of October and paying tribute to the marvellous work that our Irish missionaries continue to do in nurturing the young churches of the South.
A sincere thanks to all who will pray for our missionaries this Mission Sunday and thanks too to those who are able to contribute to the support of these young churches.”
The entire Mission Sunday collection next weekend will be made available to the Universal Solidarity Fund to be distributed to as many as 1,100 young churches.
The Irish Office sent more than €2 million, collected in the 32 counties last year, to help build up the Church in countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Contributions are used to build simple mission churches, to educate seminarians and to assist in the formation of catechists and lay leaders. The Mission Sunday gift will also be used for the building of health clinics for children, emergency aid in times of war or natural disaster and to assist missionaries in their efforts to care for refugees.
Children Helping Children
Last Friday, 600 students from eight schools around the country celebrated the Missionary Childrenís ëNational Day of Prayer for Childrení in the church of Mary Immaculate of Sinners in Rathmines, Dublin. The students from both primary and secondary level celebrated a liturgy that included prayers, readings, song and drama, and ended with a launch of prayer balloons.
Special guest at the ceremony was the new General Secretary of the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood (PSMC) Dr Jeanne Baptistine Ralamboarison, who took a prayer balloon and a group pictured of the students back to Rome as a gift for Pope Francis.
"When I go back to Rome I will let them know that children in Ireland know how to pray," she told The Irish Catholic. "I think children can do more than adults to help children in poverty. Just let them speak and adults will listen to them more. They have no preconceived ideas – they say what they feel, they are spontaneous and you know they speak the truth. That is their strength – together they can make a difference."