Mission Sunday 19th October 2014
This Sunday we celebrate the international day that remembers the missionary effort of the Church throughout the world. Today we celebrate Mission Sunday. Here in Ireland for many centuries there have been many great Irishmen and women who have gone to foreign lands to bring the faith of our fathers to those who might not have got the faith otherwise. This Sunday celebrates the great missionary spirit that has brought the faith to all corners of the world over so many years.
The Pontifical Mission Societies (The Society for the Propagation of the Faith) have chosen this year to focus on the words from St. Matthew’s Gospel, “I Will Build My Church” (Matthew 16:18) by highlighting the outreach of local churches through priests, religious, and laity among the poor and marginalized.
Today we remember all those who have gone into the mission fields members of the religious orders such as the Columbans, Mill Hill Fathers, St. Patricks Fathers the Medical Missionaries of Mary and all the other religious orders with the Lay Missionary movements who have brought Christ and his message to the far flung corners of the world.
We too are called to be missionary people bringing the Joy of the Gospel to those around us and this is not always easy. We have in our parish a welcome group which lets mew people coming into the parish who we are and where we are and this is a particular and much needed missionary activity in our modern church on 2014. We see missionary action taking place in the world through lay led organizations such as the Apostolic Work and the Viatores Christi movements these are just 2 of the many lay missionary movements that I can think of.
We must pray to the Lord of the harvest for the strength to persevere in our missionary activities whether they are led by Lay people or Religious here at home or abroad. In a special and particular way, we commend the priests, brothers and sisters who are often engaged in extremely difficult missions all over the world to the prayers of everyone. May they find the strength to carry on in spite of the odds being stacked against them in so many places. Mission Sunday gives all of us a chance to reflect on the Mission of the Church locally and throughout the world and it is my hope that as missionaries lay and religious we will be able to bring the Joy of the Gospel into the hearts and minds of the people who live in the places where we live.