Sunday, October 16, 2016 was World Mission Sunday. This year marks the 90th anniversary of this day, first approved by Pope Pius XI in 1926. On this day, which holds particular importance during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, join Pope Francis in lifting up this intention: That World Mission Day may renew within all Christian communities the joy of the Gospel and the responsibility to announce it.
The international collection for World Mission Sunday calls the faithful to recommit to the Church’s missionary activity worldwide through prayer and sacrifice. In lieu of a second collection, the STM Stewardship Committee has authorized a donation of $5,000 on behalf of STM parishioners to support this collection.
By Baptism, all Catholics are called to participate in the mission of the Church, to share their faith as missionaries. World Mission Sunday gathers support for the pastoral and evangelizing programs and needs of more than 1,100 mission dioceses in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, and remote regions of Latin America.
The funds gathered on World Mission Sunday are distributed in the pope's name by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, a Pontifical Mission Society. Funds are distributed with criteria based on greatest need.
Pope Francis' Message for World Mission Day 2016, During This Jubilee Year of Mercy:
Missionary Church, Witness of Mercy
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, which the Church is celebrating, casts a distinct light on World Mission Sunday 2016: it invites us to consider the missio ad gentes as a great, immense work of mercy, both spiritual and material. On this World Mission Sunday, all of us are invited to "go out" as missionary disciples, each generously offering their talents, creativity, wisdom and experience in order to bring the message of God’s tenderness and compassion to the entire human family. By virtue of the missionary mandate, the Church cares for those who do not know the Gospel, because she wants everyone to be saved and to experience the Lord’s love... reaching every person, young or old.
When mercy encounters a person, it brings deep joy to the Father’s heart; for from the beginning the Father has lovingly turned towards the most vulnerable, because his greatness and power are revealed precisely in his capacity to identify with the young, the marginalized and the oppressed (cf. Deut 4:31; Ps 86:15; 103:8; 111:4). He is a kind, caring and faithful God who is close to those in need, especially the poor; he involves himself tenderly in human reality just as a father and mother do in the lives of their children (cf. Jer 31:20)... He is merciful towards all; his love is for all people and his compassion extends to all creatures (cf. Ps 144:8-9)...
This merciful love, as in the early days of the Church, is witnessed to by many men and women of every age and condition... in caring for life, with a strong focus on people rather than structures, and by allocating human and spiritual resources towards the building of good relations, harmony, peace, solidarity, dialogue, cooperation and fraternity, both among individuals and in social and cultural life, in particular through care for the poor.
In many places evangelization begins with education, to which missionary work dedicates much time and effort... All peoples and cultures have the right to receive the message of salvation which is God’s gift to every person. This is all the more necessary when we consider how many injustices, wars, and humanitarian crises still need resolution. Missionaries know from experience that the Gospel of forgiveness and mercy can bring joy and reconciliation, justice and peace...
May Holy Mary, sublime icon of redeemed humanity, model of missionaries for the Church, teach all men, women and families, to foster and safeguard the living and mysterious presence of the Risen Lord in every place, he who renews personal relationships, cultures and peoples, and who fills all with joyful mercy.