MISSION SUNDAY 2013
Speaking of Mission Sunday
You may wonder what Catholic Mission is all about. What has it got to do with us living in quiet little Corowa, in Australia? Does it really concern me? Read on and ask yourself, “How deep is my faith?”
Remember that Jesus has given us all the command: “Go out and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” When the Church celebrates Mission Sunday, it is responding to Jesus’ call. It is inviting all Catholic believers to participate in the work of evangelization. In parishes this is done by having a special collection at Mass. “Catholic Mission” is itself the special agency within the Church that operates in more than 160 countries supporting initiatives in 1,100 dioceses, including remote Australia.
The monies collected are applied directly to churches/dioceses in need, or churches that are in their infancy. The funds enable missionaries to help children and communities in need and to provide training for catechists, seminarians and other young church leaders.(Cf. Kairos, 13 Oct 2013, p.8).
Catholic Church in Mongolia
This year, for the Australian Mission Sunday appeal, the diocese of Mongolia is being highlighted. The church there is very young, having been established just 21 years ago, after the fall of communism.
Bishop Wenceslao Padilla
The church is led by Filipino bishop Wenceslao Padilla. He belongs to the CICM (Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) Fathers, an Italian missionary order.
Bishop Wens (as he is called) says that when he first arrived in Mongolia with two fellow CICM missionaries, the land had no knowledge of Christianity. The population of 3 million was made up mostly of nomadic herders and alcoholism and domestic abuse was a big problem among them. At that time there were minimal government social services and extreme poverty.
Today, throughout the vast and remote country there are six Catholic churches. As yet, there are no locally born priests or Religious Sisters. It means that the lay catechists are playing a strong role in establishing, spreading and maintaining the faith. Because they are locals, they are also very capable in finding ways to combine, or inculturate, Catholicism and Mongolian culture.
Catholic Mission supports the training, resources and work of the catechists and seminarians (of whom there are now two studying in Korea), plus many community development projects for those living in poverty.
Because of the poverty of the country, and because the Catholic Church there is entirely dependent on external support, it is important for us to help. The national director of Catholic Mission in Australia, Martin Teulan, says: “I think Catholics all around Australia will be truly inspired by the story of Bishop Wens and the incredible impact Mongolia’s Catholic Church is having in transforming the lives of many people in Mongolia – people who have never before heard about Jesus.” (Cf. Kairos, p.8)
To view an e-Newsletter from the Catholic Church in Mongolia, click on this link: http://www.catholicchurch-mongolia.mn/?p=2048
POPE FRANCIS’ MESSAGE
Writing his first message for Mission Sunday, Pope Francis says that in a world that often seems dark and full of suffering and violence, Christians can offer hope by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He wrote that the Gospel is “a proclamation of God’s closeness, his mercy, salvation and a proclamation that the power of God’s love is able to overcome the darkness of evil and guide us on the path of goodness.”
He writes: “Everyone should be able to experience the joy of being loved by God, the joy of salvation. It is a gift that one cannot keep to oneself, but it is to be shared. If we want to keep it only to ourselves, we will become isolated, sterile and sick Christians.” He also says that the strength on one’s faith “can be measured by the ability to communicate it to others, to spread and live it in charity, to witness to it before those we meet and those who share the path of life with us.”
We are not to be proselytisers, rather that we give “testimony of a life that illuminates the path, which brings hope and love.” Pope Francis’ full message for Mission Sunday can be found on the Vatican Website. Click here: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/messages/missions/documents/papa-francesco_20130519_giornata-missionaria2013_en.html