Since 1926, the Church has traditionally remembered its universal mission during the month of October. This year Mission Sunday will be celebrated globally on 18 October.
Bishops have welcomed the message of Pope Francis for Mission Sunday, and for his invitation to reread and reflect on the contents of Ad Gentes, the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity which was promulgated by Blessed Pope Paul VI fifty years ago in December. Bishops also noted that the late Bishop Donal Lamont, a native of Antrim, played a significant role in the drafting of Ad Gentes.
In his message for Mission Sunday Pope Francis says that: “Mission is a passion for Jesus and at the same time a passion for his people. When we pray before Jesus crucified, we see the depth of his love which gives us dignity and sustains us. At the same time, we realize that the love flowing from Jesus’ pierced heart expands to embrace the People of God and all humanity. We realize once more that he wants to make use of us to draw closer to his beloved people (cf. ibid., 268) and all those who seek him with a sincere heart. In Jesus’ command to “go forth”, we see the scenarios and ever-present new challenges of the Church’s evangelizing mission. All her members are called to proclaim the Gospel by their witness of life. In a particular way, consecrated men and women are asked to listen to the voice of the Spirit who calls them to go to the peripheries, to those to whom the Gospel has not yet been proclaimed.”