On Sunday October 18, a special announcement will be made in your church: a call for the World Mission Collection. Similar calls will go out in all the catholic churches around the world as the Church marks the World Mission Sunday.
It is a special day on which the universal Church comes together to support the works of evangelization through prayer and charity. The charity expressed in the collections go to the Pontifical Missionary Societies (PMS) which then support churches, hospitals, schools and vocations in countries where the Church is new, young or poor. This is the fund this arm of the Church uses to respond to the material needs of the ever growing church as new dioceses are created, new seminaries are opened, areas devastated by war or natural disaster are rebuilt, and as other areas, long suppressed, are opening up to hear the message of Christ.
The Catholic Church marks the World Mission Sunday on every penultimate (second last) Sunday of October. The day was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1926 as the day of universal solidarity with missions so that Christians the world over would recognize their common responsibility with regard to the evangelization of the world.
This year, the World Mission Sunday, themed, “Here I am Lord Send Me,” to be celebrated on October 18, will be particularly special because it will be celebrated amid the coronavirus pandemic that has affected people the world over.
Unlike other worldwide Catholic collections including the Lenten Holy Land collection and the Peter’s Pence collection that were postponed this year due to suspension of public Masses in many parts of the world, the Vatican confirmed that World Mission Sunday will take place as scheduled, underlining the importance of evangelization and support for the Church’s mission territories amid the pandemic.
In his message for the 2020 World Mission Day, released on Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis said that the suffering caused by the pandemic should spur Catholics to serve God and their neighbour.
“In this context, the call to mission, the invitation to step out of ourselves for love of God and neighbour presents itself as an opportunity for sharing, service and intercessory prayer.”
In this year’s message, the Holy Father encourages Catholics world over that despite the suffering and challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the missionary journey of the Church must continue. Yes, like the disciples in Matthew 8: 23-27, we have been caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm but we must row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. Only together can we do this.
The celebration of World Mission Sunday is an occasion for reaffirming how your prayer and material offering gives you an opportunity to participate actively in the mission of Jesus and his Church. Remember, as a baptised Christian, you have a fundamental missionary charter to support the Church. That is why your involvement and commitment as a catholic is needed.