On October 21, the Church around the world commemorated World Mission Sunday under the theme: “Together with young people, let us bring the Gospel to all.”
The Catholic Church in Malawi held the commemoration in one of the 24 parishes of the Diocese of Mangochi, Mpiri (St. Louis Parish).
In his message, His Lordship Montfort Stima, Bishop of the Diocese of Mangochi, said that Jesus Christ commissions every Christian to go forth and proclaim the Good News to the ends of the world. It is therefore imperative that on Mission Sunday and in the whole month of October, Catholics reflect on their Christian values and consider strongly of the mandate by Our Lord to share the treasure of baptismal values.
In a letter to all Catholics and read audibly by Fr. John Matiki, Pope Francis expressed his hope in the possibility of successful mission if the youths are involved. Part of the letter reads:
“I am grateful to all those ecclesial groups that make it possible for you to have a personal encounter with Christ living in his Church….How many young people find in missionary volunteer work a way of serving the “least” of our brothers and sisters (cf. Mt 25:40), promoting human dignity and witnessing to the joy of love and of being Christians! …..The Pontifical Mission Societies were born of young hearts as a means of supporting the preaching of the Gospel to every nation and thus contributing to the human and cultural growth of all those who thirst for knowledge of the truth. The prayers and the material aid generously given and distributed through the Pontifical Mission Societies enable the Holy See to ensure that those who are helped in their personal needs can in turn bear witness to the Gospel in the circumstances of their daily lives. No one is so poor as to be unable to give what they have, but first and foremost what they are.…” Pope Francis
Cementing on the 2018 theme for Mission Sunday and the Pope’s message to all, the National Director for Pontifical Missions Societies (PMS) of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), Fr. Vincent Mwakhwawa said that the objectives of the celebration of Mission Sunday include teaching and giving missionary formation to the faithful; to share information about the needs of the Church worldwide and to promote missionary vocation in the Church. “World Mission Sunday is a special Sunday on which Catholics in the world pray and contribute money for the missionary work of the church of preaching the gospel. The Church therefore, celebrates this missionary spirit in its Christians and prays for the growth of this spirit so that the gospel should be preached to the whole world.”
Fr. Mwakhwawa also emphasized that, fundraising activities for World Mission Sunday are encouraged in the (missionary) spirit of sharing our material and spiritual gifts with others who need the message of salvation, preached by the Catholic Church. When World Mission Sunday is celebrated, all collections are remitted to the Holy Father in Vatican in the World Mission Solidarity fund of the Society for the Propagation of Faith.
World Mission Sunday was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1926 and first commemorated in 1927. As Blessed John Paul II explained in 2001, Pope Pius “accepted a request by the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith to ‘establish a day of prayer and propaganda for the missions’ to be celebrated on the same day in every diocese, parish and institute of the Catholic world … and to encourage offerings for the missions.”
Mission Sunday 2018 has been commemorated at the time when the Synod of bishops on the youth is in session in Rome.