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Today the entire Church celebrates World Mission Day, an event created by Pope Pius XI in 1926.  Since that time, now nearly 100 years ago, the Pope composes a message for the reflective meditation by Catholics worldwide.  It is intended to deepen the missionary consciousness and commitment of all the faithful.  The title of this year’s message is: “You shall be my Witnesses,” (Acts 1:8).

Pope Francis begins by noting that the celebration of World Mission Day is to remind us that “the Church is missionary by nature” and that “the call of every Christian [is] to bear witness to Christ.”  Just as Christ was the first “missionary” of the Father, “every Christian is called to be a missionary and witness to Christ.”  Indeed, “to evangelize is the very identity of the Church.”

A Deeper Look.  If we pay focused attention to Christ’s call, we will appreciate many aspects of “the mission Christ entrusted to the disciples.”  All disciples “are urged to live their personal lives in a missionary key; they are sent by Jesus to the world not only to carry out, but also above all to live the mission entrusted to them; not only to bear witness, but also and above all to be witnesses of Christ.”

“The essence of mission is to bear witness to Christ, that is, to his life, passion, death and resurrection” and to his “love of the Father and of humanity.”  “Missionaries of Christ are not sent to communicate themselves….  Instead, theirs is the supreme honor of presenting Christ in words and deeds, proclaiming to everyone the Good News of his salvation, as the first apostles did, with joy and boldness.”

Further Insight.  Pope Francis goes on to say that “when it comes to Christian witness, the observation of Saint Paul VI remains ever valid.”  Paul VI noted: “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he listens to teachers, it is because they are witnesses” (Evangelii Nuntiandi 41).  It is noteworthy that Saint John Paul II quoted this same insight it his mission encyclical (Redemptoris Missio 42).

Pope Francis goes on to assert that “the testimony of an authentic Christian life is fundamental for the transmission of the faith.”  Yet, the proclamation of Christ’s person and message is equally necessary.  In short, this means that for evangelization

“the example of a Christian life and the proclamation of Christ are inseparable.  One is at the service of the other.  They are the two lungs with which any community must breathe, if it is to be missionary.”

Personal Invitation.  Pope Francis requests each of us to become a “consistent and joyful witness of Christ” and a “force of attraction for the growth of the Church.”  “I exhort everyone to take up once again the courage, frankness, and parrhesia [boldness] of the first Christians, in order to bear witness to Christ in word and deed, in every area of life.”

James H. Kroeger, M.M.

 

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Send me your Holy Spirit, O Lord,

that it may in turn send me

out into the world to witness to your love,

your mercy, your justice, and your truth.

Give me your grace, my God,

to love as you love, to be merciful

as you are merciful, to be just

as you are just and to live the truth

that you alone are God, all loving,

all merciful, and all just.

Send me out each day from my room,

my home, my comfort zone

to a world that longs for true peace.

Give me wisdom to proclaim

your good news no less through silence

than through words,

through deeds no less than

through holy patience waiting

for the right time to act.

Above all help me to live your Gospel

in everything I do or say and

find your presence in everyone I meet.

For you alone are the creator of all,

the savior of all humankind and

the redeemer in whose divine image

everyone on earth is made.

Amen.

By Fr. Joseph Veneroso. M.M.

   

   

ABOUT MARYKNOLL

We are a Catholic Society of priests and brothers based in the United States. We are dedicated to missionary work overseas in over 20 countries. Additionally, we animate Catholics in the United States to follow their own baptismal call to share God’s compassion and love with the poor, the sick, and all those in need.

OUR GENERAL COUNCIL

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Fr. Lance P. Nadeau, Fr. James M. Lynch, Fr. Timothy O. Kilkelly)

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers is overseen by our General Council, led by Superior General Rev. Lance P. Nadeau, M.M.

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OUR FOUNDERS

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Our Co-Founders Father Price and Father Walsh)

PLACES WE SERVE

EVANGELIZATION, PARISHES, AND PROJECTS

USA

STORIES OF MISSION

(Africa) Education and Formation of African Clergy

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Africa Region will provide tuition assistance to African clergy, male and female religious at institutes of higher education or specialized training. Read More

Stories of Our Global Mission

The calling of a lifetime
The life of a Maryknoll missioner is challenging, fulfilling, and deeply rewarding. Follow your baptismal call to mission by sharing God’s compassion with the poor, the sick, and people most in need.