Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In his message for World Mission Sunday, Oct. 18, Pope Francis stated, “Like the disciples, we were caught off guard by an unexpected and turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together. … On this boat … are all of us” (Vatican, May 31, 2020).
This year, despite the challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, the missionary journey of the whole Church continues as in the account of the calling of the prophet Isaiah: “Here am I, send me” (Isaiah 6:8). This call to mission, this invitation to come follow, to see and to learn is one heard again and again in the Gospels. Jesus directs this invitation to everyone, but most especially to those who are seeking him and wanting to become his disciples.
With this invitation, we are then asked to step outside of ourselves as we are sent to tell, to teach and to lead as we encounter opportunities for sharing, service and prayer with the people of the world. Christ’s call to us is not something that just “happens.” It is a real and intentional decision and turning point for each of us, requiring a whole investment of the heart, mind and soul in answering, “Here am I, send me.”
World Mission Sunday is set aside for Catholics worldwide to celebrate their individual and communal call to mission, solidarity, unity and evangelization. Mission is so central to the Gospel, and the needs are so urgent throughout the world, that I encourage you to embrace this responsibility wholeheartedly. Every parish, every home, every workplace must be a place of mission awareness, prayer and sacrifice.
Through this World Mission Sunday celebration, our Mission Office/Society for the Propagation of the Faith connects with the loving work of great missionaries of every time and every place. It shares directly in the work of the Holy See — not with one mission but with all missions of the world.
Thousands of priests, religious and laity who serve in various ways in more than 1,100 mission dioceses throughout the world depend on annual subsidies from the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and on the prayers of all of us. These mission churches provide a spiritual home for those most in need, offering them the Lord’s peace and hope.
In order to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, please join me in helping to make World Mission Sunday a resounding success. On behalf of all those who will benefit from your generous gifts, I thank you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Bishop Donald J. Kettler