By Vatican News staff writer
Traditionally celebrated on the penultimate Sunday of October, World Mission Day is slated this year for 18 October.
The annual day is set aside to encourage prayers, cooperation and help for missions, as well as remind Christians of the fundamental missionary character of the Church and of every baptized person.
Mission to others
Ahead of this year’s celebrations, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Mission Societies for the Propagation of the Faith (PMS) organized a press conference held on Friday at the Holy See Press Office.
“Today we present the Holy Father Pope Francis’s Message for World Mission Day on Sunday, 18 October 2020 entitled, 'Here I am, send me,'" said Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
“The heart of this message refers to how the mission challenges each one of us, personally, in our vocation and in our belonging to the Church in today’s world,” he added.
Archbishop Rugambwa explained that the celebration is a source of joy for the Church in spite of the challenges caused by the ongoing health crisis which has made us realize that we are all “in the same boat, all fragile and disoriented”..
Therefore, as baptized Christians, we are to respond to God’s call to go and transform all areas of life and society by our witness to the Gospel.
Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, the Adjunct Secretary for the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and the President of the PMS, spoke about a Special Emergency Fund set up by Pope Francis in April 2020 in order for the PMS to help communities affected by Covid-19.
He said the fund supports the missionary action of the Church, and encouraged Churches throughout the world to collaborate in this universal fund where “all contribute to the good of all.”
Stressing that there is still a lot to be done, Archbishop Dal Toso appreciated the generous donations from Churches in different countries and highlighted some other concrete examples of need in various places.
Vital lifeline for missionary Churches
Fr. Tadeusz J. Nowak, O.M.I., General Secretary of the PMS, said the Pontifical Mission Society provides vital support to particular Churches in Asia, Oceania, Africa, and parts of South and Latin America.
This support, he explained, goes towards formation programs for catechists, priests and religious and it also helps with material aid for their work of evangelization in local churches.
Venerable Pauline Marie Jaricot
Fr. Nowak pointed out that the celebrations this year are special for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith because, in May, Pope Francis approved a miracle through the intercession of its foundress, Venerable Pauline Marie Jaricot.
The miracle, he explained, involved a little girl who experienced acute suffocation which resulted in her losing consciousness and having to be kept alive by artificial life support. After a novena of prayers through Pauline’s intercession, the girl was revived and restored to health.
He recounted that Venerable Pauline, a Frenchwoman born in Lyon, dedicated her life to prayer, helping the poor and the Church’s mission. On 2 May, 1822, she founded the Society for the propagation of Faith, and four years later, the Association of the Living Rosary.
A century later, on 3 May, 1922, the Society was proclaimed Pontifical by Pope Pius XI and she was proclaimed venerable by Pope St. John XXIII in 1962.
Today, said Fr. Nowak, Venerable Pauline Jaricot is “an inspiration for us all, especially for the laity.” She is a “wonderful example of engaging fully the grace of Baptism for the work of the Kingdom of God and for the mission of the Church.”