‘Mission is central to the gospel’

by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The church’s annual celebration of World Mission Sunday takes on a special significance this year because it occurs during the opening weeks of the Year of Faith and our archdiocesan Faith Initiative: “Faith: Love It, Learn It, Live It.” These three moments are inherently related because they are all about faith: loving our faith, knowing our faith, and living and sharing our faith, so that we can bring it to bear fruit in our families, our parishes, our communities and in our world, especially to the places where Christ has yet to be proclaimed or where faith in him has become indifferent and grown cold.

World Mission Sunday will be celebrated in every nation and every diocese on earth, including our Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, on Sunday Oct. 21. It is most fitting that the celebration occurs within the context of the Sunday liturgy, because it is our very participation in the Mass that nourishes us, strengthens us and sends us out on mission to witness to Christ. For it is through the church’s proclamation of the word of God and our reception of the body and blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that we are fortified to live as missionary disciples and take up the work to which Christ calls us.

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in his message for World Mission Sunday 2012, has reminded us that only Christ can truly fulfill the hopes of all humanity because he alone can “heal, purify and fill all people with his presence.” If others are to come to know Christ deeply, we must make “the unfathomable riches of Christ known” by bold and yet humble witness to the difference he makes in our lives.

Our profound communion with Christ through our life in the church should result in a deepening of faith that is transformed into love. The Pontifical Mission Societies support the missionary evangelization efforts that take place in more than 1,150 dioceses and territories throughout the world. Through their efforts, the love of Christ touches the hearts of countless people in every corner of the world. I commend the Pontifical Mission Societies to your prayers and ask you to be generous in your support for their missionary outreach.

By participating in the missionary work of the church, especially in this Year of Faith, my prayer is that each of us will grow in our ability to proclaim Christ by the way we live our lives. Thank you for your concern and support for the missions.

Sincerely yours in Jesus, the Lord of Life,

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

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