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Pope Francis, Archbishop Naumann on World Mission Sunday

HERE I AM, SEND ME . . . TO THE PACIFIC ISLANDS . . . where 3,500 religious bring the Lord’s mercy and peace to those in need.

Message of Pope Francis for World Mission Sunday 2020
“Here I am, send me” (Is 6:8)

Five spiritual dimensions from the message of Pope Francis for the celebration of World Mission Sunday 2020

Missionary journey of the church continues, despite crisis

“In this year marked by the suffering and challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the missionary journey of the whole Church continues in light of the words found in the account of the calling of the prophet Isaiah: ‘Here I am, send me’ (6:8). This is the ever- new response to the Lord’s question: ‘Whom shall I send?’ (ibid.). This invitation from God’s merciful heart challenges both the church and humanity as a whole in the current world crisis. . . . The call to mission, the invitation to step out of ourselves for love of God and neighbor, presents itself as an opportunity for sharing, service and intercessory prayer. The mission that God entrusts to each one of us leads us from fear and introspection to a renewed realization that we find ourselves precisely when we give ourselves to others.”

HERE I AM, SEND ME . . . TO ASIA . . . where six million children receive an education from religious Sisters in more than 15,000 church-run elementary schools.

Jesus sends us because he is sent by God — God’s missionary

“[God] asks us to be personally willing to be sent, because he himself is love, love that is always ‘on mission,’ always reaching out in order to give life. Out of his love for us, God the Father sent his son Jesus (cf. Jn 3:16). Jesus is the Father’s missionary: His life and ministry reveal his total obedience to the Father’s will (cf. Jn 4:34, 6:38, 8:12-30; Heb 10:5-10). Jesus, crucified and risen for us, draws us in turn into his mission of love and, with his Spirit which enlivens the church, he makes us his disciples and sends us on a mission to the world and to its peoples.”

Pope Francis offers five spiritual dimensions for the celebration of World Mission Sunday 2020.

Our personal response to God’s call, ‘Whom shall I send?’

“Mission is a free and conscious response to God’s call. Yet we discern this call only when we have a personal relationship of love with Jesus present in his church. Let us ask ourselves: Are we prepared to welcome the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to listen to the call to mission, whether in our lives as married couples or as consecrated persons or those called to the ordained ministry, and in all the everyday events of life?”

HERE I AM, SEND ME . . . TO LATIN AMERICA . . . where catechists travel to remote areas to bring the good news of God’s great love to families.

Hearing God’s call during this time of pandemic

“Understanding what God is saying to us at this time of pandemic also represents a challenge for the church’s mission. Illness, suffering, fear and isolation challenge us. . . . This situation should make us even more attentive to our way of relating to others. . . . The impossibility of gathering as a church to celebrate the Eucharist has led us to share the experience of the many Christian communities that cannot celebrate Mass every Sunday. In all of this, God’s question — ‘Whom shall I send?’ — is addressed once more to us and awaits a generous and convincing response: ‘Here I am, send me’ (Is 6:8).”

HERE I AM, SEND ME . . . TO AFRICA . . . where those who are sick are provided loving care at 6,500 Catholic hospitals and small clinics, and where 19,000 young men are preparing to be priests, to uplift the poor, celebrate the sacraments, reach out to children and families, and comfort the sick and dying.

Sending ourselves to mission through prayer and charity

“The celebration of World Mission Sunday is also an occasion for reaffirming how prayer, reflection and the material help of your offerings are so many opportunities to participate actively in the mission of Jesus in his church. The charity expressed in the collections that take place during the liturgical celebrations of the third Sunday of October (Oct. 18, 2020) is aimed at supporting the missionary work carried out in my name by the Pontifical Mission Societies, in order to meet the spiritual and material needs of peoples and churches throughout the world, for the salvation of all.”

Read the Holy Father’s complete message at: w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en.html and then click on “Messages.”

HERE I AM, SEND ME . . . TO EUROPE . . . where new churches are being built to welcome faith communities, renewed after years of persecution.

Help the church continue its missionary journey

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We celebrate World Mission Sunday on Oct. 18 this year. This annual, worldwide eucharistic celebration emphasizes our shared baptismal call to mission.

Pope Francis, in his message for World Mission Sunday 2020, implores us: “In this year marked by the suffering and challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the missionary journey of the whole church continues in light of the words found in the account of the calling of the prophet Isaiah: “Here I am, send me” (6:8). This is the ever-new response to the Lord’s question: ‘Whom shall I send?’  This invitation from God’s merciful heart challenges both the church and humanity in the current world crisis.”

During the Mission Month of October, Pope Francis reminds us that, as baptized Christians, we are called personally to mission — especially at this time — to bring Christ’s love to those most forgotten around the world. Jesus is God the Father’s own missionary; he asks us to respond to this call to mission, this invitation to “step out of ourselves for love of God and neighbor.”

What will your answer be? “Here I am, send me” is the response we will all endeavor to live out this World Mission Sunday, through prayer, participation in the Eucharist and generosity to the collection for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

Through the pope’s own missionary society, you too can be sent out to all the ends of the earth — sent through your support of missionaries and those they serve. Your gifts sustain priests, religious and lay pastoral leaders in more than 1,100 mission dioceses in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and parts of Latin America and Europe as they proclaim the Gospel, build the church and serve the poor. With them, you answer, “Here I am, send me.”

This year, in response to the challenges to the mission church from the pandemic, I invite all of us in this archdiocese to respond in the most generous way you are able. As you do, I offer my sincere personal gratitude for your kind missionary heart, reaching out in love throughout Mission Month.

Sincerely yours in Christ, the Lord of Life,
+ Joseph F. Naumann
Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas

About the author

The Leaven

The Leaven is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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