Two weeks from now on the 23rd October we will be celebrating Mission Sunday. Mission Sunday reminds us each year of our missionaries working in the countries of Africa and Asia and across the world caring for the poor and the marginalised. They need our prayers and support. We think especially of those who work with the victims of war, poverty and hunger.
Pope Francis continually emphasises how mission is central to the role of the Church. The pope has constantly spoken of the major contribution that the various missionary societies of men, women and lay people have made to the ongoing task of bringing the good news of salvation to the world. We in Ireland can take special pride in what Irish Missionaries have achieved. In the Diocese of Ossory, in the parish of Rosbercon we rejoice in what our own priests, brothers, sisters and lay personnel have given. We think too of the prayers, support and finances that our people have offered over the past 100 years in missionary engagement.
Pope Francis is again reminding us this year that that the mission of Christ is ongoing, embracing all peoples of every creed and religious denomination. Since Vatican II the Church’s mission to the world has become more inclusive. Pope John XXIII and the Popes who came after him, emphasise that mission is to the world. The Church in modern times sees itself as working to bring about the Kingdom of God especially in areas where there is widespread abuse of human rights and where the growth of capitalism and industrialization have marginalized the native peoples.
The mission of the Church cannot be separated from the problems of the world – the great divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ and the massive refugee problem resulting from religious persecution and poverty. Global warming, even now, is posing such a threat to the wellbeing of Planet Earth. We cannot ignore the 33% of the world’s population living below the poverty line. We celebrate the efforts of the missionaries, who are working to confront these enormous challenges. Those who support them are missionaries themselves. The weekend after next will remind us again of the depth of Ireland’s missionary heritage. The success of our Missionaries will always rely on the prayers and generosity of the Irish people.
From the Ennis Parish Newsletter (Adapted)