From our pastor, Father Neil Herlihy
This Sunday we celebrate World Mission Sunday. It is a day set aside for Catholics throughout the world to publicly recommit themselves to the Church’s missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice. Our Bishops encourage us to assist in the mission of the Church in spreading the Gospel. As we may know, just a few short years ago, Pope Benedict XVI invited Christians throughout the world to celebrate “the Year of St. Paul.” This celebration commemorated the 2000th anniversary of St. Paul’s birth and ended in June 2009. At that time, the Pope reminded us that this special “Pauline” year was an invitation to join with “The Apostle of the Gentiles, who dedicated himself to the spreading of the Good News to all peoples and spent himself for the unity and harmony of all Christians.” Pope Benedict also stated that Paul’s ministry involved hardships and trials and depended above all on his personal involvement in proclaiming the Gospel with total dedication to Christ.
As Catholics, we may be tempted to allow ourselves to step back as our Bishops and our other leaders, primarily through our organizational structures, proclaim the Gospel and promote our Christian values. We may become too complacent, too socially comfortable with the values of the world. However, following the example of St. Paul, we are challenged to get personally involved in living the Gospel message despite potential risks and difficulties involving engagement with secular sectors of our society. We can personally spread Christian values through our involvement in such events as the March for Life, and the Eucharistic Congress. We can also spread these values through our involvement with the Saint Vincent DePaul Society, Catholic Charities, and other organizations which encourage Christian outreach. We can assist in the building of chapels, churches, and schools in mission territories. In addition, we can also spread the Gospel message by challenging our civil leaders to enact laws that promote Catholic social teaching, especially in areas concerning the life of the unborn, marriage, and the family.
As Catholics, we are to identify ourselves very clearly and personally as disciples of Christ. We are challenged to see the face of Christ in others and to reach out to those in need, especially those in mission territories. We can seek to live our faith and live it in a sacrificial way as we reach out to others in love. Therefore, as we celebrate World Mission Sunday, we are challenged like St. Paul to place Christ at the center of our lives as we strive to truly embrace the missionary spirit of our precious faith.