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Mission Sunday

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On the Third Sunday of October we celebrate each year World Mission Day, so we do so this Sunday, reflecting on the theme chosen by Pope Francis – “You shall me my witnesses”. The Holy Father made us aware that we are celebrating several important events in the Church’s life and mission: the fourth Centenary of the founding in 1622 of the Congregation de Propaganda Fide, now the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples: also the second Centenary of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, founded in 1822 by the recently beatified French Lady, Pauline Jaricot; and we also mark the 100 years of the Society of Propagation of the Faith, along with Society of the Holy Childhood and the Society of St Peter being granted the title “Pontifical” In 1922. These special anniversaries will be marked by the Church in Scotland at the 12 Noon Mass in St Mary ‘s Cathedral in Edinburgh, which I will concelebrate with Archbishop Cushley and other bishops and priests.

Pope Francis in his message for Mission Sunday speaks of the guiding power of the Holy Spirit for the Universal Church in all its missionary endeavours, and highlights the power of the Spirit guiding ordinary men and women for extraordinary missions in the Church’s history. Such a mission was that of Pauline Jaricot, who accepted God’s call to establish a network of prayer and collection for missionaries, so that the faithful could actively participate in the mission “to the ends of the earth”. As Pope Francis says in his message, “This brilliant idea gave rise to the annual celebration of World Mission Day, in which the funds collected in local communities are applied to the universal fund with which the Pope supports universal activity”. We have always been generous in Scotland to the fund and even in our present economic difficulties a generous response this Sunday will be greatly appreciated.

Another point I picked up in the Holy Father’s Message is about the importance of migrants in our parish communities. Pope Francis writes “More and more, we are seeing how the presence of the faithful of various nationalities enriches the face of parishes and makes them more universal, more Catholic. Consequently, the pastoral care of migrants should be valued as an important missionary activity that can also help the local faithful to rediscover the joy of 5he Christian Faith they have received.” In these days of people leaving aside the regular practice of our Catholic Faith the example we are being given by those who have come more recently to Scotland is indeed a blessing and something for us to follow.

I commend to you also Pope Francis final words in his message:

“Dear Brothers and Sisters, I continue to dream of a completely missionary Church, and a new era of missionary activity among Christian community. I repeat Moses’ great desire for the people on their journey: “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets!” (Num 11:29). Indeed, would that all of us in the Church were what we already are by virtue of baptism: prophets, witnesses, missionaries of the Lord, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the ends of the earth! Mary, Queen of the Missions, pray for us!”

With my prayers and best wishes on Mission Sunday,

+Joseph Toal


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