Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
World Mission Sunday, celebrated this year on the weekend of Oct. 17-18, is a special day of “prayer and sacrifice” for the worldwide missionary work of the church.
At baptism each of us is given a special responsibility. We are called by our Lord to tell the world the “Good News” of his love and salvation. We are to be his missionaries. Each year on World Mission Sunday, as baptized Catholics we gather for Mass and offer prayers and sacrifices for the missionary task.
In 1908, a papal decree removed the designation “mission territory” from the United States. Up until that time we were the beneficiaries of the generosity of the Catholics of Europe through the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. In fact, two-thirds of the very first collection of the Propagation of the Faith in 1822 was sent to the church here — to the vast diocese of Louisiana and to Bardstown, Ky. Years of such assistance helped build schools and churches, educate local priests and religious, provide for the work of religious communities and support evangelization here at home.
Today missionary areas of the world (young churches of Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and Latin America) face even far greater challenges than we do in the United States. As we remember our own mission history this World Mission Sunday we can offer our prayers and financial help for the young and growing churches of the missions today. Your generosity through the Propagation of the Faith will reach those who await the “Good News” of Jesus who long to experience his hope and love.
Please be as generous as your means will allow this World Mission Sunday. Let us pray, in the words of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, that our celebration encourages everyone toward a renewed awareness of the urgent need to proclaim the Gospel. Be assured of my prayer-filled thanks for your ongoing generosity.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Martin Amos
Bishop of Davenport