Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Each October the celebration of World Mission Sunday focuses on the heart of our Christian faith. It focuses on mission, as Pope Francis explains in announcing this year’s theme, “Here I am, Send Me.” We will celebrate World Mission Sunday this year on the weekend of Oct. 17-18.
World Mission Sunday recognizes that all Catholics of the world are one community of faith. At Mass that Sunday, we will recommit ourselves to our common vocation, through baptism, to be missionaries, through personal prayer and participation in the Eucharist, and by giving generously to the collection for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, which supports vital mission work around the world.
In his World Mission Sunday message, Pope Francis is mindful of the challenge the pandemic represents for the church’s mission:
Illness, suffering, fear and isolation challenge us. The poverty of those who die alone, the abandoned, those who have lost their jobs and income, the homeless and those who lack food challenge us. Being forced to observe social distancing and to stay at home invites us to rediscover that we need social relationships as well as our communal relationship with God. Far from increasing mistrust and indifference, this situation should make us even more attentive to our way of relating to others. And prayer, in which God touches and moves our hearts, should make us ever more open to the need of our brothers and sisters for dignity and freedom, as well as our responsibility to care for all creation. 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 am I, send me!” (Is 6:8). God continues to look for those whom he can send forth into the world and to the nations to bear witness to his love, his deliverance from sin and death, his liberation from evil (cf. Mt 9:35-38; Lk 10:1-12).
Grateful for your generosity, I ask for your full support, through prayer and sacrifice, on World Mission Sunday and throughout the year, as you are able.
Most Rev. Thomas R. Zinkula
Bishop of Davenport