Mission Sunday was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1926 as a world-wide day of prayer, reflection and financial support in the Catholic Church, for the missions. Ninety-two years later, it continues to be celebrated, on the same day of the year, in every church, of every parish, of every diocese throughout the Catholic Church.
In the past, our vision of missions and missionaries was one of priests and Religious from Ireland helping ‘the poor’ in other parts of the world. We saw our role as financially supporting those who travelled to bring the Gospel to impoverished and remote communities. The focus of Mission Sunday remains the same, namely, reaching out to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are much less fortunate than ourselves and to financially supporting the missionaries who work among them.
However, Mission Sunday is also a very appropriate day for us to remind ourselves that, by virtue of our Baptism, all of us are called to be missionaries every way and every day – in our homes, in our schools,
in our workplaces, in our Church, in our parish communities.
Today, in the third part of our Diocesan Plan, we are asked to focus in our parishes on the third theme which is, “Work to Make Jesus Known and Loved”. The Plan asks us to be a welcoming and inclusive parish community, growing together in faith and discipleship, with a ‘mission’ to Make Jesus Known and Loved.
We don’t need to travel to foreign lands to Make Jesus Known and Loved. We can do it right here and now in our own parish. Unlike those less fortunate than ourselves, in other countries, we are in the privileged position of being able to join together as parish family for Sunday Eucharist and to hear the Word of God. This is indeed the solid baseline on which we can unite in the mission to which we are called in our parish – to Make Jesus Known and Loved.