We are many faces, but we share in one mission

| Deacon Mickey Friesen | October 6, 2010 | 0 Comments

Washington Auxiliary Bishop Martin Holley blesses a child in Akwanga, Nigeria, at Our Lady of Apostles Hospital, which Catholic Relief Services helps. CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec

When you think of “the missions” what images come to mind?

Maybe you are propelled to foreign and remote parts of the world where the people look, talk and act very differently than you.

Maybe you think of missions as places of extreme poverty, war and civil conflict in the “Third World.”

Maybe you think of missions as that part of the world where the majority of people profess a faith other than Christianity or where Christianity is shunned or persecuted.

Or maybe you think of missions as the people and places that reject religion and are secular, materialistic and skeptical of all things spiritual.

No matter which image best represents your view of mission, I would say they are all correct.

Jesus is key

There are many faces to mission today, but there is still only one mission — God’s mission — revealed in the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus Christ.

The so-called “mission territory” of the world increasingly becomes less a geographical question and more a question of the borders of the human heart and human communities on all continents.

In a similar way, we can no longer limit who the missionaries are. Mission is the birthright of all who are baptized into Christ. Whether we are poor or rich, male or female, from north or south, east or west, we are all called to be missionaries.

On World Mission Sunday — celebrated in our archdiocese Oct. 10 — every Catholic parish in the world is called to celebrate God’s mission and renew our baptismal call by announcing the Good News of Jesus to those who need it most.

This annual weekend is a time to reflect and pray about mission — the primary work of the church.  Spiritual and material sharing enables all of us, rich or poor, to be evangelized and to serve.

Reaching out to others

Across the world and especially in the rapidly growing church in Africa, Asia and the Pacific Island region, the young churches urgently need support — just as the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis did upon its founding more than 125 years ago.

The mission is people! It is lay people, religious sisters, brothers and priests sharing Christ in multiple ways.

The face of mission includes building communities of faith and providing services that heal lives and lift up human dignity.

Today, World Mission Sunday means the building of 194,855 schools, 5,246 hospitals, 17,530 health clinics, 577 leprosy centers, 80,560 social and pastoral projects.

The World Mission Sunday collection will reach 1,150 dioceses in 120 countries.

We are the face of mission today!  Let us join with others worldwide to be the Good News we profess.

Deacon Mickey Friesen is director of the archdiocesan Center for Mission.

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Category: Mission Link, World Mission Sunday