By his Apostolic letter “ Maximum Illud”, Pope Benedict XVI wanted to give a new impetus to the missionary task of proclaiming the Gospel to all. The duty of proclamation is a response to Jesus’ command to “Go out to the whole world, proclaim the Gospel to all creation” (Mk. 16:15). Obeying this mandate of the Lord is not an option for the Church: in the words of the Second Vatican Council, it is her “essential duty,” for the Church is “missionary by nature” (Ad Gentes 2). “Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity; she exists in order to evangelize” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14; Ad Gentes, 5).
In order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter “Maximum Illud”, Pope Francis has announced that this coming October will be an Extraordinary Mission Month for which the Holy Father has chosen the theme: ‘Baptized and Be sent: The Church of Christ on a Mission in the World’.
There are four dimensions specified by Pope Francis to live more intensely the journey of preparation for the Extraordinary Missionary Month, October 2019.
1. Personal encounter with Jesus Christ through the Eucharist, the Word of God and personal prayer.
2. Give Testimony by sharing faith experience.
3. Missionary formation: Biblical, catechetical, spiritual and theological training for laity, religious and priests.
4. Missionary Charity.
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of peoples, Fernando Cardinal Filoni, has proposed that each particular Church commits itself to prayerful reflection and concrete action in meaningful celebration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month. In this regard he has said that the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) together with the Congregation for the Evangelizations of Peoples are directly involved in the work by preparing and implementing the Extraordinary Missionary Month. This commemoration may bring about renewed passion for the Gospel, greater zeal, and missionary fervor within our Churches.
Responding to the call given by our beloved Holy Father, Pope Francis, for an Extrardinary Missionary Month to be celebrated in October 2019 with the aim of fostering an increased awareness of the mission ad gentes and with renewed fervor for the missionary transformation of the Church’s life and pastoral activity, let us celebrate joyfully the month of October 2019 as the Extraordinary Missionary Month in our parish community.
I would like to propose the following means for the celebration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month in October 2019. And you are most welcome to give your suggestions /ideas.
1. Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament every Friday after the Holy Eucharist.
2. Catholicism – By Bishop Robert E. Barron, – A groundbreaking Educational Series. The premier study program for presenting, understanding and teaching the Catholic Faith. A ten part documentary series can be held on Sunday’s 5.00 pm
3. Marian Devotion, family prayers, Rosary. Novena’s and special devotion to Our Lady, on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s and all throughout the month. Since this month is dedicated to Our Blessed Mother Mary.
4. Celebration of Mission Sunday on Oct, 20, 2019. More Emphasizes on Evangelization.
5. Regular Children’s Liturgy on Sunday’s
6. Ways and means to draw our “fallen away” parishioners back to our Church that have gone to other Churches/not showing up.
7. “Lay Evangelizers’ groups may be formed and ongoing training can be imparted.
8. Sundays Homilies can be focused on Evangelization, viz. the command of the Lord for proclamation (Mt 28: 10 – 20), its importance and our roe in evangelization.
If you have any suggestions /new ideas feel free to share.
The celebration of the Missionary month can serve as a strong and firm foundation by enabling the parish community to recommit ourselves to the proclamation of the Gospel and to help all of us to grow in the ministry of evangelization with zeal and missionary Charity.
God Bless you
Fr. Michael