By Matters India Reporter
Rome, April 18, 2019: “Baptized and sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World,” is the theme announced by Pope Francis on Mission Sunday 2018 to commemorate the Centenary of the Promulgation of the Apostolic letter Maximum Illud by Pope Benedict XV in 2019.
“Promulgated on November 30, 1919, through this letter Pope Benedict XV sought to give a new impetus to the missionary task of proclaiming the Gospel. In 1919, in the wake of a tragic global conflict that he himself called a ‘useless slaughter,’ the Pope recognized the need for a more evangelical approach to missionary work in the world, so that it would be purified of any colonial overtones and kept far away from the nationalistic and expansionistic aims that had proved so disastrous,” said Pope Francis in his letter to Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
“Accepting the proposal of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, I hereby call for an Extraordinary Missionary Month to be celebrated in October 2019, with the aim of fostering an increased awareness of the missio ad gentes and taking up again with renewed fervor the missionary transformation of the Church’s life and pastoral activity,” Pope Francis added.
Pope Francis suggested four dimensions, or ways to prepare for and live out the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019:
A personal encounter with Jesus Christ alive in His Church; Eucharist, Word of God, personal and communal prayer;
The witness of Saints, the Missionary Martyrs, and the Confessors of the faith, who are unique expressions of the Churches throughout the world;
Biblical, catechetical, spiritual and theological formation regarding the missio ad gentes;
Missionary charity as a material support for the immense work of evangelization, especially the missio ad gentes and Christian formation in Churches that are most in need.
A book Baptized and sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World, tries to help the Church prepare for this extraordinary event.
“It is the result of a worldwide consultation with the local Churches. It is a gift made up of contributions from Christians all over the world and addressed to Christians all over the world. The texts presented will serve to inspire the creativity of the local Churches and their Christians in facing the challenges of evangelization, starting from missio ad gentes within their own contexts,” says Father Fabrio Meroni PIME, Secretary General of the Pontifical Missionary Union (PMU) and Director of the International Centre for Missionary Animation (CIAM) and of the Fides News Agency at the Pontifical Mission Societies and the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples.
The book is published simultaneously in English, Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese.
According to Father Meroni, “the guide book contains three parts: “Encountering Christ” offers spiritual meditations of a missionary nature on the Lectionary readings of daily Mass for the 31 days of October 2019. They can be used as part of one’s celebration of Holy Mass or in other moments of prayer and formation.
Th section “Mission Testimonies” conatins brief biographies of many men and women, saints and martyrs, canonized or not, that various local churches throughout the world have proposed as models and intercessors in faith and mission.
“Thoughts on Mission” provides a series fo important essays offered by the local Churches and the national Directors of their Pontifical Mission Societies, for formation and Pastoral guidance in mission.”