By REV. MSGR. ROBERT J. KELLY
As we look forward to the celebration of World Mission Sunday Oct. 19, we realize that the “missionary spirit” of the diocese is alive and well! Because of the strong belief in the fact that “God wills everyone to be saved, and to come to know the truth,” you have been, and continue to be, most generous in your financial assistance to the work of the Propagation of the Faith.
This year the society for the Propagation of the Faith celebrates its 175th anniversary. As we begin to focus attention on the coming Third Millennium, we are filled with a new awareness of the great charge given us by Christ “Go, Teach All Nations!” This was the mission left by Christ to his Church to all of us, the people of God! As you may know, the Church in the United States in its early development depended greatly upon the assistance of the Propagation of the Faith. We, here in the United States, were a mission church, and others helped us on our way. For many years now, the Church in the United States has been the largest contributor to the worldwide fund of the Propagation of the Faith! This fund, which was crucial to the young Church in our country 175 years ago, is equally as vital for the life of the Church in the missions today.
Our children in both parochial schools and religious education classes throughout the diocese have been absolutely fantastic in their response to the needs of the missions. Their contributions to the Holy Childhood Association, the missionary organization for young people, amounted to over $7,000 during the 1996-97 school year. This association exists to develop in young people a sense of mission, a sense of world church, and a sense of evangelization. If children do not connect with the Church in Malaysia, Brazil, Uganda, Indonesia, and other mission territories, they will not have caught the spark which blazed within the early Church as it set out to “Teach All Nations!” They will not be the “proclaimers of the Gospel” that we are all called to be.
World Mission Sunday each year is the moment we have for stimulating the missionary faith of our people both young and old alike. Let us make this year’s World Mission Sunday the best ever! Let all of us be true missionaries through our financial support of the missions, and let us do this in deepest gratitude for our own precious gift of faith.
Let us be zealous in assisting the missions throughout the world, because increasingly it becomes a fact that the young mission Churches become missionary themselves. They begin to send out missionaries and strive to focus their membership on their duty of becoming involved in the support of carrying the message of the Gospel to others. So, the good which we do to others stimulates them to reach out also in this great work of “Proclaiming the Good News to all the world.”
Thanks for all you have done, are doing, and will continue to do in the future for the proclamation of the Gospel. Let us all remember that our God will not be outdone in generosity! Our reward will be his divine presence for all eternity!
God bless you and yours always!
Msgr. Robert J. Kelly is diocesan director of Propagation of the Faith and the Holy Childhood Association.