World Mission Sunday, organized by the Propagation of the Faith, is a day set aside for Catholics worldwide to recommit themselves to the Church’s missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice.
Annually, World Mission Sunday is celebrated on the next-to-last Sunday in October. As described by Pope John Paul II, World Mission Sunday is “an important day in the life of the Church because it teaches how to give: as an offering made to God, in the Eucharistic celebration and for all the missions of the world” (see Redemptoris Missio 81).
Pope John Paul II has also spoken of the Propagation of the Faith’s General Fund of support, calling this a “central fund of solidarity.” In a message delivered on a recent World Mission Sunday, the Pope said: “The offerings that will be collected [on World Mission Sunday] are destined for a common fund of solidarity distributed, in the Pope’s name, by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith among the missions and missionaries of the entire world.”
Every year the needs of the Catholic Church in the Missions grow – as new dioceses are formed, as new seminaries are opened because of the growing number of young men hearing Christ’s call to follow Him as priests, as areas devastated by war or natural disaster are rebuilt, and as other areas, long suppressed, are opening up to hear the message of Christ and His Church. That is why the involvement and commitment of Catholics from around the world is so urgently needed. Offerings from Catholics in the United States, on World Mission Sunday and throughout the year, are combined with offerings to the Propagation of the Faith worldwide.
Pope Francis in his message for the World Mission Sunday 2021 says “things were not always easy. The first Christians began the life of faith amid hostility and hardship. Experiences of marginalization and imprisonment combined with internal and external struggles that seemed to contradict and even negate what they had seen and heard. Yet, rather than a difficulty or an obstacle leading them to step back or close in on themselves, those experiences impelled them to turn problems, conflicts and difficulties into opportunities for mission.
The same holds true for us: our own times are not easy. The pandemic has brought to the fore and amplified the pain, the solitude, the poverty and the injustices experienced by so many people. It has unmasked our false sense of security and revealed the brokenness and polarization quietly growing in our midst. Those who are most frail and vulnerable have come to feel even more so. We have experienced discouragement, disillusionment and fatigue; nor have we been immune from a growing negativity that stifles hope”.
The theme of this year’s World Mission Day – “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20), is a summons to each of us to “own” and to bring to others what we bear in our hearts. This mission has always been the hallmark of the Church, for “she exists to evangelize” (SAINT PAUL VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14). Our life of faith grows weak, loses its prophetic power and its ability to awaken amazement and gratitude when we become isolated and withdraw into little groups. By its very nature, the life of faith calls for a growing openness to embracing everyone, everywhere.
On World Mission Day, which we celebrate each year on the penultimate Sunday of October, we recall with gratitude all those men and women who by their testimony of life help us to renew our baptismal commitment to be generous and joyful apostles of the Gospel. Let us remember especially all those who resolutely set out, leaving home and family behind, to bring the Gospel to all those places and people athirst for its saving message.
WMS 2021 Pope’s Message
WMS 2021 Bishop McElroy’s Message
WMS 2021 Director’s Letter to the Pastors
WMS 2021 About the Pope’s Missions
WMS 2021 About the Theme
WMS 2021 Sunday Parish Announcements
WMS 2021 Poster Front
WMS 2021 Poster Back