OCHOA: Baptized and Sent in this Extraordinary Mission Month

October 8, 2019

This year, we are celebrating two separate but complementary mission events.  The first one is the designation of an “Extraordinary Month of Mission” by Pope Francis.  He has asked us to renew our missionary awareness and commitment in prayer and action, as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud of Pope Benedict V.

For this purpose, the Pope has indicated four ways to live more intensely this Extraordinary Month of Mission.  First of all, it aims to encourage Catholics into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, in the Eucharist, in the Word of God, and in prayer.

We are invited to reflect on and emulate the lives of our saints, martyrs and also living missionaries. I encourage you to read about the life of Sister Dorothy Stang, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur here in the US.  Passionate about Mission from an early age, she worked tirelessly helping and walking with the poor and oppressed people of Brazil.  Sister Dorothy has recently been named a martyr by the Vatican and being posthumously awarded the United Nations Peace Prize.

Missionary charity is the third recommended dimension.  We cannot forget the many growing needs of our Catholic Church in the Missions and one way to contribute is through the Society for the Propagation of the Faith when we celebrate the second mission event, World Mission Sunday on October 20th.  The Propagation of the Faith is an international network supporting the Pope in his missionary commitment by prayer and charitable offerings throughout the world. Your offering to the second collection during the Eucharist on World Mission Sunday will provide much needed support.

Lastly, we are called to rediscover and renew our understating of mission through biblical, catechetical, spiritual and theological mission formation.  One listing of resources available can be found at www.archgh.org/missions.  Contact the Mission Office at 713-652-8231 for additional listings.

This October marks an especially important moment for the Church in global mission.  I hope you can join us by actively participating in this unique occasion.  How will you respond to the call to mission?

 As Pope Francis tells us in his message for World Mission Day 2019, “As far as God’s love is concerned, no one is useless or insignificant.  Each of us is a mission to the world, for each of us in the fruit of God’s love…From eternity he has destined each of his children to share in his divine and eternal life.” (Eph 1:3-6).

Hilda Ochoa is the director of the Archdiocesan Office of Missions.