What is Mission?

The traditional understanding of mission is of professional persons, generally clerics and religious, who have dedicated their lives to the work of evangelization, spreading the Gospel of Jesus, at home or abroad, either to those who have not heard it or whose faith is weak for lack of ministers.

Since Vatican Council II (1963-1965) and the pronouncements of Pope Paul VI and John Paul II, mission is understood in a much broader sense. As the People of God, we are all called to be missionaries, but not limited exclusively to the traditional form of missions.

The idea of mission today encompasses various activities, which fall into different categories, namely: the Traditional, Corporal Works of Mercy, and Immersion.

  1. The traditional view is of missionaries, Clerics, Religious and sometimes even Lay persons who are dedicated to spreading the Gospel by word and deed, either for life or for a fixed period of time, either at home or abroad. Missionary endeavors are their sole purpose in life during this period and their home communities generally support them.
  2. Another view of mission is The People of God bringing material aid such as food or medicine to those in dire need, offering their time and resources in the corporal works of mercy.
  3. A new vision of mission, growing out of Vatican Council II, is of the People of God who go primarily to the poor at home or abroad to simply accompany them and learn to understand and appreciate other cultures and values. Such activities, called, mission immersion experiences allow people to reach out to others as equals rather than as merely objects to be taught or helped as if they were little children. Parishes and dioceses that go into an immersion experience do so to strengthen their own faith as they try to understand the nuances of how the faith is lived in other cultures.

This is also a preparation for what often becomes a more formal mission relationship called Parish Twinning or Diocesan Twinning. Twinning means that the parishes or the dioceses on each side of the border share their faith and their gifts through a process of ongoing mutual exchange and celebration.

Learn more by visiting the following sites: