The Story behind the Poster
The Mission Sunday poster this year celebrates the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina as successor to Pope Benedict, taking the name Francis or in Gaelic “Proinsias”. He is the first Pope from South America and the first Jesuit to be elected Pope.
Pope Francis was elected on March 13th. 2013. Since then the world has begun to get to know the new Pontiff and the general reaction seems to be that people have been impressed most of all by his simplicity and his call for all Christians to reach out to those on the margins. His trip to Rio de Janeiro in July 2013 for World Youth Day was his first overseas trip as Pontiff and is generally seen as being an outstanding success. The closing Eucharist for World Youth Day on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, saw an attendance of over three million young people.
As we move towards the conclusion of our celebration of this Year of Faith, (11th Oct 2012 – Nov 24th 2013) in Ireland our theme for World Mission Sunday (October 20th) this year is “Growing in Faith”. How appropriate then, that Pope Francis published his first Encyclical on July 13th 2013 entitled “Lumen Fides” (Light of Faith).
October is Mission Month and the following resources will help schools to celebrate this with the children and staff. There is a calendar of activities for the month and some resources for the National Day of Prayer for Children on October 11. A big thank you to Jackie Pallas and her team at www.wmi.ie for these wonderful resources.
In that Encyclical both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis as co-authors, are exhorting people to proclaim their faith in the message of Jesus. Pope Benedict’s influence on the document can be seen throughout especially in those sections which explain why a life of Faith is completely compatible with rational thought and modern life. In fact the document highlights how faith is the only true path to direct us through the complexities and “idols” (see section 13) of the modern secular world.
The theme Growing in Faith has a particular resonance this year for the Pontifical Society for Missionary Children as it celebrates its 170th anniversary. Ten years after Bishop Charles de Forbin-Janson founded the society in France in 1843, it had come to Ireland. The Society holds its National Day of Prayer on the second Friday of October, ie. the 11th of Oct 2013. This Society promotes the unique concept of Children helping Children, by challenging children to pray and to share their faith and small resources with children of poorer countries.
Our life of faith guides us in the living out of Gospel values and often directs us to be conscious of our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ who live in countries where there is discord or mismanagement. The result is that they often do not have the basic necessities to live a dignified life. World Missions, Ireland – the work of the Pontifical Mission Societies brings the prayers, solidarity and financial help of the Church in Ireland to Christian communities in other parts of the world, especially those in greatest need.
“Through their action, the proclamation of the Gospel not only bears witness to Christ but also becomes an intervention on behalf of one’s neighbour, justice for the poorest, the possibility of education in the most remote villages, medical aid in isolated places, emancipation from poverty, the rehabilitation of the marginalized, support for the development of peoples, overcoming ethnic divisions, and respect for life in all its stages,” wrote Pope Benedict XV1 for Mission Sunday 2011.
Each Mission Sunday we are asked to put aside – for that day – our support for our favourite missionary group or project so as to show our solidarity with the younger Churches throughout the world, especially those with the least resources.
The Mission Sunday collection is made available, in its entirety, to be distributed to as many as 1,100 young Churches who are supported by the generosity of Churches that are better off. In 2012 the Irish Office sent more than €2 million, collected in the thirty-two counties, to help build up the Church around the world, as well as helping in the training of novices and seminarians. We thank you for that generous support of God’s people living in these young Churches.
Pope Francis in section 1 of his message for Mission Sunday 2013, reminds us that “Faith is God’s precious gift, offered to make our life more meaningful, better and more beautiful. It is a gift that one cannot keep to oneself”. Please help us at World Missions Ireland to be able to share that gift of faith through your prayer and financial support of our missions.
World Missions Ireland
64 Lower Rathmines Road,