On Mission Sunday, we join in solidarity with the Holy Father and all missionaries throughout the world, as we celebrate our growing in faith in the Risen Lord who gives his life to us in the Eucharist. The theme is “Growing in Faith”.

Our first task is to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. “Faith is a gift that is given to us to be shared,” wrote Pope Francis in his message for this Mission Sunday. Pope Francis said “in this complex situation, where the horizon of the present and future seems threatened by menacing clouds, it is necessary to proclaim courageously and in every situation, the Gospel of Christ, a message of hope, reconciliation, communion, a proclamation of God’s closeness, his mercy, his salvation and a proclamation that the power of God’s love is able to overcome the darkness of evil and guide us on the path of goodness”. This life of faith, which guides us in the living out of Gospel values, 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 often they do not have the basic necessities to live a dignified life. We are especially conscious of the children throughout the world who live on the margins and who struggle to obtain the basic necessities in order to live a dignified life.

We can prepare ourselves as a faith community to celebrate Mission Sunday on 20 October by first of all being sensitive to those from afar who have come to live among us and by praying for all missionaries in foreign lands, especially for our own. In devoting ourselves to others, we are uniting ourselves in faith with all our brothers and sisters throughout the world who proclaim the values of the Gospel, and especially with those on the margins. Let us also reach out and pray for those in our own communities who may be struggling through difficulties with debt, fractured relationships, alcohol or drugs, unemployment or those who have lost a sense of hope and feel isolated and alone.

The 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. Approximately 1,500 Irish born missionaries are presently serving in 80 countries throughout the world. 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. Let us contribute as generously as we can in these difficult economic times so that the community of the church can continue to support and sustain the proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel to all four corners of the world.

We are all on this journey together and we are privileged to have our faith as Pope Francis reminds us “Faith is God’s precious gift, offered to make our life more meaningful, better and more beautiful”. We pray this Mission Sunday therefore that we as individuals and as communities may be further imbued with a deeper sense of our faith and a genuine missionary spirit to reach out to those on the margins.