Up Front and Personal

The Hope that Saves a Missionary Church

by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio

My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

This week, we celebrate Mission Sunday.  The Holy Father’s message for this 85th World Mission Day follows the theme of “The Hope that Saves.” This day is one Sunday for the whole world to celebrate together, as every year something special happens on the next-to-last Sunday of October. It is a day when the Church reflects its deepest identity as the Church in Mission.

On World Mission Sunday, Catholics of the world unite at Mass to recommit ourselves to our vocation, through baptism, to be missionaries. The Church’s missionary activity begins with the proclamation of faith: “Jesus is Lord!” He is our common hope, a hope that saves. On World Mission Sunday, we are invited to celebrate the hope that saves through prayer and participation in the Eucharist, and by giving generously to the collection.

As we pray and respond on World Mission Sunday here at home in Brooklyn and Queens, we are sharing in those celebrations taking place in every parish, seminary, school and convent all over the world. Our brothers and sisters in the missions themselves offer their prayers and sacrifices so that others may come to know Jesus.

Established in 1926 by Pope Pius XI, World Mission Sunday was seen as a way to foster understanding of the greatness of the missionary task, encouraging zeal among the clergy and the people, and offer an opportunity to make the Society for the Propagation of the Faith ever more widely known and encourage offerings for the missions.

In a world where so much divides us, World Mission Sunday rejoices in our unity as missionaries. And it provides an opportunity to support the life-giving presence of the Church among the suffering and the poor in more than 1,150 mission dioceses.

In our own diocese here in Brooklyn and Queens, I am pleased to report that the Mission Office, under the direction of Father Terence Mulkerin, is doing well. The Mission Office combines several related mission activities. Besides heading the Propagation of the Faith within the Diocese of Brooklyn, Father Mulkerin is also our Catholic Relief Services representative. Additionally, he also serves as the coordinator of the Immaculate Conception Mission Society instituted by retired Bishop Thomas V. Daily to enable the diocese to coordinate mission activities, training for seminarians and assistance to diocesan mission.

This year, Mission Sunday will be celebrated as usual at the Cathedral Basilica of St. James with myself as the principal celebrant. Awards will be given to the children of our Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens who have participated in the Holy Childhood Association, which fosters a mission awareness at a young age. In the past, this lifelong relationship with the missions has carried through that many of our older Catholics have decided to cite the Propagation of the Faith in their wills. It is my hope that this wonderful tradition will be maintained as new generations take the place of the old.

Our response to Mission Sunday certainly must be one of praying for the missions, and also supporting them financially. Thanks to the kindness of so many, a total of $2,450,080 was donated last year from our diocese to the missions which included $59,000 in Mass stipends given by our Office of the Propagation of the Faith to visiting missionaries.

The Diocese of Brooklyn is still in the top 10 of dioceses in the U.S. in contributions to the Propagation. I take this opportunity to thank you for your generosity and for listening to the call of our Holy Father to celebrate “The Hope That Saves.”

Join me in prayer on Mission Sunday for the missionary Church around the world, that those who put out into the deep to work in that vineyard may never become discouraged. May they always have the support of our prayers and sacrificial offerings.