The Mission Hub

The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the
Propagation of the Faith, the Missionary Childhood Association, the Society of St.Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerfulmissionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Transmitting the Legacy of Faith

Pope Francis

One of the recurring themes in the addresses and homilies of Pope Francis in his young papacy has been that of evangelization.  He constantly reminds his hearers and readers that the work of spreading the Gospel is the task and privilege of every baptized believer, whether clergy or laity.  This is a point that I emphasize in speaking to parents and godparents when I celebrate the sacrament of baptism.  Jesus tells us to “go forth and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Mt. 28: 19)

Although this is the responsibility of every believer, we accomplish our task within in the community of faith, supporting one another in our journey.  In his reflection at the Angelus on July 7th, the Holy Father speaks to this in a powerful way.

Jesus is not an isolated missionary, does not want to fulfill his mission alone, but involves his disciples.  Not only does he call the 12 apostles, the Holy Father noted, but  He calls seventy-two others, and sends them into the villages, two by two, to announce that the Kingdom of God is near.  This is very beautiful! Jesus does not want to act alone. He has come to bring to the world the love of God and wants to spread that love with a style of communion and fraternity. For this reason, he forms immediately a community of disciples, which is a missionary community.

It may surprise some of us that we are called to be missionaries in our own surroundings, using our talents and gifts within the community of faith, while looking beyond the narrow borders of our parish and archdiocese.  It may also seem like an enormous task, given the scope of the work to be done.  Nonetheless, our gift of faith is truly a legacy, an experience of life that is meant to be shared and the work to be seen as a work of personal witness.  As Pope Francis reminded the bishops of Brazil just a few days ago:

Concerning mission, we need to remember that its urgency derives from its inner motivation; in other words, it is about handing on a legacy. As for method, it is essential to realize that a legacy is about witness, it is like the baton in a relay race: you don’t throw it up in the air for whoever is able to catch it, so that anyone who doesn’t catch it has to manage without. In order to transmit a legacy, one needs to hand it over personally, to touch the one to whom one wants to give, to relay, this inheritance.

May each one of us see the challenge of evangelization, not as a burden, but as an exciting opportunity; the chance to hand on an inheritance more precious than any material possession.
-Rev. Rodney J. Copp, JCL

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