My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, World Mission Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, is a reminder for all of us during our diocesan sesquicentennial of the missionary heart of the Church and our response to her call. The Father’s plan for our salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ have been proclaimed in the Diocese of La Crosse for more than 150 years. Throughout this time, we have honored the Church’s missionary nature. At times we have received, and at times we have sent missionaries and financial support for the work of the universal Church.
In his message for World Mission Day 2017, Pope Francis observes the condition of our world as he writes, “The world vitally needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the Church, Christ continues his mission as the Good Samaritan, caring for the bleeding wounds of humanity, and, as Good Shepherd, constantly seeking out those who wander along winding paths that lead nowhere. Thank God, many significant experiences continue to testify to the transformative power of the Gospel.”
Our historical records, studied anew for the sesquicentennial, testify to the many profound commitments of faith among the missionaries and immigrants across the generations who arrive and grow roots. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of such plantings has been quickly and generously shared. By joining your contributions to others from around the world, Catholic ministries and services in 1,111 dioceses and religious communities are also able to take root and grow. World Mission Sunday supplies them with both the spiritual and monetary resources the Gospel requires.
I thank you for your participation in the annual collection for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith held on the weekend of Oct. 22, 2017. As He has blessed us throughout our history, may He enrich others throughout the world by your generosity.
Faithfully yours in the Lord,
Bishop William Patrick Callahan
Bishop of La Crosse