My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
May the Lord give you peace.
This year, Oct. 20th marks a very special World Mission Sunday: our annual, worldwide, eucharistic celebration of our shared call to mission. It takes place during an Extraordinary Missionary Month, called for by Pope Francis in honor of the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s apostolic letter Maximum Illud, which emphasizes our missionary call to proclaim the Gospel.
During October, Pope Francis invites us – all baptized Christians – to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ through prayer, meditation on the word of God and pilgrimage. Pope Francis reminds us that we are each “Baptized and Sent”; “Church of Christ on Mission in the World.”
I invite all of us in the Diocese of La Crosse to take this opportunity to revitalize our ardor, passion and zeal for the faith with loving missionary hearts. We can respond to our missionary call through charity, giving generously to the collection for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith on World Mission Sunday. Your gifts support and sustain priests, religious and lay pastoral leaders in more than 1,100 mission dioceses who build the Church and serve the poor around the world.
We can also respond to this call through mirroring the loving witness exemplified by great missionaries, like Brother James Miller, FSC, martyred in Guatemala for his faith and mission; like Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA, whose ministry reached across boundaries wherever she taught; like Blessed Brother Solanus Casey, OFM Cap., whose simple life and warm spirit moved many hearts in the Midwest to faith; and like our own Father Joe Walijewski, whose missionary spirit created places of faith and hope in Bolivia and Peru and areas within our own diocese. All these saintly people “baptized and sent” have been part of our family of faith in the Diocese of La Crosse and have given heroic witness to the power of Christ.
I share my personal gratitude for your generous response Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, as you are able. In union with our Holy Father, let us pray: “May the love for the Church’s Mission, which is a passion for Jesus and a passion for His people, ‘grow ever stronger!’” God bless your generosity with His joy,
Bishop William Patrick Callahan
Bishop of La Crosse
Published in the Sept/Oct. Issue 2019