The Society for the Propagation of the Faith
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, May the Lord give you peace.
All Catholic churches around the world will be celebrating World Mission Sunday on Oct. 24. What a remarkable event that could be with the conscious commitment we bring to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In his message for 2021, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, both reminds us and challenges us to bring to voice the gift we have received. The theme of this year’s World Mission Day, “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard,” (Acts 4:20) is an invitation to each of us to “take charge” and to make known what we carry in our hearts. This mission is and has always been the identity of the Church: “It exists to evangelize” (St. Paul VI, Evangelii nuntiandi,14).
That is indeed our experience here in our local Church. Not too long ago we celebrated our 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Diocese of La Crosse. Despite all the obstacles, the efforts of missionaries bore fruit among the residents, the strength of immigrants gave form to faith in their growing communities and the presence of God, living and true among our ancestors, gave rise to the love of God we hold dear today. I am confident that again, despite all the new obstacles, God is helping us to hand on the faith stronger than ever to the next generation and further.
The task is indeed demanding on our time, talent and treasure, but it is deceptively simple in its base reality. Again, our
Holy Father focuses our attention on the foundation of our proclamation. He announces, “Dear brothers and sisters, once we experience the power of God’s love, and recognize His fatherly presence in our personal and community life, we cannot help but proclaim and share what we have seen and heard.” It is part of our nature, our spiritual DNA, to talk about what excites us. This is what we know, what we have seen and heard, from the Lord.
This World Mission Sunday, the weekend of October 23-24, let us join every Catholic parish and person around the world and celebrate the presence of Christ in our midst. As I do the same, I also thank God for your Christ-like zeal and priestly witness among the people of God. May the Holy Spirit make us stronger each day in His service.
God bless your praise and unity with His joy and peace.
By BISHOP WILLIAM PATRICK CALLAHAN, Bishop of La Crosse
Published in the September/October 2021 Issue of Catholic Life Magazine
Featured Image: Sister Carla Harrison of the Daughters of the Pieta carries life-saving oxygen to members of the community around the nursing home her order staffs and serves in Lima, Peru.
Please visit diolc.org/missions for specific parish/youth contribution details.