“We have Seen and Heard” – World Mission Sunday 2021

This article was posted on: October 21, 2021

The cost of COVID-19 was heavy among priests, brothers and sisters who died in mission countries. The burial of Sister Florence Nalwoga, IHMR, was held June 18, 2021 in Uganda.

For World Mission Sunday 2021, Pope Francis addresses our current historic moment, “The pandemic has brought to the fore and amplified the pain, the solitude, the poverty and the injustices experienced by so many people. It has unmasked our false sense of security and revealed the brokenness and polarization quietly growing in our midst.”

His Holiness acknowledges the fact that we are hurting. Moreover, our levels of stress and anxiety can still worsen. Our eyes are darkened by what we see and our ears ache from the whaling cry of humanity. Anger abounds and needs just the slightest permission for it to explode into acts of rage. Each one of us searches frantically for validation. Then, in our pain, we prove all too willing to label, hate and even violently oppose whatever or whomever we perceive to be against us. Nationally, the sounds of burning business dis-tricts, trespassed federal properties and multiple conflicts of interest increase the pervasive noise. International healines announce overwhelmed medical systems, the dangerous and cruel exploitation of children and adults along migrant routes, deadly weapons of war threatened or launched nation against nation and people against people. Accusations of human trafficking and sexual misconduct enter into public scrutiny. The voice of the people rings loudly and begs to be heard. Perhaps most deafening of all is the silence of those who quietly die alone during the pandemic, grieve separation from loved ones, are neglected because of economic or societal injustice, remain unprotected in the womb, or are horrifyingly persecuted because of ethnic or religious prejudice.

We cannot deny what we have seen and heard. While all this may seem bleak, the truth is that we still do not need to scream out above the din in our own defense. We are not called to defiantly make our voices heard by whatever man-made means necessary. In the face of seeming defeat, at the foot of the darkened cross, we recall that the tactics of the enemy, the great divider and author of chaos, have never worked and will never succeed. Freed from the chains of the senses and the limits of the body, we have seen and heard Satan falling like lightening from the sky.

God the Son, raised in the Father’s love and ushering forth the Holy Spirit, animates His Church. “We cannot keep quiet about what we have seen and heard.” The proclamation of the apostles echoes across the ages into every corner of the earth. The great human victor is also divine. He is Jesus Christ, who suffered, died and rose from the dead. His glory is our triumph.

Therefore, we know that God does not want us to be constricted by reli-ance on our senses alone or confined by a disordered fixation with the body. The Father does not want us to leave our spirits malnourished, sickened and dying. Instead, He beckons our hearts to be watchful. We know He has commissioned us, a great army motivated by our missionary mandate, to go out to all God’s children and manifest His power and might. Bishop William Patrick Callahan, with his letter in union with Pope Francis, has personally invited us to celebrate the victory and offer our support through the eucharistic feast of World Mission Sunday on Oct. 24. Like the apostles and the members of the early Church, we rejoice to gather, see, hear and proclaim in the mystery of our prayer the very presence of Christ in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. The Mass releases us from the limits of time and space. The presence of the risen Christ is renewed within us as we “do this” in memory of Him who is our source of life and grace.

Furthermore, we don’t do this alone. We do this with every Catholic parish, school, hospital, university, diocese and religious order around the globe on World Mission Sunday. We do this in union with every embodied soul who reaches out and knows from a place of suffering that there must be more. We do this with God who has helped us to see and hear the wonder of His love and called us to be His own.

Our offerings joined to others and united to the universal prayer of the Church and the power of the Holy Spirit are certain to make a practical difference in the daily lives of many. But they are even more powerfully going to make a difference in your life and the Church’s witness to the world of what we have seen and heard. This good news is too good to keep to ourselves.

By Father Woodrow Pace, Director of the Office for Missions
Published in the September/October 2021 Issue of Catholic Life Magazine

The Catholic Diocese of La Crosse
3710 East Ave. South
La Crosse, WI 54601

Subscriptions & Advertising 
Pam Willer

Story ideas, submission inquiries
Erik Archer

Individual Subscriptions

Find us on Facebook

Your Faith


Copyright © 2023 Diocese of La Crosse. All Rights Reserved.

To Top