My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
May the Lord give you peace.
In the missionary activity of the Church, the Year of Our Lord 2022 marks three significant anniversaries. For 400 years, since the 1622 establishment of the Sacred Congregation De Propaganda Fide (today titled the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples), the Church has been evangelizing new corners of the globe. Exactly 200 years ago, the Holy Spirit inspired Pauline Jaricot to support missionary efforts through the organization of circles for prayer and collections for missionaries and mission territories, beginning with the young and struggling United States of America. Blessed Pauline was beatified in May of this year in Lyon, France. One hundred years ago, three Missionary Societies were recognized as “pontifical”: the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Missionary Childhood Association and the Society of St. Peter the Apostle. The fourth, the Pontifical Missionary Union, was later confirmed as a papal society under Pope St. Paul VI.
Our liturgical prayer and collection on World Mission Sunday, Oct. 22-23, 2022, is guided by the scriptural quote, “You shall be my witnesses.” (Acts 1:8). In selecting this theme, Pope Francis reminds the faithful that every baptized Christian is called to be a witness to Christ. By imitation of Him who was sent by the Eternal Father, we, too, are sent to witness to the nations the presence of God’s Kingdom in our midst.
Let me take this opportunity to thank you for all the ways in which you keep the mission field as a priority in your lives and in your parishes. We, the Diocese of La Crosse, are blessed to enjoy such strong historical and present-day support for the mission in Peru through the Father Joseph Walijewski Legacy Guild and many other missionary relationships inspired by the Holy Spirit. Your generosity to the other missionary societies also advances the work and ministry of many who proclaim the name of Jesus Christ. The World Mission Sunday collection directly benefits the work of missionaries in more than 1,100 territories around the world in places desperate for resources. I ask you to continue the tradition of generosity in prayer and financial support as we celebrate once again, World Mission Sunday,
Oct. 22-23, 2022. May God reward you with peace and grace.
BY BISHOP WILLIAM PATRICK CALLAHAN, Bishop of La Crosse
Published in the Sept./Oct. 2022 issue of Catholic Life Magazine