The Pontifical Mission Societies, including the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, actively promote and are witnesses to works of Faith in surprising and moving ways.
I recently had the opportunity to travel to parts of India that are home to many of the priests currently serving in our diocese. It was a truly blessed experience. Catholic churches stood out as places of visitation and worship. People of all religions sat on the hard floors in still prayer or moved about in silent veneration. It was edifying to visit a few Hindu temples. At Meenakshi Temple, I was astounded to see an elephant walk into the hall of pillars while pilgrims and visitors calmly welcomed the massive beast with reverence.
Throughout our travels and interactions, the fact that Christians of India are among the most persecuted in the world hovered over us like a dark cloud. Still, at least by my observation, their expressions of Faith were not hidden or shy. On the contrary, they were colorful and public, a bright illumination, especially in Catholic education. The heart of the Church, her worship and ministry, seemed bold and strong.
St. Thomas the Apostle, the first evangelizer to share the Gospel in India, was not considered a “doubting Thomas” as he often is here. Instead, the fullness of his Faith was on display. He is the one who stood before our Risen Lord and said with absolute conviction, “My Lord and My God.” Then, after years of prayer and teaching, he joyfully submitted himself to be slaughtered in the name of Jesus Christ.
World Mission Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, is celebrated in every Catholic parish worldwide. It is a time of solidarity and mutual support within the entire Church. Whether we can travel or not, we enjoy a union in Christ. On this day, we pray in singleness of heart and take up a collection to support those most in need.
In his message for World Mission Sunday 2023, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, sends us on the walk to Emmaus with the two disciples and Jesus, risen from the dead. His chosen theme: “Hearts on fire, feet on the move,” (Lk 24:13-35) tells us that we are formed in the Father’s Love and sent under the Son’s command.
On World Mission Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, your participation in prayer, sacrifice and financial contributions through your parish collection is very much appreciated. May God reward you with the outpouring of His Grace and the fullness of His Love.
Please visit diolc.org/missions for specific parish/youth contribution details.
By: Father Woody Pacy, Director of Missions
Published in the September/October 2023 issue of Catholic Life Magazine