living waters

The last Sunday of October is dedicated by the Church to World Mission; this year (2012), it will fall on October 21. For this year’s message, Pope Benedict XVI emphasizes the Church’s need to recapture the apostolic zeal of the early Christian communities in the missio ad gentes.

The document, entitled “Called to Radiate the Word of Truth”, is subdivided into five un-numbered sections, four of which are given subtitles. Below is an outline of the document.

  • Introduction
    • The 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the Opening of the Year of Faith, the Synod of Bishops (“New Evangelization”) and the missio ad gentes
    • Vatican II and the Church’s missionary nature at the centre of ecclesiology
  • Missionary Ecclesiology
    • “The number of those awaiting Christ is still immense” (Blessed John Paul II). We need to recover the same apostolic zeal as that of the early Christian communities
    • The missionary mandate is entrusted by Christ to the whole People of God; but the Bishops are directly responsible for the evangelization in the world.
  • The Priority of Evangelizing
    • The mandate to preach the Gospel involves all the activities of the particular Church “all here sectors, in short her whole being and all her work.”
    • The mission ad gentes must be “the constant horizon and paradigm of every ecclesial endeavour”
  • Faith and Proclamation
    • “the eagerness to proclaim Christ urges us to read history…”
    • the crisis of faith and evangelization (cf. example of the Samaritan Woman)
      • Renew the enthusiasm of communicating faith through a renewed encounter with the Living Christ
      • The core of the proclamation remains the same: the Love of God in Christ on the Cross
  • Proclamation becomes charity (Final Words)
    • “Woe to me If I do not preache the Gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16) — mission awareness, expression of profound communion, sharing and charity among the Churches
    • I thank the Pontifical Mission Societies
    • I invoke an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the mission of evangelization ad gentes

The Pope’s Message for the World Day of Mission is available at the Vatican website.

Of interest: Catholic Church statistics for 2011

Faith in God, in this project of love brought about in Christ, is first and foremost a gift and a mystery which must be welcomed in the heart and in life, and for which we must always thank the Lord. However, faith is a gift that is given to us to be shared; it is a talent received so that it may bear fruit; it is a light that must never be hidden, but must illuminate the whole house. It is the most important gift which has been made to us in our lives and which we cannot keep to ourselves. (Message for World Mission Day 2012)