The Holy Father, Pope Francis has dedicated the month of October 2019 as an Extraordinary Missionary Month, with the theme “Baptised and Sent: The Church of Christ on a Mission in the World.” In a “month of the missions”, once again the Church reminds us of our duty and obligation to preach the gospel and to make disciples of all nations, (MT 28: 19-20).
On 21 October 2018, the Holy Father – in his message for World Mission Sunday 2018 – established the month of October 2019 as an “Extraordinary Missionary Month”. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s writing on mission entitled “Maximum Illud” which means that momentous. Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922) was known as a “Missionary Pope”. He highlighted the essential task of every Christian to “go into the whole world and preach the gospel to all creation,” (Mark 16:15).
The Archbishop and Bishops of Peninsula Malaysia has announced this year as an Extraordinary Year of Mission 2019, inviting every baptised Catholic to play prominent roles in missionary activity and to redevelop a sense of duty towards the mission of the Church in Malaysia and pastoral care towards people. On the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord (5 & 6 January 2019), all the parishes in the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur officially launched the Year of Mission 2019 and it will end on 31 December 2019.
The Extraordinary Missionary Month of October coincides with the Month of the Rosary and the feast of a remarkable saint – Saint Therese of Lisieux, France. She is known as a Patroness of Mission and Missionaries because she felt a call to support the missionary activity of the Church with her daily prayer and life of quiet fidelity.
When we began the Extraordinary Month of October and the month of the most Holy Rosary, I invited parishioners of St Joseph’s Church (via a text message sent through the BECCOT Chairperson) to start off the BEC rosary prayers with the Evening Vespers on the first day (Tuesday, 1 October 2019) in their respective BECs. I also enclosed the Church’s mission prayer, as proposed by Pope Francis, for the Extraordinary Missionary Month, to be prayed either individually or communally throughout the month.
Every one of us should commit ourselves to the spirit of New Evangelisation and revitalise our faith, as we remain permanently in a state of mission. From now till December 2019, I hope our parishioners will take every opportunity to discern further, our ministries, leadership roles and commitments as a church on mission. It is crucial for us to renew our baptismal call to be missionary disciples by presenting Jesus to the needy and underprivileged.
We have two important events ahead of us before the year ends – 3rd World Day of the Poor cum Parish Family Day, on Sunday, 17 November 2019 and the distribution of free school uniforms to the underprivileged school children, which will be held on Saturday, 14 December 2019. It is not through the work of individuals, but through the collaboration of the entire parish that we can add value and blessings to these people. I invite you to pray always for the heartfelt generosity in serving and embracing the poorest and helpless.
As missionary disciples, let us walk the same path Christ walked – to live the life of holiness and to do good deeds. It is the Holy Spirit who sends, accompanies and encourages us to be on mission, “… you will receive the power of the Holy Spirit which come on you, and then you will be my witnesses to earth’s remotest end,” (Acts 1:8).
By Rev Fr George P