World Mission Sunday - What happened around the country
Last Sunday marked the pinnacle of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, called by Pope Francis to renew missionary spirit among Catholics everywhere. Here’s a snapshot of activities happening in some parts of the country.
Parishes in the Adelaide Archdiocese will be showing the powerful video on mission in Ghana, titled ‘Do not fear, for I am with you’ for the World Mission Appeal, either before, during or after masses.
Acting Diocesan Director for Adelaide, Tony Johnston, says the aim is to spread the message as far across the Archdiocese as possible. ‘I’ve tried to keep things really simple in Adelaide, and it’s just purely making sure that everyone’s focused on caring for each other. That’s what we’re about at Catholic Mission, even if it’s a couple of dollars or a prayer for those overseas.’
Mr Johnston says the appeal video was a grounding for him. ‘When I saw the videos, for me personally it was a realisation about what I’m here to do. Being new to the role, there were some things unfamiliar to me about Catholic Mission and even mission itself, but when I saw Sister Stan’s work it crystallised what it is I’m here to do, and all of us are here to do, especially in the Extraordinary Missionary Month.’
Throughout the remainder of the month, Mr Johnston will continue to build on his work with schools across the state, which has seen 24 schools commit to Socktober next year, with others already doing something this year.
‘I’ll be visiting 22 schools in Adelaide over the coming fortnight to talk Socktober 2020 and Catholic Mission’s immersions program, which already has four schools on board,’ said Mr Johnston. ‘The aim is to have advocates for these programs in our schools across South Australia. Through our Immersions program we can identify the social justice champions in our schools who are driven to promote initiatives like Socktober.”
Jacqueline Toakley, Catholic Mission’s Diocesan Director in Armidale, will be speaking at the St Mary and Joseph Cathedral during four Masses across Saturday night and Sunday. She will be sharing about Catholic Mission’s World Mission Appeal, focused on child protection and development in Ghana.
Last month, Ms Toakley hosted Fred Amenga-Etego in Armidale and Tamworth, where he met with schools, supporters and clergy. She says the time she spent with someone responsible for running the projects Catholic Mission supports was motivating. ‘Having had Fred come and visit Armidale has reinforced to me that this work is about literally saving lives. Girls like Sarah, whose story we share on the appeal envelope in parishes, would not be here if it wasn’t for people like Sister Stan and Fred.’
Ms Toakley says she plans to conclude her appeal talk this weekend by reminding parishioners that Pope Francis has declared October an Extraordinary Month of Mission. ‘We can all do something extraordinary by putting some money in that appeal envelope. What could be more extraordinary than saving a child’s life?’
Bathurst and Wilcannia-Forbes
Catholic Mission’s work in the Dioceses of Bathurst and Wilcannia-Forbes are administered by Diocesan Director Mike Deasy. Both Dioceses will host appeals to raise funds for missionary work in Nagaland, a place close to the heart of Bishop Michael McKenna, who has held an annual appeal for the North-East Indian diocese for several years. ‘I will be at the Holy Family Parish, Parkes in the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes on World Mission Sunday,’ Mr Deasy said. ‘Fr Manoj Manuel, a priest for the Diocese of Kohima who is undertaking a two-year placement to the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes, will direct the appeal at St Augustine’s Parish, Narromine, where he serves as Administrator of Blessed Sacrament.
Similarly, Fr Matthew Humtsoe, a priest from the Diocese of Kohima with a two-year placement in the Diocese of Bathurst, will make the appeal in the St Joseph and St Mary’s Parish, Orange. Mr Deasy said an additional eight ambassadors of Catholic Mission would be making appeals for Nagaland throughout the Diocese of Bathurst on World Mission Sunday. ‘Only four of our nine speakers presenting appeals have not had first-hand experience of travelling to the remote Indian diocese,’ said Mr Deasy. ‘And those four have seen missionary service in Papua New Guinea, which means they are perfectly placed to speak of the universality of mission.’
In Brisbane, World Mission Sunday will launch a week of activities celebrating the Extraordinary Missionary Month. Maureen Crowley Heil, a representative of Catholic Mission’s counterpart in the United States, has travelled from Boston and will speak at masses at St Stephen’s Cathedral on Sunday.
‘We’re a universal Church, so it’s great to have someone here sharing with us their experience of working in that universal Church,’ said David McGovern, Catholic Mission’s Diocesan Director in Brisbane. ‘Maureen is well-travelled and has been to several countries where missionary activity is taking place. She brings a passion for the missionary work of the Church and the story of Pauline Jaricot—the woman who established our mission organisation nearly 180 years ago.’
A photographic exhibit featuring some of Catholic Mission’s most striking and powerful photographs taken in mission countries around the world will begin on Wednesday 23 October, with an Opening Night event on Friday 25 October. Mr McGovern says, ‘We wanted to bring something extraordinary to Brisbane for this Extraordinary Month of Mission. I’m at heart a storyteller and these photos tell a wonderful story of mission around the world.’
Titled ‘Precious in His Eyes’, the exhibit highlights the many different images developed over the years for Catholic Mission appeal pieces and other material. ‘The title refers not only to Precious, the young girl from Ghana who is the face of the exhibit, but it refers also to all children being precious in the eyes of God. The exhibit highlights where the Church has done the right thing in transforming the lives of children in need.’
Wednesday 23 October is Children’s Mission Day, and in Brisbane the occasion will be used to launch Socktober, Catholic Mission’s schools engagement initiative. Around 300 students and teachers will gather in the city for the Children’s Mission Liturgy at St Stephen’s Cathedral, before the official countdown to the launch of Socktober in the Archdiocese begins.
Socktober - The game is on!
Canberra & Goulburn
In the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, along with practical support of mission works, prayer has been a significant focal point of the Extraordinary Missionary Month celebrations.
Cathy Ransom, Diocesan Director for Catholic Mission in Canberra and Goulburn says, ‘On World Mission Sunday, throughout the Archdiocese we’re celebrating the Extraordinary Missionary Month by continuing to reawaken the Mission Prayer founded by the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen.’
It was announced in July that the late Archbishop Sheen, who was renowned as a pioneer of radio and television evangelism, will be beatified after a miracle attributed to him was approved by Pope Francis. The Mission Prayer Rosary was established by Archbishop Sheen in 1951, during the time he was National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (Catholic Mission) in the US.
‘This month, our schools in particular have really taken up Pope Francis’ call to prayer as the first mission work,’ said Mrs Ransom. ‘The Mission Prayer Rosary has been a special way of celebrating the Extraordinary Missionary Month for us here in Canberra and Goulburn.
‘On World Mission Sunday people around the Archdiocese will be actively supporting mission during parish appeals at St Christopher’s Cathedral and other parishes, while also praying using the mission rosary for those who are at the coalface working for mission.’
Anna Jimenez, Catholic Mission’s Diocesan Director in Cairns, says prayer for missions will be an important part of the day. ‘We are dedicating World Mission Sunday in the Cairns Diocese as a day to pray for the missions around the world,’ she said, adding that appeals to raise funds for mission will continue across the diocese. ‘All of the parishes in the Cairns Diocese have access to the prayers we have put together for our World Mission Appeal focused on Nagaland. We have promoted that appeal to some parishes already, but this weekend we will going as far as Mt Garnet, Ravenshoe, Yungaburra, Herberton and Atherton to run appeals in parishes.’
Ms Jimenez says her experience as a girl in the Philippines makes the Nagaland appeal story personally powerful for her. ‘The first time I watched the video I had a giggle at Father Rajesh’s comment that they are just trying to give direction to the children’s dreams. This is because the children are too young to understand that they are witnessing to the mission of Father Rajesh and Father Raymond. But there will be times when their dreams are too far to reach and they won’t have anyone or anything to hold onto but they will remember how Rajesh and Raymond stood by their side and they can always find a reason to hope. This resonates with my experience.’
World Mission Sunday will be celebrated in masses across the Archdiocese, with appeals taking place in St Patrick’s Cathedral. But the Catholic Mission Melbourne team have one eye on Children’s Mission Day on Wednesday October 23, which will see St Patrick’s Cathedral hosting the Annual Children’s Mission Mass. The Mass is open to all schools in the Archdiocese, and Catholic Mission Diocesan Director in Melbourne Kevin Meese says it is an opportunity for young people to celebrate their Catholic identity and shared mission. ‘The Children’s Mission Mass is a longstanding tradition in Melbourne; it’s been held annually for about 30 years and is one of the highlights of the month of October, which of course is an Extraordinary Missionary Month this year.’
Along with more than 30 parishes holding World Mission Appeals around the Archdiocese this weekend, a major event was the Children’s anti-poverty Mass held last Thursday at St Thomas More Church in Bateman. Francis Leong, Diocesan Director for Catholic Mission in Perth, says the Mass had enormous impact for students. ‘The Archdiocesan Anti-Poverty Mass is an integral part of the Extraordinary Missionary Month and in the lead-up to World Mission Sunday, and about 33 schools from Perth Archdiocese joined us for it.
‘We’ll produce the video of the homily from Deacon Aaron Peters, which was an extremely powerful moment for the students in attendance.’
Mr Leong says that, with his interactive homily, Deacon Peters masterfully reached the young people in the pews, who “just loved it” and gave positive feedback. ‘They were given the opportunity to participate and contribute their input,’ he said. ‘It meant they could fully engage with the Mass and develop a newfound commitment to listening to the voice of the poor in the world and doing something to support them.’
Mr Leong believes there will now be quite a bit of follow up work for Judith Nyamuli, Catholic Mission’s Youth and Schools Engagement Coordinator in Perth, to capitalise on the missionary spirit and passion the Mass generated among students and student leaders.
Additionally, many of the students recorded stirring ShoeStories, a youth engagement and sharing initiative of Catholic Mission, as they came out of the event. These will form an integral part of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Perth, at which Catholic Mission will have a strong presence.
The Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Most Reverend Adolfo Tito Yllana, will celebrate Mass with Bishop Michael McCarthy at 9.30am on Sunday at St Joseph’s Cathedral. The Mass will be broadcast on YouTube. Greg Clair, Diocesan Director in Rockhampton, says the anticipation of the Nuncio’s visit is palpable in the diocese. ‘Whilst visiting western and northern areas of the Diocese in my role as Catholic Mission Director over the last fortnight, I am noticing the excitement building up for Bishop Adolfo’s visit this weekend,’ he said. ‘I can’t be certain of what will be in the Nuncio’s homily, but I believe that mission will form an integral part of it.’
You can join the Mass live, or view it later, by heading to the St Joseph’s Cathedral YouTube page.