John Paul II Hailed Missionaries as "Bread Broken"

Vatican Publishes Message for World Mission Sunday

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 15, 2005 ( For John Paul II, missionaries were «bread broken for the life of the world.»

The Vatican press office published today the message signed Feb. 22 by John Paul II for World Mission Sunday, to be celebrated Oct. 23.

In the year he convoked for the Eucharist, which will conclude in October, the message is entitled: «Mission: Bread Broken for the Life of the World.»

«Still today Christ urges his disciples: ‘Give them some food yourselves’ (Matthew 14:16),» said the Pope.

«In his name missionaries all over the world proclaim and witness to the Gospel. Through their efforts there resound once again the words of the Redeemer: ‘ am the bread of life; he who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst’ (John 6:35),» he wrote.

«They too become ‘bread broken’ for their brothers, some even to the point of sacrificing their lives,» he added.

«How many missionary martyrs there are in our day! May their example draw numerous young men and women to tread the path of heroic fidelity to Christ!» he stated.

During the year 2004, for example, the Holy See’s missionary agency Fides reported the death of 15 Catholic missionaries.

«The Church has need of men and women willing to consecrate themselves wholly to the great cause of the Gospel,» said the Pope in his message.

Therefore, John Paul II hoped that World Mission Sunday would be «an opportune occasion to increase our awareness of the urgent necessity to participate in the evangelizing mission undertaken by the local Communities and many Church organizations, in particular, the Pontifical Mission Societies and the Missionary Institutes,» he said.

John Paul II appealed to the faithful to support the Pontifical Mission Societies «generously with spiritual and material cooperation.»

The Pontifical Mission Societies is an institution of the universal Church and of each local Church. The objective of the organization is to support the missionary activity of the Church in non-Christian areas. It is part of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

In an unusual step, the Holy See also issued a Chinese translation of the message.

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