England and Wales Re-Launches "Missio"

Prelate Affirms Shared Mission of the Church

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LONDON, SEPT. 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Church in England and Wales re-launched its national chapter of the Pontifical Mission Societies under a new name, «Missio,» affirming its cooperative effort between priests and lay people.

This rebranding, announced in June, officially took place today in a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster.

In his homily, the prelate affirmed that this network of support for young churches, by taking on its new name, gives testimony to «that cooperation between lay people and their priests, a cooperation which is not new but which is as important today as ever.»

Monsignor John Dale, national director for Missio, explained, «As a symbol of unity in faith and mission, several of the European offices have chosen to share a single name, Missio, a word that is simple and easily recognizable in many languages.»

He added, «Missio, from the Latin ‘sending out,’ also expresses commitment to the God-given mission of the Church.»

Archbishop Nichols stated, «This ‘missio,’ this ‘sending’ is central to the dynamic of the Gospel.»

«It is a dynamic in which we all share, for at the end of every Mass there is indeed a ‘missio,'» he added. «We are sent out to fulfill our share in the mission given to us by the Lord.»

«Yes,» the prelate affirmed, «the mission we receive is one and the same as the mission of Christ himself.»

Human development

He continued: «This ‘missio’ of the Eternal Word into our flesh and history gives all the defining characteristics of our sharing in that mission, in our work of ‘missio’ today.

«It is the full revelation of integral human development and establishes forever the need for the Gospel to be present as an essential part of human progress.

«Only in the Gospel is the full truth of our humanity told; only in the Gospel, which is Christ, does our humanity come to its true source and fulfillment, the mystery of God and God’s unequivocal love.»

The organization oversees assistance given to 1,069 mission dioceses worldwide through the collection of donations and support for specific needs, including 194,855 schools, 5,246 hospitals, 17,530 dispensaries, 577 leprosy centers and 80,560 other social and pastoral projects.

Funds are collected in the dioceses and then sent directly to the bishops of the mission territories.

The Pontifical Mission Societies, claiming members in many countries, have the goal of nurturing younger Churches worldwide until they are self-sufficient, with their own indigenous priests, religious and laity.

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On the Net:

Mission in England and Wales: www.missio.org.uk

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