Today’s feast of St. Thérèse begins the month of missions for many local Churches.
St. Thérèse (1873-1897) is with St. Francis Xavier, the patron of missions.
World Missions Day will be celebrated on the third Sunday of the month, October 19, though in some countries the Day is moved to another Sunday for pastoral reasons.
This year on Mission Day the closure of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will be celebrated, and the beatification of Pope Paul VI, who in his more than fifteen years of pontificate gave a strong impetus to the missionary awareness of all members of the Church through his teaching and his missionary journeys.
In much of the world, the Catholic Church celebrates October as the “Month of the Missions”, using the many resources that the National Board of the Pontifical Mission Societies prepares in order to recall the duty of every Christian to cooperate in the Church’s universal mission with prayer and economic support.
October was chosen as a missionary month to commemorate the discovery of the American continent, which opened a new page in the history of evangelization.
At the opening of his Message for World Mission Day 2014, the Holy Father points out that “today vast numbers of people still do not know Jesus Christ. For this reason, the mission ad gentes continues to be most urgent. All the members of the Church are called to participate in this mission, for the Church is missionary by her very nature: she was born “to go forth”. World Mission Day is a privileged moment when the faithful of various continents engage in prayer and concrete gestures of solidarity in support of the young Churches in mission lands. It is a celebration of grace and joy”