Catholics are called to go on mission, together, and truly be Church, a top churchman said.
Leading the Mission Month celebration in Manila on Oct. 18, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said that mission is not a “do it yourself” task but one that is communal.
“Mission is not just for few individuals but for all of us, even the children and the poor are part of the mission,” Tagle said.
“Mission is in community. Mission is ecclesial, the Church,” he said. “Let us encourage every baptized person… you are sent by Christ and by the Church.”
Thousands of people turned out for the event organized by the Manila archdiocese in coordination with the Pontifical Mission Societies of the Philippines.
Every October, the universal Church celebrates mission month. This year, Pope Francis declared October 2019 Extraordinary Mission Month to revitalize and renew the missionary call in a particular way.
The celebration is also to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter on mission, Maximum Illud.
The Manila gathering featured musical performances, testimonies, and was capped with a Mass, attended by dozens of bishops, priests and the religious.
Also present were Papal nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia and Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao and the head of the Episcopal Conference of the Philippines.
In his homily, the cardinal stressed that by virtue of their baptism, all Catholics are called to be missionaries.
“Every baptized person, living the life of Christ, by sharing in his death and resurrection, is also sent on mission,” Tagle said.
But to be missionaries, he stressed the importance of having a “personal encounter with Jesus”.
Such a thing, according to him, is a requirement for growth in baptism and mission.
“No mission, no proclamation of the Gospel without an encounter with Jesus who is the Gospel,” he said.
The cardinal added that mission is also fundamentally “witnessing to Christ”, which means “bearing the Cross, especially the cross of helplessness”.
He also said that charity is central to the Church’s mission, and Catholics are called to share it with the world, especially those in need.