It is time for the Pontifical Missin Societies to “re-qualify”. That was the key message Pope Francis delivered June 1, 2018, to the National Directors of the societies, on the occasion of the annual General Assembly taking place from May 28 to June 2 at the Fraterna Domus of Sacrofano.
“What does it mean for you, the Pontifical Mission Societies, who, together with the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples are preparing the Extraordinary Missionary Month, to re-qualify oneself evangelically?,” the Holy Father asked. His answer: “I believe it simply means a missionary conversion.
“We need to re-qualify – the intuition of Benedict XV – to redevelop ourselves starting from the mission of Jesus, to re-qualify in the effort to collect and distribute material aid in the light of the mission and formation that it requires, so that conscience, awareness and missionary responsibility become once again part of the ordinary experience of the whole holy faithful People of God.”
Pope Francis set October 2019, as Extraordinary Mission Month with the theme: “Baptized and sent out: the Church of Christ on a mission in the world”. The theme stresses that mission is inherent in Baptism.”
“We ourselves are mission because we are God’s love communicated, we are God’s holiness created in His image,” Francis continued. “The mission is, therefore, our own sanctification and that of the whole world, ever since creation (cf. Eph 1: 3-6). The missionary dimension of our Baptism thus translates into a witness of holiness that gives life and beauty to the world.”
To prepare for the special month, the Pope is calling for the societies to “re-qualify” in several aspects: hearts, works, and organization. And he stresses the need to provide more than material aid.
“We must be renewed so as not to end up in the museum,” Francis said. “You are well aware of my concern at the danger that your work will be reduced to the mere monetary dimension of material aid – this is a real concern – turning you into an agency like many others, even though of Christian inspiration.”
Pope Francis in recent days has emphasized the importance of vital mission work for the Church. In his message, for World Mission Sunday 2018, he stressed that each person has a mission in life and the Church proclaims Christ’s message and shares with young people “the way and truth which give meaning to our life on this earth.”
Pope Francis on May 28, 2018, asked for prayers for missionaries, stressing their important work around the world. His words came in a video message at the beginning of the meeting of the mission societies.
“Renewing the Pontifical Mission Societies means, therefore, to take to heart, with serious and courageous commitment, the sanctity of each person and of the Church as a family and a community,” the Pope urged in his June 1 address. “I ask you to renew with creativity the nature and action of the Pontifical Mission Societies, placing them at the service of the mission, so that at the heart of our concerns there may be the holiness of the life of missionary disciples.”