“The extraordinary missionary Month of October 2019 is an extraordinary occasion for the Church to renew the missionary zeal, which is also the great purpose of the Pontifical Mission Societies. The point is as follows: how to introduce the missionary dimension in ordinary pastoral care, which is also the big objective of the Evangelii Gaudium?”
This is the reflection proposed by Archbishop Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, President of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), November 15, 2018, at the General Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference, reported by Fides News Agency.
“The extraordinary missionary Month falls on the centenary of the Maximum illud letter of Benedict XV,” he said. “For the history of the mission, this document marks a decisive border, for at least two reasons: it has separated, evangelically renewing, the work of evangelization from the work of colonization and insisted on the creation of a clergy and an autochthonous hierarchy in mission lands.”
Moreover, in line with the Vatican Council II, which brought the missio ad gentes back to the responsibility of every baptized person (see AG 5), the choice of the theme for the next extraordinary missionary Month is “Baptized and sent. The Church of Christ on a mission in the world”. “The Holy Father,” explained the President of the PMS, “has chosen this theme that contains in itself the essential elements to be taken into account in planning and living this initiative. We received divine life during our baptism and thanks to it we are prophets, that is, announcers of the mystery of Christ, sent by Him. Christ who sends us is also the essential content of the mission: the Church does not transmit her own message but transmits what she has received from Christ, that is, her own person”.
Archbishop Dal Toso in this regard illustrated the nature and mission of the Pontifical Mission Societies, which are “a worldwide network at the service of the Pope to support the mission and the young Churches through prayer and charity”. They “are Societies of the Pope, through which the Pope takes care of the many pastoral needs of the young Churches”, he recalled and “this deep connection with the Petrine ministry is also evident by the fact that the same Pius XI wanted World Mission Day at the end of the 1920s and since then he wanted the collection of that Day to be destined to the Pontifical Society of the Propagation of the Faith, exactly as an expression of the care of the universal Church for the Churches throughout the world”.
“The great task of the PMS is the awareness for mission, which – in the wake of all the teachings of the Popes and the Council – is a task of the whole People of God. The PMS have the special mandate to keep this spirit alive, and this is the purpose for which the extraordinary missionary Month of October 2019 will be celebrated”.