The theme, the logo, the Website and the guide of the Mission’s Extraordinary Month, announced for October 2019, were presented during a press conference on Friday, November 30, 2018, in the Vatican.
Instituted officially by Pope Francis – in a letter addressed to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and published on October 22, 2017 –, the Extraordinary Month is being organized on the occasion of the centenary of the promulgation of Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud on missionary activity (November 30, 1919). Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; Monsignor Giampietro Dal Toso, President of the Pontifical Missionary Works and Assistant Secretary of the Dicastery; Father Fabrizio Meroni of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, Secretary General of the Pontifical Missionary Union, Director of the International Center of Missionary Animation and Director of the Vatican missionary agency Fides, presented the event.
A video on the Missionary Month has been made, a two-minute extract of which was projected during the press conference.
The theme of the Mission’s Extraordinary Month is “Baptized and Sent: Christ’s Church on Mission in the World,” states a press release, stressing that “the mission is understood as a proposal of faith that God makes to man.”
Cardinal Filoni reaffirmed the implication of the whole Church in the missionary impulse, as the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council desired: “All that is done for love creates a fundamental relationship. The mission, if it’s born of a faith that you love, is a relationship,” explained the Cardinal. The missionary activity is the paradigm of each work of the Church, continued the Cardinal. In this connection, the Episcopal Conferences, the parishes, the dioceses of the world and also the Movements must be constituted in a permanent missionary state. “There is no aspect of our activity that doesn’t make reference to the mission,” stressed Cardinal Filoni.
The official Website was also presented during the press conference. “The site was created to promote and animate the Extraordinary Mission Month of October 2019, in order to contribute, through the multi-media contents that will be inserted there, to inspire the times of prayer and reflection on the Missio ad Gentes of all Christians,” explained Father Fabrizio Meroni
The site has sections dedicated to particular themes where important texts of the Magisterium and of the Pontifical Missionary Works will be available. There are rubrics dedicated to “Witnesses,” with stories of Blesseds, Saints, and Martyrs of yesterday and today; to “Formation,” with texts that can inspire the missionary animation; the “Voice of the World” section, dedicated to today’s mission with testimonies and writings of missionaries and directors of the Pontifical Missionary Works of different countries, as well as the Guide of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019.
The text written at the initiative of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Missionary Works has as its objective “to serve the different dioceses in the needs of missionary formation and animation,” as well as to “inspire the creativity of local Churches and their faithful.”
The parts that make up the Guide, explains the note, “correspond to the spiritual dimensions that the Holy Father indicated to us on initiating the Extraordinary Missionary Month: the personal encounter with Jesus Christ living in the Church, the witness of Saints and Martyrs of the mission, and the catechetical formation to the mission and to missionary charity.”
The text will be published in English, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Beginning November 30, the English version of the Guide will be available for download in PDF format in early 2019.
A specially conceived logo for the Extraordinary Missionary Month represents “a missionary cross whose traditional colors recall the five Continents.” A press release explained that “The Cross is the instrument and the effective sign of communion between God and men for the mission’s universality: it is luminous, colored, a sign of victory and resurrection.”
The words “Baptized and Sent,” which accompany the image, point out the “two characteristic elements of every Christian: Baptism and proclamation.
The cross’ colors have a particular significance. “The red — read the press release — recalls the blood of the Martyrs of the American Continent, seeds of a new life in the Christian faith. The green is the color of life and symbolizes growth, fertility, youth, and vitality. Green is also the color of hope, one of the three theological virtues. The white is a symbol of joy, the beginning of a new life in Christ . . . The yellow is the color of light . . . The blue is the color of the water of the life that quenches us and restores us on the way of God; it’s the color of our sky, a sign of God’s dwelling with us men.”