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October 7, 2011

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

“As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” These words spoken by Christ in the Gospel of John serve as the theme for this year’s World Mission Sunday. Next Sunday, October 16, our diocese will celebrate World Mission Sunday and our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, reminds us that we must be a Church committed to being “builders of communion, of peace and of solidarity.” On this occasion we unite with Catholics throughout the world in a special pledge to the missionary task that we all share. 

All Catholics have the opportunity to fulfill their baptismal responsibility for sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ through their active participation in the efforts of the four Pontifical Mission Societies: The Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious.

The first three of these societies seek prayer, sacrifice and financial support for the Church’s missionary work, and provide financial assistance for the pastoral and evangelizing programs of the Church in Africa, Asia, the islands of the Pacific and remote regions of Latin America.  This includes aid for the education and support of seminarians, religious novices and lay catechists; for the work of religious communities in education, health care and social services; for communication and transportation needs;  for disaster and emergency relief;  and for the Church’s ministry to children.

The Missionary Union of Priests and Religious is a spiritual apostolate that helps deepen a missionary spirit among priests and religious men and women, catechists and educators who help inspire the faithful.  All can be a part of this effort, especially through prayer and through encouraging others to come to an awareness of their own role in the Church’s missionary work by virtue of their Baptism.

I urge all in our diocesan family to share in the work of evangelization, offering your prayers and sacrifices for the Church’s missionary efforts, and in a special way on this World Missionary Sunday.  Your generosity to the collection next weekend will nurture the lives and faith of our brothers and sisters in 1,100 mission dioceses.  It will also be a source of blessing for our own Diocese as we place evangelization at the heart of our life as Church.

With every prayerful best wish, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Robert J. McManus

Bishop of Worcester

(Please read or print this letter in the parish bulletin on the weekend of October 8-9, and take the collection for World Missions (Propagation of the Faith) at all Masses on the weekend of October 15-16.)