Missionary October. A task for all Christians

From the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis spoke of an ‘outbound church’ and of ‘missio ad gentes’. Today, he invites us to take a step further, with an "extraordinary time dedicated to missionary work". Which concerns "every baptized person".

‘I have asked that the whole church revive her missionary awareness and commitment’. In his message for Pentecost, from last June, Pope Francis, with these words, called for October 2019 to be a ‘missionary month’. One hundred years after Benedict XV’s apostolic letter, Maximum illud (30 November 1919), which Francis deemed farsighted and prophetic, Francis’ invitation, in his own apostolic proposal, responds, above all, to a concern for every Christian. We are challenged ‘first and foremost, to rediscover the missionary dimension of our faith in Jesus Christ, a faith graciously bestowed on us in baptism’.

Fr. Donato Contuzzi, missionary of the Fraternity of St. Charles in Taiwan

The title of the initiative, ‘Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World’, derives precisely from here, from the first attribute of Catholics. No ‘product for sale, no proselytism, Francis explains: rather, ‘a treasure to be given, communicated and proclaimed: that is the meaning of mission’. And it concerns everyone: ‘every baptized man and woman is a mission. People in love never stand still: they are drawn out of themselves, they are attracted and attract others in turn; they give themselves to others and build relationships that are life-giving. As far as God’s love is concerned, no one is useless or insignificant. Each of us is a mission to the world, for each of us is the fruit of God’s love.’

Read Pope Francis’ message for the Extraordinary Missionary Month

The official website for Missionary October, regulated by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and by the Pontifical Mission Societies, offers, as well as information, indications of method and news, also many past and present testimonies. Among these are testimonies of the priests of the Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo in Taiwan, of Andrea Nembrini from the Luigi Giussani School in Kampala, Uganda, Barbara Pepoli, a missionary in Lagos, Nigeria, and Filippo Ciantia, a doctor in Uganda.