What is The Extraordinary Month of Mission?
This year Mission Month has even greater significance as Pope Francis has announced it as ‘The Extraordinary Month of Mission’ (EMM). The importance of October for the awareness and financial support of mission is already well established, with Mission Sunday falling on it’s second last Sunday. However, this year it has even greater importance, with Pope Francis specifically asking us to pray and act so that mission and the Church can strengthen and grow.
What is the inspiration for The EMM?
Pope Francis announced the month to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud on overseas mission. He describes Maximum Illud as a ‘milestone in the evolution of the Church’s missionary work’. It repeats the biblical instruction for Catholics to ‘go to the ends of the earth and preach the Gospel’, while also recognising the importance of training religious people who come from and live in local communities. Maximum Illud highlights the importance in developing local churches and its people so that they may thrive.
What are the theme and aims of The EMM?
To reignite and reenergise our understanding and awareness of overseas mission, Pope Francis has themed the month ‘Baptised and sent: the Church of Christ on mission in the world’. For the preparation and implementation of the month, he has outlined four focus areas:
- A personal encounter with Jesus Christ living in his Church: in the Eucharist, in the Word of God.
- Testimony: missionary saints, martyrs, and confessors of the faith as an expression of the Church.
- Missionary formation: biblical, catechetical, spiritual, and theological.
- Missionary charity.
Therefore, in a nutshell, the aims of The EMM are:
- To encourage Catholics into a deeper relationship with Jesus through prayer.
- To look to and learn from the actions and sacrifices made by our Saints, martyrs and living missionaries.
- To rediscover and renew our understanding of overseas mission. (ad gentes)
- To financially support mission.
What is your role in The EMM?
The Holy Father wants The EMM to be an opportunity for reflection and prayer by the whole Church. He also wants it to be celebrated by as many Catholics as possible. Therefore, all parishes, dioceses, religious congregations, Church organisations and YOU are being asked to get behind and support the month by developing events and initiatives to bring the month to life.
To help, over the coming months World Missions Ireland will work with it’s international offices to provide EMM materials. However, Pope Francis encourages you to live and celebrate this extraordinary month with absolute creativity and freedom. More information (including testimonials, voices from the missions, and a guidebook for dioceses) is available on the Vatican’s official EMM2019 website HERE.