Message from the Pope for Mission Day: Every Christian is a witness of Christ in daily life
Pope Francis releases his message for World Mission Day 2022, celebrated on October 23, and urges all Christians to proclaim Christ’s message of salvation in all aspects of our daily lives.
By Devin Watkins
Since 1926, the Church has celebrated World Mission Day, which falls in 2022 on October 23.
As the Church celebrates Epiphany on Thursday, Pope Francis released his message for the event focused on the theme, âYou Will Be My Witnessesâ (Acts 1: 8).
“You will be my witnesses”
The Pope reflected on three foundations of âthe life and mission of each discipleâ. The first, he said, is “the call of every Christian to bear witness to Christ”, calling it “the heart of Jesus’ teaching to the disciples.”
Pope Francis said that Christ was the first to be sent to proclaim, as the Father’s missionary and as his âfaithful witnessâ.
Living in a missionary key
The Pope said that every baptized Christian is called to accomplish the mission of the Church in a communal manner, even in the ordinary activities of our daily life.
Christians, he added, are sent on mission by the Church in the name of Christ, and never on our own initiative. He noted that Jesus sent the disciples in pairs because “Christians’ testimony to Christ is primarily of a communal nature.”
Missionaries, Pope Francis said, proclaim the Good News of God’s salvation in Christ, not their own powers or qualities of persuasion.
âIn evangelization,â he added, âthe example of a Christian life and the proclamation of Christ are inseparable. One is at the service of the other.
“To the end of the earth”
Pope Francis then envisioned a second foundation for Christian mission: âto the ends of the earthâ.
He said the early disciples gradually broadened the scope of their mission and experienced an image of the Church âgoing outâ and guided by divine Providence, not the desire to proselytize.
In the face of persecution, the early Christians fled their homeland, taking the gospel with them to new countries, which is happening today.
Pope Francis added that the phrase âto the ends of the earthâ also challenges modern Christians to proclaim Christ to those who have yet to meet him.
“The power of the Holy Spirit”
The Pope then approached the third foundation of the mission: âYou will receive the power of the Holy Spiritâ.
He said the Spirit broke the bonds of fear of the apostles in the early days after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The Spirit prompted St. Peter to deliver his missionary address to the people of Jerusalem, as the Acts recount, marking the beginning of an “era in which the disciples of Jesus evangelized the world.”
Pope Francis added that Christians are only able to bear âa full and authentic witness of Christ the Lord without the inspiration and assistance of the Spirit.
Prayer, said the Pope, plays an important role in missionary life because it âenables us to be refreshed and strengthened by the Spirit as an inexhaustible divine source of renewed energy and joy to share the life of Christ with others “.
Notable missionary birthdays
Pope Francis then said that 2022 sees several notable anniversaries in the missionary spirit of the Church.
The first is the 400e anniversary since the founding of the Sacred Congregation The Fide Propaganda, today Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
This year also marks the 200e anniversary of the founding of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith by a young French woman, Pauline Jaricot, who will be beatified in 2022.
100 years ago, Pope Saint Paul VI granted the Company the status of âPontificalâ, together with the Association of the Holy Childhood and the Company of Saint Peter the Apostle.
Pope Francis prayed that the local Churches âfind in these Societies a sure way of fostering the missionary spirit among the People of Godâ.
New era of Christian mission
In conclusion, the Pope expressed his dream of seeing a âcompletely missionary Church and a new era of missionary activity among Christian communitiesâ.