Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

1/28/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Lord of the harvest is calling workers into the fields of contemporary culture which are ripe and ready for harvest.

Pope Benedict XVI does not want "Mission Sunday" 2011 to pass by as one more commemoration in our liturgical observance. Rather, he wants it to ignite a fervent missionary movement in the Catholic Church. He is calling the entire Catholic Church into a new missionary age. We are living in a global moment of need and Pope Benedict XVI is calling us all to become missionaries. Let us here the call and respond.

Pope Benedict XVI at a Wednesday General Audience

Pope Benedict XVI at a Wednesday General Audience

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/28/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Mission, missionary, New Evangelization, pope Benedict XVI, World Mission Sunday, Deacon Keith Fournier


VATICAN CITY, (Catholic Online) - On the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, January 25, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI made public his message for World Mission Sunday. It is entitled "As the Father has sent me, so I send you "(Jn 20:21) World Mission Sunday falls on October 23, 2011. The full text of this message will soon be available in English on the Vatican website. However, my very rough translation of the Italian persuaded me to do what I could to expose as many of the faithful I could to this heartfelt and urgent summons given to all of us by the successor of Peter.

Clearly, Pope Benedict XVI does not want "Mission Sunday" 2011 to pass by as one more commemoration in our liturgical observance. Rather, he wants it to ignite a fervent missionary movement in the Catholic Church. He is calling the entire Catholic Church into a new missionary age. 

Pope Benedict XVI begins his message quoting the Venerable John Paul II, from his apostolic letter at the turn of the New Millennium and his encyclical letter on the permanent validity of the Churches Missionary Vocation. He then calls every member of the Church to proclaim the Gospel to everyone "with the same enthusiasm as the early Christians" explaining "the Gospel is not the exclusive property of those who received it, but it is a gift to share, good news to report. And this gift-commitment is given not only to some, but to all the baptized, who are "chosen race ... a holy people, God's own people" (1 Peter 2:9), may declare his wonderful works."

Pope Benedict reminds us all that the Church "exists to evangelize" with an urgency reminiscent of the Saint whose feast we celebrated the day this message was made public. He writes,"This task has lost none of its urgency.We cannot rest easy at the thought that, after two thousand, there are people who still do not know Christ, who have not yet heard His message of salvation." 

Here he is speaking of the missionary mandate of the Church "ad gentes" , to the Nations. The Church has always taught that every single human being on the face of the earth has a right to hear the liberating Gospel message of Jesus Christ as fully revealed in the heart of His Catholic Church. However, in order to be able to engage this task, Catholic Christians need to be renewed in their own Baptismal faith through an encounter with the Risen Lord and solid catechesis in living as a Catholic Christian.

This is what is meant by the "New Evangelization". The Pope writes, " there are growing numbers of people who, though having received the Gospel announcement, have forgotten or abandoned it and no longer identify themselves in the Church; and many environments, even in traditionally Christian societies, are reluctant to open themselves to the word of faith."

Throughout his pontificate, John Paul II called for this "New Evangelization".  Pope Benedict XVI has made it a pillar of his pontificate. He erected a Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization charged with re-evangelizing countries where the Gospel was announced centuries ago, but where its presence in peoples' daily life seems to be all but lost. He constantly reminds us that cultures formerly infused with a Christian culture are desperately in need of being evangelized anew. His encouragement of the predominantly lay ecclesial movements in the Church is an indicator of the seriousness with which he views this task.

When the Venerable John Paul visited the Americas he released a letter "To the Church in America" in which he wrote, "The new Evangelization calls for a clearly conceived, serious, and well organized effort to evangelize culture. The Son of God, by taking upon Himself our human nature, became incarnate within a particular people, even though His redemptive death brought redemption to all people, of every culture, race and condition. The gift of His Spirit and His love are meant for each and every people and culture, in order to bring them all into unity after the perfect unity existing in the Triune God." (Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia in America, 70)

This New Evangelization invites each of us to live our baptismal vocation, no matter what our state in life, completely given over to the work of the Lord. It is meant to bring about an authentic renewal of the Church so that she can undertake a new missionary outreach to the whole world. Only a Church fully alive in the Lord and filled with His Spirit can carry out such an evangelical mission. I believe we are at the beginning of a great resurgence in the Catholic Church precisely for this new missionary age. Just when her opponents are ready to count the Catholic Church out, the sleeping giant is rising.

In this World Mission Sunday message the Pope reaffirms the mission ad gentes, to the Nations. He underscores the clear teaching of the Second Vatican Council that , "The pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature, since it is from the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit that she draws her origin, in accordance with the decree of God the Father" (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree. Ad Gentes, 2).

The Church is Christ's plan for the entire world. The early Fathers called her the "world reconciled." There is no "plan B" through which He will save this world. She is a universal sign, sacrament and seed of the kingdom of God. The early Christians would have never understood the notion in some contemporary Christian circles that anyone could follow Jesus and not "need" the Church.

Saint Cyprian (A.D. 258) wrote, "He who has turned his back on the Church of Christ shall not come to the rewards of Christ; he is an alien, a worldling, an enemy. You cannot have God for your Father if you have not the Church for your mother. Our Lord warns us when He says: `he that is not with Me is against Me, and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth.' Whosoever breaks the peace and harmony of Christ acts against Christ; whoever gathers elsewhere than in the Church scatters the Church of Christ." (On The Unity of the Catholic Church)

The contemporary culture has thrown off almost every remnant of Christian influence. It has embraced a new paganism. What Pope Benedict calls the "Dictatorship of Relativism" is the bad fruit of a rejection of the idea that truth even exists.  As a result, like Cain, western culture wanders aimlessly in a land of Nod, East of Eden.

We need to view the entirety of the American continent as missionary territory, ripe for the New Evangelization. We also need to view the once Christian Nations of the European continent as missionary territory.  Most importantly, we need to view ourselves as missionaries in a new missionary age, enlisted by the Church, and by the successor of Peter, to get to work.

The Lord of the harvest is calling workers into the fields of contemporary culture which are ripe and ready for harvest. We are living in a new missionary age and Pope Benedict XVI is calling us all to become missionaries. Let us here the call and respond. 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Living Faith

Why do Catholics love the crucifix so much?

Image of The crucifix is an important part of our Catholic identity.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The crucifix is a quintessentially Catholic icon. Although other Christians fondly and proudly display the cross, it is the crucifix that is largely unique to the Catholics. Why is the symbol of the death of Christ so important to Catholics? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


POPE: 'A man who is alone ends up bitter, not fruitful, and he gossips about others' Watch

Image of The pope told the priests that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"A man who is alone ends up bitter, not fruitful, and he gossips about others." Those are the words of the Pope, speaking out during a meeting with 123 priests working in the Diocese of Caserta along with 19 bishops from Italy's Campania region this past ... continue reading


UPROOTED: Largest displacement of worldwide religious communities reached last year Watch

Image of In the nation of Central African Republic, widespread lawlessness and violence between Christians and Muslims resulted in at least 700 deaths in Bangui in December -- alone.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The year of 2013 turned out to be a very grim year indeed for religious tolerance and diversity. Millions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others representing a range of faiths were forced from their homes on account of their religious beliefs. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Papal visit to US not confirmed, but archbishop confident

Image of Pope Francis coming to Philly next September!

By Catholic News Agency (News Consortium)

Lets all Pray that Pope Francis comes to visit us here in the United States of America. Philadelphia, PA  (CNA/EWTN) - Reports that Pope Francis will travel to the U.S. for the World Meeting of Families in 2015 remain unconfirmed by the Vatican; however, ... continue reading


Catholic should be a way of life, not just a Sunday thing

Image of Catholic means universal. It's time to apply that to how we live.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To know the way forward, we must look to the past. As the very first chapter Ecclesiastes tells us, "there is no new thing under the sun," meaning that everything we think of as new is actually old and whatever we can imagine has been imagined, and even tried by those ... continue reading


Let the Holy Spirit Teach us How to Become Prayer Watch

Image of St. Paul wrote to the early Christians in Greece, telling them to pray without ceasing. (1 Th. 5:16-19) They did not live lives of ease, in any sense of the word. They had families, occupations, bills, and yes, difficulties and struggles beyond what many of us could imagine. They also suffered greatly for their faith. Yet, he instructed them to Pray without ceasing. Did he really mean it? I believe that he did.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When the Spirit dwells in a person, from the moment in which that person has become prayer, he never leaves him. For the Spirit himself never ceases to pray in him. Whether the person is asleep or awake, prayer never from then on departs from his soul. Whether he ... continue reading


Pope Francis meets, blesses Sudanese woman condemned to death for faith Watch

Image of Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death for apostasy, but has since escaped her sentence and left Sudan.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has met and blessed the Sudanese woman who was recently condemned to death for her faith. Meriam Ibrahim was condemned to death in Sudan for the crime of apostasy. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis has met and blessed Meriam Ibrahim at the ... continue reading


MIRACLE IN ENGLAND: God's face smiles over Norfolk, or is it Sean Connery or Karl Marx? Watch

Image of This image is suspected to show the face of God in clouds over Norfolk, however, it may also be the face of Karl Marx or Sean Connery.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The English have long thought themselves special, and a new photograph from Norfolk in England may just prove that God does indeed smile on the English. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Amateur photographer Jeremy Fletcher took an image that shows a face in ... continue reading


Pope Francis to visit Mafia stronghold this weekend Watch

Image of Pope Francis' stance against organized crime is seen as remarkable; the Mafia and the Catholic Church have previously been seen by many as having

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Incensed about the loss of innocent life in his immediate surroundings, Pope Francis plans to travel to the Mafia stronghold of Caserta, near Naples this weekend in an effort to set things right. The murder of three-year-old Nicola "Coco" Campolongo, a boy who ... continue reading


Pope expresses regret with exodus of Christians from Mosul Watch

Image of

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

In his weekly Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis mourned the fleeing of the last Christians from the Iraqi city of Mosul, who were told by ISIS forces last week to either convert, pay the Jizya tax or leave. (CNA/EWTN News) - "They are persecuted; our brothers are ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
10 A disaster for me, mother, that you bore me to be ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
2 rescue me from evil-doers, from men of violence ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-46
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2014 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter