Roman Catholic 
Diocese of Ogdensburg

Weekly Mission Column

Mission Column October 20, 2021

Quotes from the message of Pope Francis 
for the celebrationof World Mission Sunday 2021


Once we experience the power of God’s love, and recognize His fatherly presence in our personal and community life, we cannot help but proclaim and share what we have seen and heard…. “Go therefore to the highways and byways, and invite everyone you find” (Mt 22:9). No one is excluded, no one need feel distant or removed from this compassionate love…. As Christians, we cannot keep the Lord to ourselves: the Church’s evangelizing mission finds outward fulfillment in the transformation of our world and in the care of creation…. The theme of this year’s World Mission (Sun)day – “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20), is a summons to each of us to “own” and to bring to others what we bear in our hearts. 


The first Christians began the life of faith amid hostility and hardship…those experiences impelled them to turn problems, conflicts and difficulties into opportunities for mission… Nothing and no one was to be excluded from the message of liberation. Like the Apostles and the first Christians, we too can say with complete conviction: “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Everything we have received from the Lord is meant to be put to good use and freely shared with others….The first Christians, far from yielding to the temptation to become an elite group, were inspired by the Lord and His offer of new life to go out among the nations and to bear witness to what they had seen and heard: the good news that the Kingdom of God is at hand…. 


The pandemic has brought to the fore and amplified the pain, the solitude, the poverty, and the injustices experienced by so many people. In these days of pandemic…. there is urgent need for the mission of compassion, which can make that necessary (social) distancing an opportunity for encounter, care and promotion. “What we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20), the mercy we have experienced, can thus become a point of reference and a source of credibility enabling us to recover a shared passion for building “a community of belonging and solidarity worthy of our time, our energy and our resources” (Fratelli Tutti, 36). 


On World Mission (Sun)day, which we celebrate on the penultimate Sunday of October, we recall with gratitude all those men and women who by their testimony of life help us to renew our baptismal commitment to be generous and joyful apostles of the Gospel. Let us remember especially all those who resolutely set out, leaving home and family behind, to bring the Gospel to all those places and people athirst for its saving message. To be on mission is to be willing to think as Christ does, to believe with Him that those around us are also my brothers and sisters. May His compassionate love touch our hearts and make us all true missionary disciples.