Pope Francis has dedicated October as an “Extraordinary Mission Month”, with the theme “Baptised and Sent: the Church of Christ on a Mission in the World”. His objectives are to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Maximum Illud, the apostolic letter on mission written by Pope Benedict XV, and to reinvigorate “the responsibility of proclaiming the Gospel with new enthusiasm”. The creation of “missionary parishes” is, after all, one of Pope Francis’s great ambitions.
The Holy Father has specified four ways to prepare for and to live the Extraordinary Month of Mission. First, the Pope is inviting the faith to seek a personal encounter with Our Lord through the Eucharist, the Word of God and through communal and personal prayer. He then recommends an examination of the testimony of the missionary saints, the martyrs and the confessors of the faith.
A third dimension is the practice of “missionary charity”, the commitment of the faithful to support the missionary activity of the Church, and a fourth is biblical, catechetical, spiritual and theological missionary formation of Catholics.
The month may be the perfect way to prepare for the Year of the Word which will be launched in England and Wales on the first Sunday of Advent.