October is the month that the Church dedicates specifically to the Missions. We begin the month celebrating the feast of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1 Oct), she along with St Francis Xavier are patrons of the Missions.
During this month the faithful in all parishes should be informed about the realities of the Church’s mission activities throughout the world. It is the responsibility of each and every priest and pastoral agent to explain to their parishioners the immense needs and poverty, both physical and spiritual, of so many Catholic communities throughout the world, particularly in so called “Mission Countries”.
Every Catholic should be well informed as to the tremendous necessity that remains for the missionary activity of the Church in so many parts of the world. Billions of people still have not received the Good News of Jesus Christ. In too many countries small Christian minorities live in situations of poverty, alienation and even persecution. This past year we have experienced the abduction and/or killing of numerous missionaries — priests, religious and laity. This past week a Spanish missionary, Sr Isabele Sola Matas was shot dead in Haiti.
There are over 7 billion people living in the world, about 2,2bn are Christians, of which, just over half are Catholics meaning that only about 16% of the world’s population are Catholic. Sadly 1,1 bn people claim to have no religion whatsoever. If we are committed Catholics then we have to be Missionary Disciples and these statistics should move us to action. A true Christian cannot be indifferent to the plight of billions who live without the liberating message of Jesus Christ.