World Mission Sunday

 Every parish in the world will celebrate World Mission Sunday on 19 October as a sign of the Church's global solidarity in mission. The APF which co-ordinates World Mission Sunday is urging all Catholics in England and Wales to take part in this special day of prayer and generosity.

Across the world and especially in the rapidly-expanding Church in Africa and Asia, young churches, which often face extreme difficulties, urgently need support. Many mission dioceses would be forced to close without help from the Association for the Propagation of the Faith (APF), the ONLY Church organisation that supports the growth and development of ALL of the 1,075 Mission dioceses worldwide.

In England and Wales, the collection on World Mission Sunday helps to support 194,855 schools, 5,246 hospitals, 17,530 dispensaries, 577 leprosy centres and 80,560 social and pastoral projects.

The World Mission Sunday theme for 2008 is 'Help others to see Jesus'.

In places such as Zimbabwe, people search for God in the midst of great hardship.

Bishop Schölz of Chinhoyi in Zimbabwe, wrote to the APF London headquarters saying: "Droughts and famine are regular occurrences and our children grow up with an overwhelming experience of hunger... Life on the border has, for most people, been a precarious existence on the border of life. The hardships and suffering have had a profound impact on our faith and pastoral approach... for several years...the people had to nourish their faith from their own spiritual resources."

"During the conflict, Regina Kagura walked 80 miles once a month from her village to Mount Darwin through very dangerous territory to attend Mass and have a word with the priest. Thus strengthened she returned to her village where she was the pillar of faith for her community. She sustained her people for three years. She has died but her faith lives on and continues to inspire younger Catholics. One of our catechists was martyred; one of our priests is still in hiding."

"In rural communities throughout Africa, in the absence of a priest, the life of the Church continues under the direction of a catechist and the Small Christian Communities. There might actually be more than one priest in a parish, but there can be as many as 50 or 60 sub-parishes, with the possibility of Mass only once or twice in the course of a single year. The parish catechist and the Small Christian Community (SCC) is absolutely vital for the daily life of the Church in such parishes.

"In choosing Small Christian Communities as our preferred pastoral method, we are building on the faith of these women and men, on their suffering and on the sacrifice of their lives. The subsidy we have received from England and Wales in 2007 will help us train a new generation of lay leaders and sustain them in our present dire situation. Thank you. We are deeply grateful for the support of our brothers and sisters."

Source: CCN

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