Pope Francis plans an Extraordinary Missionary Month for October 2019 to awaken the commitment of the missio ad gentes and transform ordinary pastoral outreach along missionary lines, informed AsiaNews.
PUBLISHED ONMar 2018
Pope Francis wrote a letter to Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, promulgating an “Extraordinary Missionary Month to be celebrated in October 2019, with the aim of fostering an increased awareness of the missio ad gentes and taking up again with renewed fervour the missionary transformation of the Church’s life and pastoral activity.”
The year 2019 was chosen to mark the 100th anniversary of Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter Maximus Illud (November 30, 1919) on the activities carried out by missionaries around the world.
In his letter, Francis notes that the work of the Second Vatican Council (especially Ad Gentes) reiterates that the missio ad gentes is “an essential task” and that the Church is “missionary by nature.”
Although a century has gone by, “there still remains an enormous missionary task for her to accomplish.” Citing John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio, Francis writes that the “mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion;” indeed, “an overall view of the human race shows that this mission is still only beginning and that we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service.”
Citing again John Paul II, Francis notes “that missionary activity renews the Church, revitalizes faith and Christian identity, and offers fresh enthusiasm and new incentive. Faith is strengthened when it is given to others!”