By Tony DeGol
In this era of coronavirus and other unbelievable happenings, Andre McCarville wants people to think twice before simply yearning for a return to normal.
“Every crisis is an opportunity for us to move beyond ourselves and become better people,” he reminded. “I don’t want us to just go back to business as usual. I want us to move forward in every way that we possibly can.”
The upcoming World Mission Sunday presents a key opportunity at a very critical moment.
“In times when things are difficult, I suppose that’s when generosity becomes that much more important,” reflected McCarville, Diocesan Director of Missions and Family Life.
The theme for World Mission Sunday 2020, to be observed on October 18, is “Here I Am; Send Me,” inspired by Isaiah 6:8.
That theme, according to Bishop Mark, “is the response we will all endeavor to live out this World Mission Sunday through prayer, participation in the Eucharist, and generosity to the collection for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.”
In his letter to the faithful announcing World Mission Sunday, the Bishop stressed that all of us can be sent to all ends of the earth through our support of missionaries and those they serve.
“Your gifts sustain priests, religious, and lay pastoral leaders in more than 1,100 mission dioceses in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, and parts of Latin America and Europe as they proclaim the Gospel, build the Church, and serve the poor,” he said. “With them, you answer, ‘Here I Am, Send Me.’”
In response to the challenges of the Mission Church from the pandemic, Bishop Mark is encouraging the faithful to be especially generous this year.
“I offer my sincere personal gratitude for your kind missionary heart, reaching out in love throughout Mission Month,” he said.
In his World Mission Sunday 2020 message, Pope Francis reminded that both the Church and humanity are challenged during this time of world-wide crisis.
“Like the disciples in the Gospel, we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm,” the Holy Father noted. “We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other.”
The charity expressed in World Mission Sunday collections “is aimed at supporting the missionary work carried out in my name by the Pontifical Mission Societies in order to meet the spiritual and material needs of peoples and Churches throughout the world, for the salvation of all,” Pope Francis stated.
For McCarville, the marching orders are clear.
“The Church – meaning its people – must go out into the world and make a difference,” he insisted. “The Church is missionary at its core, and if we forget that, our Church will die.”