In support of World Mission Sunday, Cardinal Christophe Pierre, the Pope’s representative in the United States, is calling on all parishes to celebrate the Missionary Church. He recently wrote an open letter to the faithful that was featured in the Autumn 2023 issue of Mission, the magazine of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
Writing in his capacity as the envoy of Pope Francis to the United States, Cardinal Pierre began his letter by expressing his desire to foster unity and promote the mission of the Church in the US. He then explained the “Church’s transformative work,” which has touched the lives of individuals and communities in the poorest regions of the world.
“The local churches in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Cuba, where I was posted in my early years of service, are sustained to a significant extent by the World Mission Sunday collection,” wrote Cardinal Pierre, adding, “In so many regions in our world, where the Church is still rather young or lacking in economic resources, and unable to sustain unaided its vital ministries, the Pontifical Missionary Societies step in to provide much-needed assistance.”
The World Mission Sunday collection is an annual collection taken by every parish in the United States on the second to last Sunday in October. The generous contributions of the faithful make it possible for the Pontifical Mission Societies to conduct their good works. These include annual subsidies to missionary dioceses, and direct support to mission seminaries and religious formation houses. The Pontifical Mission Societies also provide education for children in mission schools, build chapels and churches, and sustain homes for orphaned children, the elderly, and the sick.
“This support makes possible the proclamation of the Gospel, the celebration of the Sacraments, and service to the poor in mission dioceses,” the cardinal added.
Cardinal Pierre further noted that the US was a recipient of the Pontifical Mission Societies’ charity during the early years of the Church in the US.
He estimated that the US church received some $7 million to establish the Church in the US from its inception until 1908, a sum equivalent to $250 million by today’s standards. He praised Catholics in the US for returning “that generosity in abundance.”
Cardinal Pierre then invited all Catholics, “in the spirit of solidarity and missionary discipleship,” to respond to Pope Francis’ call to “be a Church that goes forth, reaching out to the peripheries, both near and far.”
“Together, we can make a difference. Your contributions, no matter the amount, will have a profound impact on the lives of countless individuals and communities. Through your generosity, you become and instrument of God’s love, sharing in the mission of the Church and embodying the spirit of compassion and mercy to which Pope Francis continually calls us.”