In October of last year, Pope Francis decreed that October of 2019 – the whole month – will be dedicated to the Missions and tasked the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples to prepare a programme for this occasion.
Last Friday, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the said Congregation, at a Press Conference, unveiled the preparations already at an advanced stage, for this special month of the Missions.
The theme of the Mission’s Extraordinary Month is “Baptized and Sent: Christ’s Church on Mission in the World,” states a press release, stressing that “the mission is understood as a proposal of faith that God makes to man.”
Cardinal Filoni emphasised that the whole Church is implicated in the missionary impulse. The missionary activity is the highest work of the Church and thus the Episcopal Conferences, the parishes, the dioceses of the world and also the Movements must be constituted in a permanent missionary state. “There is no aspect of our activity that doesn’t make reference to the mission,” stressed Cardinal Filoni.
An official Website was created to promote and animate the Extraordinary Mission Month of October 2019, in order to contribute, through the multi-media contents that will be inserted there, to inspire the times of prayer and reflection of all Christians.
The site has sections dedicated to particular themes. There are contributions dedicated to stories of Blessed, Saints, and Martyrs of yesterday and today; texts that can inspire the missionary animation; the “Voice of the World” section, dedicated to today’s mission with testimonies and writings of missionaries and directors of the Pontifical Missionary Works of different countries, as well as the Guide of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019.
The text is written by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Missionary Works and has as its objective “to serve the different dioceses in the needs of missionary formation and animation,” as well as to “inspire the creativity of local Churches and their faithful.”
The parts that make up the Guide are in line with the spiritual dimensions that the Holy Father indicated for the Extraordinary Missionary Month: the personal encounter with Jesus Christ living in the Church, the witness of Saints and Martyrs of the mission, and the catechetical formation to the mission and to missionary charity.
A specially conceived logo represents a missionary cross whose traditional colours represent the five Continents. The Cross is the instrument and the effective sign of communion between God and men for the mission’s universality: it is luminous, coloured, a sign of victory and resurrection.”
The words “Baptized and Sent,” which accompany the image, point out the “two characteristic elements of every Christian: Baptism and proclamation.
The cross’ colours have a particular significance. “The red — read the press release — recalls the blood of the Martyrs of the American Continent, seeds of a new life in the Christian faith. The green is the colour of life and symbolizes growth, fertility, youth, and vitality. Green is also the colour of hope, one of the three theological virtues. The white is a symbol of joy, the beginning of a new life in Christ . . . The yellow is the colour of light . . . The blue is the colour of the water of the life that quenches us and restores us on the way of God; it’s the colour of our sky, a sign of God’s dwelling with us men.”
A short video has also been prepared to promote the special Month for the Missions in the coming months preparing everyone for October 2019.