Homily — 29th Sunday OT B World Mission Sunday 10/18/9

Homily — 29th Sunday OT B World Mission Sunday 10/18/9

The Universal Church celebrates this Sunday “World Mission Sunday,” a Sunday when we focus on our call as a Church to be Missionary, to spread the faith to the ends of the earth.

And while we are certainly to support the foreign missions to the Church in non-Christian lands, by our prayers and our financial support to today’s Second Collection, we also need to be mindful of the mission lands found right here in Woonsocket, in the neighborhoods we live in, in the places we work or go to school in – those people right around us that have yet to respond to the Gospel message, or have need of hearing it afresh.

At the end of every Mass, the priest (turns to the people and) says “Ite, Missa Est.” This could be loosely translated as “Go, you are missioned – you have your Mission from God this week.”

For we are sent from the Real Presence of Jesus here at this Church, back into the world, with the very important Mission to bring His saving love to all we come in contact with.

I’d like to take the opportunity this World Mission Sunday to let everyone know about a major Missionary Effort our own Diocese of Providence will soon be undertaking – a mission to bring back Catholics in our Diocese who have fallen away from the faith.

Bishop Tobin has announced that beginning this Advent, the Diocese will embark on a “Year of Evangelization.”

Throughout the months of December 2009 and January 2010, the Diocese will be airing, on prime time Television, three Television Ads created by a group called Catholics Come Home. An anonymous donor gave the Diocese the $200,000.00 needed to air these ads. If you go to www.catholicscomehome.org, you can watch them on line.

The ads are geared towards Catholics who have either left the Church, or have stopped practicing the faith. They are very professionally done and in my opinion are pretty powerful, especially the first one which simply shows who the Catholic Church is, what we’ve done and continue to do, and then invites the viewer to join us.

The Diocese of Phoenix Arizona ran these same ads in Lent of 2008, and seven months later they found that 92,000 more people were attending Mass than the year before, which was a 12% increase in weekend Mass attendance throughout the Diocese. (At St. Joseph’s, we have about 1000 people come to Mass each weekend. It would be great if a year from now, 100 more people were coming to our parish for Mass, if next year, 37% of RI Catholics instead of 25% were practicing their faith!)

The Diocese has already started getting ready, and is asking all parishes and their parishioners to get ready for these ads. People you work with or live next door to might say to you in a month or so “Hey, you go to Church, don’t you? I’m thinking of going back.” You will need to be a missionary to them, inviting them Home to the Catholic Church.

To help you do this, one thing our parish has already done for this Year of Evangelization. When we were making the 80th Anniversary Photo Directory last Spring, if you had so many people get their picture taken, not only was the Directory Free for us and them, but we were able to also get, free of charge, 1000 full color parish brochures inviting people to join our parish, with photos of different parish groups and events.

Once these TV ads begin, I’ll be putting some in the pews for people to take home and give them out if they’d like.

And so, as we celebrate World Mission Sunday, let us pray that we will imitate Jesus our Lord, who was sent by God the Father, not to be served by those He was sent to, but to serve them by sharing in their sufferings and by sharing the Gospel with them.

May we imitate Jesus, whose Mission was to give generously of His life, that many would have the fullness of life.

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