An Extraordinary Month of Mission launched at MacKillop College, Bathurst

Launch of World Mission Month in the Diocese 

This year’s World Mission Appeal highlights the missionary work of Jesuit priests who are following the call to serve children from disadvantaged areas, broken families and other situations of need in the remote mountainous state of Nagaland in north‑eastern India.

The Diocese of Bathurst has supported the Diocese of Kohima, Nagaland for the past five years, sponsoring the construction of St Paul’s School, Sanis. World Mission Month is an opportunity to continue to support the people of Nagaland to provide clean water, nutrition and education to those most in need.

Bishop Michael McKenna launched World Mission Month at MacKillop College, Bathurst on 20th September.

More than 200 students represented schools from across the Diocese and joined together for the Liturgy led by Bishop Michael and students from MacKillop College. Special guests included Fr Mathew Humstoe and Fr Manoj Manuael, visiting priests from Nagaland, Mr Mike Deasy, Diocesan Director, Catholic Mission and Sr Helen Sullivan rsj.

The students heard from Bishop Michael, Fr Mathew and Mr Deasy about Nagaland and the daily struggle to access clean water and life's essentials.

Ethan Comerfod, Year 9 student from St Stanislaus' College said, "We were given a great insight into the place of World Mission Month focus, Nagaland, an area in north-eastern India. We were spoken to by priests from Nagaland and Bishop McKenna about why Nagaland is the focus which was very interesting, and following that we watched a short film showcasing the struggle in Nagaland that most of us do not face here in Australia".

Schools across the Diocese will hold various fun and creative fundraising events over the month of October to raise much need funds for World Mission Month.

Visit catholicmission.org.au/emm to find out how you can be a part of the Extraordinary Missionary Month in October 2019 and beyond.

An Extraordinary Month of Mission

In 2017, Pope Francis announced that to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, October 2019 would be an Extraordinary Missionary Month. Almost immediately, preparations began around the world for the biggest celebration of mission in recent times, and perhaps ever. 

An extraordinary document

Maximum Illud, a Latin term meaning “that momentous”, was issued on November 30, 1919, just over a year after the armistice ending WWI was signed. Benedict XV wrote the document because, in his words, “there still remain in the world immense multitudes of people who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death”. The destructive impact of the Great War left many disillusioned with religion, especially Christianity.

Father Noel Connolly is a Columban missionary and Head of Mission and Culture at the Catholic Institute of Sydney, as well as a member of Catholic Mission’s Formation team. He says Maximum Illud had impacts still felt today:

“Benedict’s letter was revolutionary in ways that we find difficult to appreciate today. He was especially concerned with the fate of the Church in the developing countries. Benedict XV effectively began internationalising the leadership of the Church. It would bear fruit under his successor, Pius XI, who ordained bishops for India (1923), China (1926), Japan (1927), Indochina (1937) and Africa (1937). As a result, we are increasingly a global and even “southern” Church and now have our first pope from the “majority world”. That may not have been possible without the courage and insight shown by Benedict XV”, said Fr Connolly.

A century on, Pope Francis renewed Benedict’s call in his annual message for World Mission Sunday. “For the month of October 2019, I have asked that the whole Church revive her missionary awareness and commitment as we commemorate the centenary of Maximum Illud”.

What can we do?

The Extraordinary Missionary Month is to be an opportunity for reflection, prayer and support for the missionary efforts of individuals, communities and the whole Church. In the lead-up to it, Catholic Mission will be here to help the church in Australia, providing expertise, materials and support. As the Pope’s official mission aid agency, Catholic Mission helps Catholics in Australia to live God’s mission in the world. Internationally and in Australia, there are resources, events and activities on offer so that you can join in the worldwide celebration and be part of something extraordinary!

Kimbalee Clews

 

 



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