2019 has been a truly special year for the worldwide Church family. Pope Francis declared October to be an ‘Extraordinary Month of Mission’ (EMM). Its aim: for all members of our Catholic community to recognise themselves as missionary disciples, working and praying together to share God’s love with everyone, everywhere.
We’ve been inspired by the response to EMM from schools and parishes around the country. Schools across England and Wales have led the global celebration of Mission. St Peter and St Paul Primary School and Parish in Yeadon is a great example of this. Parish Priest Fr John Carlisle and RE Lead Mrs Angela Filarowski worked to create a month long celebration for mission.
Uniting school, home and parish
Working together, Mrs Filarowski and Fr John devised a timetable of liturgies, activities, and assemblies exploring the themes of EMM. Their mission drive began on 29 September with a Parish Mass, animated by young people from the parish. Throughout October, pupils learned about St Thérèse of Lisieux, Patron of Missionaries, and how we can all follow her little way of kindness. They learned about Missio, and how through prayer and sharing, children can show the world that we’re all part of God’s family.
Fr John presented all the pupils and many parishioners with a Mission Rosary. The children learned how to use the different coloured beads to pray for children in different continents. In an open classroom ‘Stay and Pray’ session, parents joined in to pray the Mission Rosary with their children. This was just one of many prayer times and liturgies organised to unite school, home and parish during EMM2019.
Other highlights at St Peter and St Paul included a colourful cake sale, a mini world football tournament, and the composition of a beautiful hymn This is Our Mission, which the pupils sang beautifully during a moving Holy Hour.
We want to say a huge thank you to everyone in England and Wales who got involved. Your enthusiasm for mission clearly puts the words of Pope Francis into practice:
‘The Church which “goes forth” is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice.’
The EMM resources St Peter and St Paul used for EMM2019, including the music and lyrics for This is Our Mission, are available to download free via the Mission Together website. We thank Mrs Filarowski especially, for gifting her composition This is Our Mission so more people can use it and be inspired!
It’s never too late to start your mission!
October is drawing to a close. But EMM doesn’t need to stop. It was intended to be a springboard; the beginnings of a revival of Mission in the Church. During October we’ve reached out across the globe to bring a new spirit of mission to the whole Church family. From reaching out to homeless people, to inspiring – and being inspired by – young people, we’ve seen Catholics of all ages and backgrounds working to bring the world into a personal encounter with Christ through their own mission. But we’ve also witnessed a deepening of spirituality and a return to prayer. A personal mission to pray every day is as powerful and vital as the work of missionaries like Sr Clara, who featured in our World Mission Sunday story. Each Mission makes a connection; bringing all of us together as God’s family and a source for good in the world. And we believe we can continue the four themes of EMM2019 long after October has ended.
The four themes of EMM are:
- A personal encounter with Jesus Christ living in his Church.
- The witness of missionary saints and martyrs.
- Supporting the Church’s missionary activity through Missio.
- Biblical, catechetical, spiritual and theological formation for mission.
Whatever your mission, Missio is always here to help and inspire. You can still find resources for parishes on our EMM page, and resources especially for schools on the Mission Together website. And if you need any further information you can always contact us. We thank each and every person who made EMM2019 such a special time for Mission in the Church, and we look forward joyfully to going forth with you!