A huge thank you to everyone who took part in World Mission Sunday last weekend (24 October 2021)! It was wonderful to be able to get out and about, and truly celebrate with our parish and diocesan families.
Across England and Wales, special Masses took place throughout the weekend with collections and prayers for missionaries around the world. And with COVID-19 restrictions easing in many areas, it was finally possible for Missio staff and volunteers to get out and meet faithful supporters.
Some big thank you’s in Hexham & Newcastle Diocese
Community fundraiser, Theresa, was in Hexham & Newscastle Diocese at a Local Secretary meet-up on Saturday 23 October. Several of our amazing Local Secretaries received bronze and silver Long Service Awards for their support of Missio and the Red Box over many years. Local Secretary, Kathleen, received a Gold Award – she’s been volunteering for Missio at St Anne’s Gateshead since 1972!
Missio’s National Director for England & Wales, Fr Anthony Chantry, was in Hexham and Newcastle Diocese concelebrating Masses across the weekend. He was joined by Bishop Robert Byrne for the evening service at St Mary’s Cathedral on World Mission Sunday. On Saturday, Fr Tony concelebrated the Saturday Vigil Mass at SS Cecilia & Patrick’s Church, Sunderland. Chatting with parishioners after Mass, Fr Anthony met Judith who shared that she still has the Red Box which belonged to her grandmother and is still being passed on through the generations. What a fantastic family heirloom!
Thank you to everyone in the diocese who made our weekend so enjoyable and helped raise vital funds for missionaries around the world!
Tales of missionary life in Westminster Diocese
Of course, in England and Wales, Missio partners closely with the Mill Hill Missionaries through the Red Box. So we were delighted that Fr Gerry Hastie MHM and Fr Paul Mooney MHM could be with us to celebrate at Westminster Cathedral and the London Oratory. In his homily at the Cathedral, Fr Gerry told a packed congregation about life as a missionary, and how a missionary should be prepared for anything. For instance, he recalled a time in Kenya when he received a knock on the door in the early hours of the morning. A man in clear distress explained that his wife was in labour and needed a lift to the nearest medical centre. Fr Gerry got everyone into his truck, but they were only halfway there when the mother gave birth to her baby in the back seat!
Fr Paul also shared his missionary experiences with the congregation at the Oratory. He told them how he was teaching at a technical college for Christian and Muslim young men in Pakistan. Part of the college was a hostel, so that the young men could stay there and receive a technical education which would hopefully provide them with an income in their adult lives. But the hostel was bankrupt. Fr Paul appealed to Missio here in England and Wales, and ‘they came to my rescue’. He continued:
‘Without your assistance, without the support of your prayers, people like myself could not do what we do. We appeal to your generosity.’
‘This World Mission Sunday we have an opportunity to hold in our prayers our brothers and sisters in the young churches of the developing countries of the world – let us pray for them. They’re struggling, they’re being challenged, perhaps as they’ve never been before. And they continue to need our help’.
Missio introduced contactless or cashless donations this year. We are still bringing in and counting the money raised, but our Local Secretaries report how incredibly generous your donations have been across the country. In fact, one donor gave a very generous £1,000 donation via our device to the World Mission Sunday appeal!
Every penny and pound you share with Missio helps missionaries bring God’s love to all nations. We feel blessed and grateful for your support and faith in us. Thank you!
Clearing the plates in Portsmouth Diocese
Meanwhile at the other end of the country, community fundraiser, Dave, spent time with the wonderful parishioners at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Wargrave. Local Secretary, Christiane, and her brilliant volunteers put on a special World Mission Sunday cake sale to raise extra funds. Not a crumb was left at the end!
At St Thomas More Church in Twyford, Nigerian Parish Priest, Fr Jude, was able to bring his personal experience to our 2021 Appeal which focused on Sister Veronica in Kaduna, northern Nigeria. In his homily, Fr Jude expressed that ‘peace must begin with prayer followed by action – just as Sister Veronica exemplifies’.
A huge thank you to Portsmouth diocese for sharing your celebration (and your cake!) with Missio.
A call to mission in Shrewsbury Diocese
Missio representatives were lucky enough to visit six parishes in the area of St Bonaventure, Wythenshawe over the World Mission Sunday weekend. Fr Kuriakose Mafathitampil celebrated Mass in St Aidan’s Church. He talked about the call we all have to be missionary through the witness of our life, our prayer, and our financial support of our global Church family.
Thank you to everyone in Shrewsbury diocese who gave us such a warm welcome, and for your amazing generosity on World Mission Sunday!
An opportunity for thanks in Arundel & Brighton
The World Mission Sunday diocesan Mass for Arundel & Brighton took place at the Friary Church of St Francis and St Anthony in Crawley. Bishop Richard Moth said:
‘We have an opportunity to give thanks today for the work of Missio and for the wonderful volunteers in out diocese. Without them our missionary endeavours would not be successful’.
Local Secretary, Peter, shared:
‘I love being a volunteer for Missio. World Mission Sunday has helped the parish really focus on their missionary calling’.
Thank you, Arundel & Brighton for welcoming us!
World Mission Sunday online
While it was wonderful to celebrate with people face-to-face this year, there were also countless churches and schools in every diocese whom our small Missio team couldn’t visit, but who showed amazing support.
We were also delighted to be joined by supporters around the country online too, through livestreamed Masses and on social media. Many thanks to all the supporters and dioceses who helped to get our message out through sharing our tweets and posts over the weekend. Every action counts; every share is another way to ‘speak of what we have seen and heard’!
Why we do it…
World Mission Sunday is celebrated in every Catholic community in the world. It’s a moment of grace to express solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are living in situations of poverty, violence and oppression. This year our appeal focused on the inspiring work of Sister Veronica and the Women’s Interfaith Council. As one supporter commented on Instagram:
‘I’m so grateful to you for sharing as this is ‘Move mountains’ type of faith and it’s inspirational!’
If you haven’t yet had a chance to learn about their courageous and compassionate work in the face of violence and conflict, you can click here to find out more.