ROME – An initiative from the Vatican this month is inviting people to virtually connect with Pope Francis and learn more about Church missions and how to support them.
MissioBot is an automatic chat system on Facebook Messenger, which helps guide users through a chat experience with words from the pontiff. Through any computer or smart phone with the Facebook Messenger app, users can learn about mission projects around the world.
The participant then has the opportunity to pray for particular intentions or donate to specific causes, such as orphans or victims of famine. People will also be able to click on “Papal Wisdom” to receive snippets of advice from Francis.
MissioBot is available for the entire month of October in commemoration of World Mission Sunday, Oct. 22.
In a press conference on Saturday, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, head of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, emphasized that mission work is an essential aspect of the Christian faith.
“In the Christian faith, there is a pulse that gives life to the body. If the pulse stops, we enter into crisis, shock,” said Filoni, adding that the pulse of faith is mission work.
Every Christian is called to be a missionary in some way, he said, pointing to Saint Francis Xavier, who spread the Gospel by traveling to Japan, and Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, who supported missionaries through prayer.
World Mission Sunday was begun in 1926 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and is now promoted by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Mission Societies.
The pope’s message for the 91st World Mission Day was published by the Vatican earlier this year. Francis said that World Mission Day “is a good opportunity for enabling the missionary heart of Christian communities to join in prayer, testimony of life and communion of goods, in responding to the vast and pressing needs of evangelization.”