ROME – As the Church prepares to celebrate World Mission Day on Sunday, the head of the Vatican’s evangelization congregation said the timing of the day with the youth synod provides an opportunity to remind young people they too are called to spread the Gospel.
“Together with young people, we bring the Gospel to everyone,” is the theme of Pope Francis’s message for the 92nd World Mission Day, to be celebrated Oct. 21.
The pope’s message for this day falls during the “synod for young people with young people,” Cardinal Fernando Filoni said at a press conference Oct. 19. “Therefore, together with the young we bring the Gospel to everyone.”
Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Filoni emphasized a concept found in Lumen gentium: that every baptized person, by virtue of his or her baptism, has the mission to evangelize and to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ – and this applies also to the young, he said.
“The pope, when he speaks with young people, says: Life is a mission. Do not be inactive. Every life has a missionary characteristic,” Filoni said.
Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, president of the Pontifical Mission Societies, underlined that every Christian, no matter their state in life, can pray and lend monetary support to the missions, as able.
Filoni also recalled that last year, Francis asked for the entire month of October 2019 to be devoted to prayer and reflection on Ad Gentes, a Second Vatican Council decree on the missionary activity of the Church, promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1965.
Francis said he hopes a special month dedicated to evangelization will be a promising time of reflection on the testimony of missionary saints and martyrs, the Bible and theology, as well as catechesis and charitable missionary work of the Church.
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.
Francis’s message for the 2018 edition of World Mission Day was published by the Vatican earlier this year. In a video message, he said, “prayer is the first ‘missionary work’ – the first! – that every Christian can and must do, and it is also the most effective, even if this cannot be measured.”
“In fact, the principal agent of evangelization is the Holy Spirit, and we are called to collaborate with Him,” he said May 28.