October is always ‘Month of the Missions.’ This year especially, Pope Francis has invited us to celebrate it as an Extraordinary Month of Mission, marking the centenary of one of the most important documents on mission in the modern age, Maximum Illud of Pope Benedict XV. Julieanne Moran, the executive secretary of World Mission Ireland, explains some of the reasons for the celebration and reminds us with Pope Francis that the work of mission is not just for a handful of professionals but for all have who received the baptismal anointing as king, priest and prophet. We are all asked to obey the Lord’s call “to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the difficult places in need of the light of the Gospel.”
Some stories of real-life mission are told – how a young deacon preparing for ordination heard an address by a missionary bishop and in time became the founder of St Patrick’s Missionary Society, better known perhaps as the Kiltegan Fathers. A titled lady, widow of a British colonial governor head a similar call, and became the founder of the Columban Sisters whose initial mission was to reach out into China. Mission continues today. A young teacher from Dundalk, Louise Keelan, describes the work done by a group of young Irish youth ministers did in the Philippines last summer. Colm Meaney continues his stimulating series of ‘Letters from the Philippines’ describing this month how a simple mission book of songs, prayers and stories has become a treasure of faith.