Extraordinary Mission Month
EXTRAORDINARY MISSION MONTH – OCTOBER 2019
ABOUT EXTRAORDINARY MISSION MONTH
PROMPTED BY AN ANNIVERSARY – November 30, 2019, will mark that centenary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, with which Pope Benedict XV wished to give new impetus to the missionary call to proclaim the Gospel. On the occasion of this important anniversary, Pope Francis has called for the whole Church to observe an Extraordinary Missionary Month in October 2019, which is World Mission Month. Wrote Pope Francis in his Letter for the centenary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Letter “Maximum illud” on the activity of missionaries in the world, 22.10.2017:
“The Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud called for transcending national boundaries and bearing witness, with prophetic spirit and evangelical boldness, to God’s saving will through the Church’s universal mission. May the approaching centenary of that Letter serve as an incentive…(to) be open to the joyful newness of the Gospel. In these, our troubled times, rent by the tragedies of war and menaced by the baneful tendency to accentuate differences and to incite conflict, may the Good News that in Jesus forgiveness triumphs over sin, life defeats death and love conquers fear, be proclaimed to the world with renewed fervor, and instill trust and hope in everyone.”
THEME – The theme for the Extraordinary Missionary Month is: “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World.” Awakening awareness of the missio ad gentes, and reinvigorating the sense of responsibility for proclaiming the Gospel with new enthusiasm, are themes that combine the pastoral concern of Pope Benedict XV in his Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, published 100 years ago, with the missionary vitality expressed by Pope Francis in his recent Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium: “Missionary action is the paradigm of every work of the Church.” (EG 15)
LOGO – The logo of the Extraordinary Missionary Month October 2019 is a missionary cross where the primary colors refer to the five continents. The Cross is the instrument and direct sign of communion between God and man for the universality of our mission, and through its vibrant colors, a sign of victory and resurrection. The world is transparent because the action of evangelization has no barriers or boundaries, it is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Christian charity and the world transfigured in the Spirit overcome distances and open the horizon of our minds and hearts. The words Baptized and Sent next to the image indicate the two characteristics of every Christian: baptism and proclamation.
WAYS TO PREPARE AND CELEBRATE – Pope Francis has indicated four dimensions, or ways to prepare for and live out the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019. These four dimensions are: 1. a personal encounter with Jesus Christ alive in His Church: Eucharist, Word of God, personal and communal prayer, 2. the witness of the Saints, the Missionary Martyrs, and the Confessors of the Faith, who are unique expressions of the Churches throughout the world, 3. biblical, catechetical, spiritual, and theological formation regarding the missio ad gentes, 4. missionary charity as a material support for the immense work of evangelization, especially the missio ad gentes and Christian formation in Churches that are most in need.
Resources for EMM:
Extraordinary Mission Month Resources for Teachers and Catechists Teaching about Mission
Lesson plans for grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 from the Missionary Childhood Association for the Extraordinary Missionary Month (in English and Spanish) are the featured resources this week. The lessons incorporate the four dimensions of the Extraordinary Missionary Month as indicated by Pope Francis.
Of particular note is the Leader’s Guide which offers additional activities for the lessons, as well as background information on the EMM, the Synod for the Amazon, Laudato si’, and Maximum Illud. Additional activities for young people in grades 6 through 8 center on Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN, who is the U.S. missionary witness for the celebration of the EMM and World Mission Sunday.
Leader’s Guide: EMM Lessons