Pentecost Sunday provided Pope Francis with the occasion to release his annual Message for World Mission Sunday, set to take place later this year, on the third Sunday of October.
In his Message, the Holy Father said the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy invites us “to consider the missio ad gentes – the mission to the world – as a great, immense work of mercy, both spiritual and material.” World Mission Sunday, he continued, calls us “to ‘go out’ as missionary disciples, each generously offering their talents, creativity, wisdom and experience in order to bring the message of God’s tenderness and compassion to the entire human family.” He reminded us that “By virtue of the missionary mandate, the Church cares for those who do not know the Gospel, because she wants everyone to be saved and to experience the Lord’s love.”
Pope Francis emphasized the role of women in missionary work, noting the “considerable and growing presence of women in the missionary world” which he described as “a significant sign of God’s maternal love.”
He spoke, too, of the importance of education, adding, “I hope, therefore, that the holy people of God will continue to exercise this maternal service of mercy, which helps those who do not yet know the Lord to encounter and love Him.”
Pope Francis said, “All peoples and cultures have the right to receive the message of salvation which is God’s gift to every person.” Jesus’ command to preach the Gospel to all nations has not ceased, he concluded: “rather this command commits all of us, in the current landscape with all its challenges, to hear the call to a renewed missionary ‘impulse’.”
You can find the full text of Pope Francis’ Message for World Mission Sunday 2016 here.