On the 10th October 2019, in honour of the Extraordinary Mission Month inaugurated by Pope Francis on the 1stOctober 2019, SACBC Head Office’s staff in Pretoria set aside a special day to celebrate the Extra Ordinary Mission Month.
The celebration started with the Holy Mass, whereby Fr Barney McAleer, who previously worked in the SACBC Office of Evangelisation, who is also the person behind Bishop’s Fundraising, led the celebration and later gave a talk on the Extra Ordinary Mission Month.
During his homily Fr Barney used the words of Pope Francis when he said the Extraordinary Mission Month is meant for each person to renew one’s personal relationship with Christ. He said no matter how many times we have disappointed God’s love in the past, this special month marks a special invitation to come before God as we are and renew our relationship and take our commitment with Him. “We are called before God as we are and to confess our sins so that God can embrace us again”, he said.
Fr Barney also emphasised to the staff that during the Extra Ordinary Mission Month we are also called to extend the hand of charity to our brothers and sisters in need. “We are called to pay attention to the needs of others”, he iterated. He said during this time we need to pay attention to the needs of the neighbour in a special way, instead of focusing on our needs only. The nature of the mission is to renew our commitment with God and go out to attend to the needs of others.
During his talk on the Extra Ordinary Mission Month, Fr Barney said it is very important for all of us to understand that evangelisation starts in the home with Gogo/granny who is the first to teach young ones to do the sign of the cross. He further said the spiritual nurturing of the young ones should always be grown in the in the home, before one comes to the Church. The home is the place where formation to faith is initially grown.
Fr Barney said the Church exists to evangelise and that is spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to all. He said the responsibility of this missionary work is not reserved for Priests and Nuns. He quoted the words of Pope John Paul II, now a Saint, “The missionaries of the new millennium is the Laity”, he said.
Fr Barney stated, “Jesus came to the world so that we may have life and have it to the full” (Jn 10:10). He came to the world because he was sent by his Father to do His Will and he said that Will is the mission of the Church. Jesus came to do something specific, to bring Good News of Hope to the world.
Fr Barney said Jesus founded the Church, the Community of believers so that the mission of evangelisation could continue, even after going back to His Father. “In a way the Church exists to Evangelise”, he said. He said through St Peter the Church was given the keys to evangelise, and thus the power to spread the Good News to the whole world. Jesus founded the Church, not because he was lonely, but because the Mission he had started had to continue. The Church therefore has a full responsibility of carrying forward the same mission Jesus Christ started.
When he talked about how Good News are carried forward, Fr Barney said there are different practical ways the Church is witnessing the mission of Jesus Christ, the mission of Good news. “Evangelisation is every action we undertake every day to lift up people and witness to them the love God. Reaching out to the people and nurturing their dignity is part of the work of evangelisation”, he said.
Fr Barney said during this Extra Ordinary Mission Month the Holy Father has reminded the faithful to utilize the month of October to revive missionary awareness and commitment. The Pope also has reminded us that by virtue of our Baptism we are all missionary disciples. All members of the people of God should adhere to this call of being missionary disciples. “All through our different commitments we are missionary disciples and we are all the agents of evangelisation by reaching out to others and also helping them to grow spiritually”, he said.
Fr Barney ended his talk by saying, “It wouldn’t make sense that evangelisation is in the hands of few people. We should not be only recipients of Good News. We should be all active. This calls for personal involvement of all the people of God in the mission of evangelisation. We are all called to go out to preach the Good News and baptise those who receive it, as Jesus commanded us”, he said. He emphasised that it is the time for personal encounter with Jesus. And we are also called to reach out to the people who don’t have the same opportunities we have.
By Fr Paul Tatu CSS (SACBC Communication and Media Office)
10th October, 2019 – Khanya House, Pretoria