Happy World Mission Sunday! Every third Sunday in October is dedicated to renewing our commitment to the missionary movement. Pope Francis’ theme this year is,

“Mission at the Heart of the Christian Faith”.

The Pope calls this theme a theme of encounter. Pope Francis has spoken several times about the culture of encounter and in his missionary message quotes Pope Benedict XVI saying, “being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a Person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction”(Dues Caritias Est,1). We have the opportunity to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, in our daily encounters, if we are open and willing to bring Jesus into the surprises each day presents us.

Through our own mission opportunities at St. Ann by the Sea, we encounter global issues with every service we take part in. I’m humbled to be a small part of a parish that encourages teens and adults to go beyond four walls and challenge themselves as Pope Francis says, “to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach the peripheries in need of the light of the Gospel.” In order to spread Jesus to others, we must, first build our own personal relationship with Jesus. In seeking and encountering Jesus, we then will have the opportunity to spread the joy He has placed on our hearts.

Carrying the joy of the Gospel out to the world with a missionary heart is to incorporate a missionary perspective to each of our days asking ourselves how we can best serve Jesus on the days that seem the most ordinary? A missionary life isn’t just about going on four mission trips a year; but about living the joy of the Gospel each day, in order to overcome racism, conflict, competition and hate and replace it with reconciliation and sharing. I want to take this opportunity to extend many thanks to all the generous supporters of our mission work over the past 3 years. Thank you for investing in our young people, the future of the Church. Together, with a missionary heart, our parish will continue to model a generosity of spirit and compassion. As Pope Francis states, “through you, despite your weaknesses, …bring love to people”. Let us continue to ask Jesus to provide us the openness to serve him in our everyday encounters and to further his mission of love and joy here on Earth.