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Background: World Mission Sunday

October 19, 2012

On October 21, the Church around the world will commemorate World Mission Sunday. The theme of Pope Benedict’s message for the day is “Called to radiate the Word of truth.”

“This year the celebration of World Mission Day has a very special meaning,” began the Pope’s message, which was released in January. “The 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council and of the opening of the Year of Faith and of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of the New Evangelization contribute to reaffirming the Church's desire to engage with greater courage and zeal in the missio ad gentes [mission to the nations] so that the Gospel may reach the very ends of the earth.”

World Mission Sunday was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1926 and first commemorated in 1927. As Blessed John Paul II explained in 2001, Pope Pius “accepted a request by the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith to ‘establish a day of prayer and propaganda for the missions’ to be celebrated on the same day in every diocese, parish and institute of the Catholic world ... and to encourage offerings for the missions.”


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