Pastoral Letter For Mission Month

Dear Brothers and Sisters

World Mission Day, which was established to enable the People of God to participate in the work of evangelisation, is fast approaching.

The mission to bring the Gospel to all nations still attracts many people and leads them to find creative ways of making the Gospel present and alive. Others feel the charm and warmth of the Gospel in their own lives and so are inspired with zeal to get involved in this task which Jesus left to each and every disciple: “Go, make disciples of all nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of time.”

We note with pleasure and joy the many moments when God’s Word makes a breakthrough and takes root in parts of the world where this is least expected. Often that is right here in our own life. But more often than not, it is in the love and generosity of our brothers and sisters who witness to us with their lives of sacrifice and generosity. The youth who spent the Missionary Week in the Diocese of Vitoria know this only too well.

While World Youth Day and its focus on “our missionary vocation” highlighted many of the positive things that are happening in the field of evangelisation, the truth is that in many parts of the world, and indeed in many areas of our lives, there are worrying signs of a weakening of faith, a loss of spiritual zeal for the things of God. In some cases there is a marked reduction in the material support and financial contributions to this essential mission work of the Church.

It is quite ironic that just at a time when some are slacking off in their commitments and contributions, there are so many others turning to the faith and wanting to be able to play their part in forming new communities, new parishes and even new dioceses.
This is clearly a sign that Jesus is keeping his promise, that he is finding ways and means of ensuring that his Church will have the means to carry out his command.

Much is being said about New Evangelisation, about the need for new ardour in living the faith, new expressions of faith, new methods of witnessing to, spreading and living the faith, so, this is a good time for each one of us to use World Mission Day, Sunday 20th October as a grace filled opportunity to review how well or badly we are doing in our vocation to be disciples who live their faith in a commitment to Jesus so well that others will know, without a doubt, just how much Jesus means to us.

Let every parishioner, every parish, and us as a Diocese recommit ourselves to the task of making disciples wherever we are – in our family, in our community, in our school, in our workplace, in our Churches.

Let us do this by the credible witness of a life that is firmly anchored in a real and true relationship of friendship with Jesus.

Let’s remember, Jesus did not just say he would be with us; but that he would be with us as our Friend, because he has told us everything that we need to know about God. That he is our loving and caring Father, who is always there for us.

May Mary, who gave us our God made man, intercede for us during this month of the Rosary, so that like her we will always be able to “Do whatever he tells you.”

+ Wilfrid Cardinal Napier OFM
Archbishop of Durban