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Pope Francis declares October 2019 a month of mission

Pope Francis at the weekend dedicated October 2019 as a month of prayer and reflection for the missionary work of the Church.

Speaking in Rome on Saturday to the national directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies, including Catholic Mission’s Father Brian Lucas, Pope Francis agreed to the proposal put forward by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

‘To renew the ardour and passion, the spiritual engine of the apostolic activity of innumerable saints and missionary martyrs, I very much welcomed your proposal … to announce an extraordinary time of prayer and reflection on the ad gentes mission,’ Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis fronts Pontifical Mission Societies leaders in Rome on Saturday
Pope Francis fronts the national directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Vatican last Saturday. (Photo: Vatican Radio)

The announcement came as part of an audience with the Pope to conclude the annual General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies. In Rome for the meeting, Father Lucas welcomed the call, saying the dedicated month will be an important initiative to help the local church in Australia focus on its missionary vocation.

‘We are no longer an isolated church here in Australia,’ Father Lucas said. ‘We are all engaged in the mission of bringing Good News to a globalised world.’

Like an extraordinary jubilee year, an extraordinary month is where a dedicated focus is placed on an intention outside the normal activity of the church in that time.

October 2019 was chosen because of its proximity to the centenary anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s November 1919 apostolic letter, Maximum Illud, calling for renewed missionary zeal following World War I. World Mission Sunday falls on the penultimate Sunday of October each year.

Pope Francis said that he hopes the month will be a promising time of prayer and reflection on the testimony of missionary saints and martyrs, the Bible and theology, as well as catechesis and charitable missionary work towards the evangelization of the Church.

Father Lucas is expecting a strong spirit of collaboration in the Church in preparation for the special occasion.

‘Catholic Mission looks forward to working closely with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and the local bishops, parishes and religious congregations to make October 2019 a time for all Australian Catholics to recommit to their baptismal calling to be missionaries of Christ’s saving message,’ he said. ‘Energy for mission has to replace a self-serving inward focus that is content with the status quo.’

Sources: Catholic News Agency, Vatican Radio, Agenzia Fides.

Read the full text of Pope Francis' speech here

For media enquiries please contact Matthew Poynting on 02 9919 7833 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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