Children also become protagonists of the Extraordinary Missionary Month.


With BUILD A WORLDWIDE BRIDGE (COSTRUISCI UN PONTE MONDIALE) initiative, a formation program that helps little ones to discover the meaning of their own Baptism and to commit themselves to the mission that results from it.

For the Extraordinary Missionary Month, the Italian secretariat of the Pontifical Missionary Society of Childhood (Missio Ragazzi) has created an ad hoc section on the website www.pontemondiale.missioitalia.it.

From this page, after registering for free and clicking on “October – Extraordinary Missionary Month” you can access the recommendations for activities, dynamics, games, designed both for individual children (with the online registration of a parent), and for an entire group (catechism, school, scouts, etc.).

The formation program that is designed for children, and supported by the presence of an educator, is developed for the month of October, ideally divided into four weeks. For each week, an aspect of Baptism to be rediscovered is presented and a commitment that characterizes being a missionary is suggested, that is, prayer, sharing, proclamation, and fellowship. Each proposal is presented in the form of a game, which educators can offer to the children (parents to their children) or adapt according to the context in which they work.

At the end of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, each child will receive a certificate inviting them to continue their commitment to the mission in their daily lives.

The formation program BUILDING A WORLDWIDE BRIDGE (COSTRUISCI UN PONTE MONDIALE) continues even after the extraordinary October. In fact, those who wish can continue the journey for the rest of the year (November – June) by clicking on the four sections (prayer, proclamation, sharing, fellowship) and carrying out the suggested activities with the children, so that they themselves can be helped to live the four indispensable commitments of being a missionary in their day-to-day life by having fun.

As all this becomes concrete, it will be possible to build a bridge with four steps, each one corresponding to a commitment – a way to make the path visible to children’s eyes as they walk through the pastoral year.


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Tuesday, October 1st marks the liturgical memory of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, universal patroness of missions along with St. Francis Xavier. Pope Francis will preside over the celebration of Vespers in St. Peter’s Basilica, introduced by the Missionary Vigil with missionary testimonies from around the world. This opens the Extraordinary Missionary Month October 2019, desired by the Pope “in order to awaken more awareness of the missio ad gentes” (Angelus, October 22, 2017).

Live streaming will be on the Vatican News YouTube channel

https://www.youtube.com/user/vatican and also on the website https://www.vaticannews.va/ starting at 5:15 p.m. 


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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

For the month of October 2019, I have asked that the whole Church revive her missionary awareness and commitment as we commemorate the centenary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud of Pope Benedict XV (November 30, 1919). Its farsighted and prophetic vision of the apostolate has made me realize once again the importance of renewing the Church’s missionary commitment and giving fresh evangelical impulse to her work of preaching and bringing to the world the salvation of Jesus Christ, who died and rose again.

The title of the present message is the same as that of October’s Missionary Month: “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World.” Celebrating this month will help us first to rediscover the missionary dimension of our faith in Jesus Christ, a faith graciously bestowed on us in baptism. Our filial relationship with God is not something simply private, but always in relation to the Church. Through our communion with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we, together with so many of our other brothers and sisters, are born to new life. This divine life is not a product for sale—we do not practice proselytism—but a treasure to be given, communicated and proclaimed: that is the meaning of mission. We received this gift freely and we share it freely (cf. Mt 10:8), without excluding anyone. God wills that all people be saved by coming to know the truth and experiencing his mercy through the ministry of the Church, the universal sacrament of salvation (cf. 1 Tim 2:4; Lumen Gentium 48).

The Church is on mission in the world. Faith in Jesus Christ enables us to see all things in their proper perspective, as we view the world with God’s own eyes and heart. Hope opens us up to



the eternal horizons of the divine life that we share. Charity, of which we have a foretaste in the sacraments and in fraternal love, impels us to go forth to the ends of the earth (cf. Mic 5:4; Mt 28:19; Acts 1:8; Rom 10:18). A Church that presses forward to the farthest frontiers requires a constant and ongoing missionary conversion. How many saints, how many men and women of faith, witness to the fact that this unlimited openness; this going forth in mercy is indeed possible and realistic, for it is driven by love and its deepest meaning as gift, sacrifice and gratuitousness (cf. 2 Cor 5:14-21)! The man who preaches God must be a man of God (cf. Maximum Illud).

This missionary mandate touches us personally: I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always; every baptized man and woman is a mission. People in love never stand still: they are drawn out of themselves; they are attracted and attract others in turn; they give themselves to others and build relationships that are life-giving. As far as God’s love is concerned, no one is useless or insignificant. Each of us is a mission to the world, for each of us is the fruit of God’s love. Even if parents can betray their love by lies, hatred and infidelity, God never takes back his gift of life. From eternity he has destined each of his children to share in his divine and eternal life (cf. Eph 1:3-6).

This life is bestowed on us in baptism, which grants us the gift of faith in Jesus Christ, the conqueror of sin and death. Baptism gives us rebirth in God’s own image and likeness, and makes us members of the Body of Christ, which is the Church. In this sense, baptism is truly necessary for salvation for it ensures that we are always and everywhere sons and daughters in the house of the Father, and never orphans, strangers or slaves. What in the Christian is a sacramental reality—whose fulfillment is found in the Eucharist— remains the vocation and destiny of every man and woman in search of conversion and salvation. For baptism fulfills the promise of the gift of God that makes everyone a son or daughter in the Son. We are children of our natural parents, but in baptism we receive the origin of all fatherhood and true motherhood: no one can have God for a Father who does not have the Church for a mother (cf. Saint Cyprian, De Cath. Eccl., 6).



Our mission, then, is rooted in the fatherhood of God and the motherhood of the Church. The mandate given by the Risen Jesus at Easter is inherent in baptism: as the Father has sent me, so I send you, filled with the Holy Spirit, for the reconciliation of the world (cf. Jn 20:19-23; Mt 28:16-20). This mission is part of our identity as Christians; it makes us responsible for enabling all men and women to realize their vocation to be adoptive children of the Father, to recognize their personal dignity and to appreciate the intrinsic worth of every human life, from conception until natural death. Today’s rampant secularism, when it becomes an aggressive cultural rejection of God’s active fatherhood in our history, is an obstacle to authentic human fraternity, which finds expression in reciprocal respect for the life of each person. Without the God of Jesus Christ, every difference is reduced to a baneful threat, making impossible any real fraternal acceptance and fruitful unity within the human race.

The universality of the salvation offered by God in Jesus Christ led Benedict XV to call for an end to all forms of nationalism and ethnocentrism, or the merging of the preaching of the Gospel with the economic and military interests of the colonial powers. In his Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, the Pope noted that the Church’s universal mission requires setting aside exclusivist ideas of membership in one’s own country and ethnic group. The opening of the culture and the community to the salvific newness of Jesus Christ requires leaving behind every kind of undue ethnic and ecclesial introversion. Today too, the Church needs men and women who, by virtue of their baptism, respond generously to the call to leave behind home, family, country, language and local Church, and to be sent forth to the nations, to a world not yet transformed by the sacraments of Jesus Christ and his holy Church. By proclaiming God’s word, bearing witness to the Gospel and celebrating the life of the Spirit, they summon to conversion, baptize and offer Christian salvation, with respect for the freedom of each person and in dialogue with the cultures and religions of the peoples to whom they are sent. The missio ad gentes, which is always necessary for the Church, thus contributes in a fundamental way to the process of ongoing conversion in all Christians. Faith in the Easter event of Jesus; the ecclesial mission received in baptism;



the geographic and cultural detachment from oneself and one’s own home; the need for salvation from sin and liberation from personal and social evil: all these demand the mission that reaches to the very ends of the earth.

The providential coincidence of this centenary year with the celebration of the Special Synod on the Churches in the Amazon allows me to emphasize how the mission entrusted to us by Jesus with the gift of his Spirit is also timely and necessary for those lands and their peoples. A renewed Pentecost opens wide the doors of the Church, in order that no culture remain closed in on itself and no people cut off from the universal communion of the faith. No one ought to remain closed in self-absorption, in the self-referentiality of his or her own ethnic and religious affiliation. The Easter event of Jesus breaks through the narrow limits of worlds, religions and cultures, calling them to grow in respect for the dignity of men and women, and towards a deeper conversion to the truth of the Risen Lord who gives authentic life to all.

Here I am reminded of the words of Pope Benedict XVI at the beginning of the meeting of Latin American Bishops at Aparecida, Brazil, in 2007. I would like to repeat these words and make them my own: “Yet what did the acceptance of the Christian faith mean for the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean? For them, it meant knowing and welcoming Christ, the unknown God whom their ancestors were seeking, without realizing it, in their rich religious traditions. Christ is the Savior for whom they were silently longing. It also meant that they received, in the waters of baptism, the divine life that made them children of God by adoption; moreover, they received the Holy Spirit who came to make their cultures fruitful, purifying them and developing the numerous seeds that the incarnate Word had planted in them, thereby guiding them along the paths of the Gospel….

The Word of God, in becoming flesh in Jesus Christ, also became history and culture. The utopia of going back to breathe life into the pre-Columbian religions, separating them from Christ and from the universal Church, would not be a step forward: indeed, it would be a step back. In reality, it would be a retreat towards a stage in history anchored in the past” (Address at the Inaugural Session, May 13, 2007: Insegnamenti III, 1 [2007], 855-856).



We entrust the Church’s mission to Mary our Mother. In union with her Son, from the moment of the Incarnation, the Blessed Virgin set out on her pilgrim way. She was fully involved in the mission of Jesus, a mission that became her own at the foot of the Cross: the mission of cooperating, as Mother of the Church, in bringing new sons and daughters of God to birth in the Spirit and in faith.

I would like to conclude with a brief word about the Pontifical Mission Societies, already proposed in Maximum Illud as a missionary resource. The Pontifical Mission Societies serve the Church’s universality as a global network of support for the Pope in his missionary commitment by prayer, the soul of mission, and charitable offerings from Christians throughout the world. Their donations assist the Pope in the evangelization efforts of particular Churches (the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith), in the formation of local clergy (the Pontifical Society of Saint Peter the Apostle), in raising missionary awareness in children (Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood) and in encouraging the missionary dimension of Christian faith (Pontifical Missionary Union). In renewing my support for these Societies, I trust that the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019 will contribute to the renewal of their missionary service to my ministry.

To men and women missionaries, and to all those who, by virtue of their baptism, share in any way in the mission of the Church, I send my heartfelt blessing.

From the Vatican, June 9, 2019, Solemnity of Pentecost



Read full: MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS WORLD MISSION DAY 2019 Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World

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VATICAN— In the October calendar of Vatican events, Pope Francis’ “Extraordinary Missionary Month” may be overshadowed by the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon and its related events.

But in the lead up to the monthlong focus on missionary outreach, Pope Francis spoke frequently and in detail about the Christian obligation to share the Gospel through personal witness and welcome.

And while the synod preparations led to news headlines about climate change and a possible debate about ordaining some married men for ministry in their indigenous communities, the working document that will guide the assembly frames the whole discussion as a discernment of “the new paths whereby the church in the Amazon will announce the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the coming years.”

On World Mission Sunday 2017, Pope Francis announced his intention to dedicate the entire month of October 2019 — not just World Mission Sunday — to “the church’s evangelizing activity ‘ad gentes,’” a phrase meaning “to the nations” and used to describe missionary activity focused on people who still have not heard the Gospel.

The pope is scheduled to launch the month with a prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica the evening of Oct. 1, the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, co-patron of the missions and one of Pope Francis’ personal favorites.

Although St. Therese had dreamed of being a missionary, she never left the convent. Still, marking her feast day in 2013, Pope Francis said, “The church was wise to make this saint — humble, small, trusting in God, meek — patron of the missions” because “the strength of the Gospel is precisely there” in the humility that “allows itself to be guided by the love and tenderness of the Father.”

The pope’s talk of humility, respect for others and sharing the love and mercy of God does not mean he thinks the church should be passive.

Pope Francis wanted the monthlong focus on mission because he saw a need to give “fresh evangelical impulse to her work of preaching and bringing to the world the salvation of Jesus Christ.”

The central focus of mission is that “God wills that all people be saved by coming to know the truth and experiencing his mercy through the ministry of the church, the universal sacrament of salvation,” Pope Francis wrote in his message for the month.

Catholics must not think that missionary outreach belongs to the church’s past. Today, as in Jesus’ age, it means hitting the road or, at least, supporting those who do.

“The church,” the pope wrote, “needs men and women who, by virtue of their baptism, respond generously to the call to leave behind home, family, country, language and local church, and to be sent forth to the nations, to a world not yet transformed by the sacraments of Jesus Christ and his holy church.”

Of course, there are people in every neighborhood in every nation who need to hear of God’s love and mercy and be helped to follow Jesus. But the church distinguishes between “new evangelization” — basically, a new effort to reach out to people who already have heard the Christian message — and the initial proclamation involved in going out “ad gentes.”

Oblate Father Andrew Small, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, said there is a “huge difference” between introducing people to Jesus for the first time and trying to reach out to those who would say, “Been there, done that, didn’t buy the T-shirt.”

But the church “is not selling T-shirts,” he said. “It’s offering a lifelong relationship with a man called Jesus to people who are experienced collectors,” and that is a challenge to which all Christians must respond.

As part of its celebration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, Father Small’s office is launching missio.org/course, which is a free, online introduction to mission theology. The course, he said, “takes learners through the history, theology and spirited relationships that make us who and what we are as a church — missionary by nature.”

Father Small also noted that in a June 2018 meeting with the Pontifical Mission Societies, which raise awareness about the missions and raise funds to support them, Pope Francis spoke of the ties between the Amazon synod and the Extraordinary Missionary Month.

“We pray,” the pope had said, “that the Synod for the Amazon can help provide a more evangelical approach to missionary work in this area of the world that is so troubled, so unjustly exploited and so much in need of the salvation of Jesus Christ.”


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VATICAN— Being a priest is not a job or fulfilling an employment contract but is a gift from God that should be contemplated and treasured as such, Pope Francis said.

Those who turn ordained ministry into an occupation “lose the heart of the ministry, lose the gaze of Jesus who looked upon all of us and told us, ‘Follow me,’” he said Sept. 19 during morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The pope focused his homily on the day’s first reading in which St. Paul writes to Timothy (1 Tim 4:12-16), “Do not neglect the gift you have.”

Ordination is a freely given gift from the Lord, the pope said; it is not “a job” or “an employment contract” in which one “must do” something.

“Doing is secondary,” he said. First and foremost, “I must receive this gift and safeguard it as a gift and from that — in the contemplation of the gift — everything else springs.”

When ordained ministry is not seen and treasured as a gift, he said, “deviations” emerge, starting with “the worst ones, which are terrible, to the more everyday ones that makes us base our ministry on ourselves and not on the gratitude of gift and love for he who gave us this gift, the gift of ministry.”

Effort, intelligence and “also a bit of shrewdness” are needed to safeguard this gift properly, he added.

The pope also briefly commented on the day’s Gospel reading, Luke 7:36-50, in which Jesus corrects his host who has forgotten to perform the customary rituals associated with welcoming a guest. Jesus instead praises the “sinful woman” who showed Jesus “great love,” including by using her tears and hair to bathe and dry Jesus’ feet.

The pope said the Pharisee hosting Jesus was a good man, “but he had forgotten the gift of kindness, the gift of coexistence, which is also a gift. These gifts are always forgotten when there are some underlying motives, when I want to do” or achieve something.

It is true that priests have things they must do, “and the first task is proclaiming the Gospel,” Pope Francis said, “but it is necessary to take care of the core, the source from which this mission springs, the gift we have freely received from the Lord.”

The pope concluded by praying priests see their ministry first as a gift then as a service and that they not become “businessmen ministers, fixers” or adopt other attitudes that make them stray from the Lord.


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Blasphemous attacks against the Church and the resulting support and even indifference of some Catholics can be blamed to the collapse or abandonment of catechetical instruction and the failure of Catholic education in the past decades.

“Clearly,” said Dr. Raul Nidoy, a Catholic theologian. “The post-Vatican crisis of the 60s and 70s with its doctrinal confusion and moral permissivism led to poorly catechized and poorly evangelized Catholics.”

Diocese of Cubao Catechetical Minister Fr. Michell Joe Zerrudo pointed to Modernism as “responsible for all the watering down of the teaching of the Christian doctrine.”

Condemned by Pope St. Pius X in his 1908 encyclical “Pascendi Dominici Gregis” (Of feeding the Lord’s flock), he called Modernism as the “synthesis of all errors”.

“I think the reason why many are indifferent to the “stupid” God comment [of Pres. Duterte] is that they no longer see the difference of the Catholic faith and the other faiths. To them, these are all the same,” Zerrudo said.

The priest underscored how Modernism teaches that all religions are equal thus “it does not matter what name your god has so long as you have a god.”

“It is sad because in courts of law, the truth cannot be equal to false statements. But with regards to modernism, all religions are equal…regardless of what is true and who are false,” he said.

Nidoy noted that the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) gave “the highest priority to catechesis” but this “seems not to have been much felt.”

Renewed interest in Catechism

However, there are parish priests who see the need to revive catechetical instructions. One of them is Fr. Mark Sese of the Diocese of Pasig.

“Ignorance of our brothers and sisters in faith on the authentic Catholic doctrine,” was the reason readily given by Sese when asked why he started the catechetical program in Our Lady of the Poor Parish, Western Bicutan, Taguig City where he is the parish priest.

He admitted that “an empirical study to survey the need of the faithful most especially the lay church servers/ministers” also formed the basis for the renewal of the program.

“On a personal level it is my sacerdotal motto: Seminatur Doctrinae Et Pietatis (Sower of Doctrine and Piety),” he said.

The survey had more than 500 respondents composed mainly of parish servers and member of different ministries, mandated organizations and associations. One of the pressing needs of parishioners that the survey discovered was the need for formation in the faith.

Started in 2015, the catechetical program is offered every first and third Saturday of the month at 7pm.

“I started with the Creed, then the Sacraments, the 10 Commandments,” he said. All in all, Sese has prepared 60 topics regarding the basic catechism in his parish.

Zerrudo, on the other hand, as Catechetical Minister for Cubao, sees the importance of sending more properly trained catechists to the public schools owing to the fact that they have more students than Catholic schools.

He sees the role of catechists as very crucial in the formation of young Catholics so catechists under his care are engaged in basic faith formation and catechetical formation for new catechists.

Cubao diocesan catechists are also subjected to monthly on-going formation programs.

“We make sure that our catechists are well founded in doctrine, moral and liturgical formation modules for teaching are created and constantly updated by the ministry. The content of these formations are highly doctrinal because they are based on the catechism of the Catholic Church,” he said.

Nidoy, in his personal capacity, designed a one-pager catechism covering various topics. Started when the controversial Reproductive Health Law was still being deliberated in Congress, the one-pager catechism about contraception became an instant viral success as it discusses science facts on the RH.

He said that the catechetical flyer was so successful that it was translated into several languages.

“They found it as a good summary of solid non-religious arguments especially since the media and the other side were reducing our side to merely religious zealots who were imposing their beliefs to a secular society,” said Nidoy.

He retitled the flyer to science facts on contraceptives and distributed it once in a diocese. “They loved it! They said they needed that info,” he said.

Every Catholics’ business: clergy and lay alike

Is the duty of informing the flock on the basics of the Catholic Faith all on the shoulders of its priests and bishops?

Nidoy understands that a parish priest can be overloaded with too many administrative and sacramental duties in his parish but he nevertheless encourages parents and adult Catholics their role of being well-formed in the Faith.

“I think that we have to keep on reminding all, including families where catechesis should start, that the spiritual matters such as Catholic education in faith and morals, are more important than material support, as the Catechism itself says,” he stressed.

Nidoy sees the need for more well-formed Catholics to fight the indifference towards the blasphemous statements and attacks against the Church. He noted how catechized Catholics went to the Church’s defense when the President went on his verbal tirade against God and the Church.

“It should be noted that a good number of Catholics also opposed him [Pres. Duterte], which shows that despite problems in this area, our pastors have succeeded in forming us to see blasphemy as bad,” according to him.

He added that the re-introduction of the Catechism in the 1990s helped “dissipate much of the confusion of the 60s but much still HAS to be done to make people learn it deeply and apply it in their daily lives.”

Admitting that as a layman, he is “not an expert in parishes”, but he, nevertheless, suggests that parishes may have “to be more creative and persevering in this work” like how his one-pager catechism was well-received by both the laity and clergy.

He called on parish priests to keep on announcing the “need for catechists, training programs for catechists, the benefits of catechesis in the family and parish catechesis.”

Sese agrees that we need to “encourage parishes and parish priests to offer doctrinal classes.” He hopes that the catechism classes will trickle and reflect in the lives of the laity.

“I believe that through it they may live as authentic Christian Catholic who are Christ-centered and values His teaching through the Magisterium,” he said.


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Our Lady of Perpetual Help

First placed in the Church of San Matteo in Rome in 1499, the picture was thought to be lost at one point after Napoleon’s armies sacked that church in 1798. Fortunately, however, it was in the care of the Augustinian fathers until Pope Pius IX ordered that the icon be given to the Redemptorist order at the Church of St. Alphonsus in Rome in 1866 for public viewing once again. Since then it has been copied and venerated in churches and homes all over the world.

Note in this picture how Jesus, while safely cradled in his mother’s arms, looks anxiously at St. Gabriel the Archangel, who holds the cross and nails for His Crucifixion. (St. Michael the Archangel, at left, holds the lance, spear, and the vessel of vinegar and gall for our Lord’s Passion as well.) The Blessed Mother looks at us solemnly, perhaps as if in contemplation of her beloved Son’s future Passion and death for our salvation!

Remember that when we pray this novena to our Lady of Perpetual Help, that we are not choosing to worship her over her Divine Son. She is “our Mother on the order of grace,” according to a Vatican II document, and all the graces Mary gives us come directly from our Lord. She is always ready to intercede with Him on our behalf, but never for anything contrary to His wishes.

As long as we approach her as we do Him, with sincerely humble and contrite hearts, we can count on her aid and guidance. Mary’s last spoken words in the Gospels concerned her Son when she said at the wedding feast at Cana “Do whatever he tells You” (John 2:5). If we persevere in our intentions to do Christ’s will for us, we are doing hers as well.

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