I like the cool - even cold weather. Just ask anyone in our national office of the Pontifical Mission Societies and they'll tell you how I never mind if the air conditioner is cranking.
As the summer heats up - the weather was brutally hot this past weekend here in New York - I cannot help but think of the fall, not only for its cooler temperatures but also for the celebration of World Mission Sunday.
Perhaps already this summer, you have heard a talk given at Mass in your parish by a missionary. The Society for the Propagation of the Faith, one of four Pontifical Mission Societies, coordinates a program, the Missionary Cooperation Plan, which enables these parish presentations. The Plan started in the 1930s as a way for U.S. missionary communities to raise awareness of their work and the Church's worldwide mission, as well as to encourage vocations and gather support. Today presenters also include persons from the Developing World, living witnesses to the good that you accomplish with your gifts to the Pontifical Mission Societies.
These visits also allow a glimpse of the Missions today, and help us to prepare our hearts and minds for World Mission Sunday, when the whole world unites in recommitment to our common vocation to be missionaries. This responsibility to share our faith, given to us at Baptism, begins here at home, and extends to the furthest corners of the globe, where missionaries you meet and hear this summer offer witness to the healing, saving love of Jesus. As our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI says in his message for WMS this year (October 19): "Today there are countless people who are waiting for the proclamation of the Gospel, those who are thirsting for hope and love." On World Mission Sunday, we have the opportunity to be part of the mission story today, helping to make sure, through our prayers and sacrifices, that they discover the source of all hope and love - the Lord Jesus Himself.
So as you listen to missionaries in the heat of this summer, think fall. There's a cool celebration waiting for you this and every October.
The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerful missionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.