Pope Francis’ address to the National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
A main focus of the week-long Assembly has been the Extraordinary Missionary Month scheduled for October 2019 to commemorate the centenary of the promulgation of the encyclical Maximum illud, by which Pope Benedict XV sought to give a new élan to Catholic missionary endeavor in the wake of World War I’s devastation.
The Missionary Month is also aimed at promoting the missionary commitment of the Church in line with Pope Francis’ own 2013 missionary Exhortation, Evangelii gaudium.
In remarks prepared for the occasion and delivered to the roughly 170 participants on Saturday morning in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis focused on the need to cultivate personal habits of life conducive to holiness, and to practice an openness and docility toward the Holy Spirit, in order to discern new paths and channels by which the more efficaciously to communicate the Good News of our salvation in the One Divine Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
“Renewal requires conversion,” said Pope Francis, “it requires living the mission as a permanent opportunity to proclaim Christ, to bring people to meet Him through [personal] witness and bringing others to participate in our personal encounter with Him.”
The Holy Father went on to express the hope that the spiritual and material assistance to the Churches that the Pontifical Mission Societies give will make those Churches ever more solidly founded on the Gospel and On the baptismal involvement of all the faithful – laymen and clergy alike – in the Church’s one and only mission: “[T]o make God’s love close to every man, especially to those most in need of His mercy.”
Pope Francis went on to pray that the Extraordinary Month of Prayer and Reflection on Mission as First Evangelization might serve this renewal of ecclesial faith, “that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the only Savior, Lord and Spouse of his Church, be ever at work in His Church.”