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Pope Francis calls for a revival in missionary awareness

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MIAMI | Pope Francis’ declaration of October 2019 as Extraordinary Missionary Month coincides with the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter, “Maximum Illud” — a letter which exhorted Catholics to view missionary activity as the proclamation of the Gospel and not just in foreign lands.

Pope Francis has stressed much the same thing throughout his pontificate, most recently in his message for the 2019 World Mission Day, given on the feast of Pentecost: “The missionary mandate touches us personally: I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always; every baptized man and woman is a mission.”

In the Archdiocese of Miami, Archbishop Thomas Wenski has picked up this theme by stressing our call as “missionary disciples.”

The archdiocese also takes part each year in the Mission Cooperative Plan, through which representatives of missionary groups and religious communities are invited to speak at all the parishes, sharing their experiences and inviting local Catholics to collaborate in their work.

The archdiocese also is home to groups that regularly do mission work in South America and the Caribbean: from Amor en Accion which focuses on sister relationships with schools and parishes in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, to the Knights of Malta who go on medical missions abroad — and support the St. John Bosco Clinic for the poor in Miami. Some local parishes and schools also have adopted or developed mission projects abroad, even as far away as Africa.

Establishing a local connection to missions is a powerful tool, helping the faithful to engage, and not only help to change the lives of others, but often transform themselves in the process.

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