Sharing in the Missionary Impulse
by the USCCB Catholic Home Missions and
Evangelization and Catechesis Offices
Greetings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops staff of Catholic Home Missions and Evangelization and Catechesis! It is with great excitement that we invite you to participate in the 2015 US Mission Congress. The Congress’ theme is: Witnessing Mission: Called to be Missionary Disciples. As we enter the third year of Pope Francis’ pontificate it is helpful to revisit his message in Evangelii Gaudium: “I dream of a ‘missionary option,’ that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world…” (EG 27).
While we all share in the same mission, we express the “missionary impulse” in different ways. This is the beautiful message that Saint Paul communicated to the Corinthians: “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit… But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes. As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.” (1 Cor. 12: 7, 11-12). While we are all called to participate in the ‘missionary option’ of the Church, each of us does so according to the gifts we have been given by the Holy Spirit. Not only is there diversity in gifts given, there is diversity in where those gifts are put into service. Some use their gifts in the missions ad gentes and some live out their call in the home missions of the United States. Still others express their missionary impulse as generous donors that make mission possible.
This is what is so encouraging about missionaries. You have heard God’s call to serve in a particular way and you have done so whole-heartedly! In your ministries you serve Christ who is hidden in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the ill and the imprisoned (Mt. 25:31-46). You have a unique and indispensable role in the mission of the Church. You make the Church visible by going to the peripheries and tangibly serving those most in need. For this we commend you, we say thank you, and we encourage you to come to the 2015 US Mission Congress. There we hope that you will be renewed and inspired to continue God’s work and share the myriad of ways in which you make the name of Jesus Christ known and loved throughout the world. The USCCB is grateful for the opportunity to sponsor and participate in 2015 Mission Congress and we hope to see you there!