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Vatican to Celebrate World Mission Sunday Amid Pandemic

The celebration is to remind Catholics of their commitment to help those in need.

The Catholic Church’s World Mission Sunday 2020 will be celebrated as usual on October 18, the Vatican said, highlighting the importance of evangelization and support for the Church’s mission territories amid the pandemic.

“In response to some requests about the celebration of World Mission Day 2020, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples confirms that it will be celebrated this year at the universal level on Sunday, October 18, with no change in the calendar,” the Congregation said in a statement. (Read: Pope Declares September 4 as Worldwide Day of Prayer for Lebanon)

World Mission Sunday—also known as World Mission Day—is an annual celebration by the Catholic Church every second-to-the-last Sunday of October.

Canceled Church Events

A sign announces that all services have been canceled due to COVID-19 at St. Saviour’s Anglican Church in Toronto on March 15. (Photo from Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press / National Post)

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, several observances of the Catholic Church have been postponed and rescheduled. In many parts of the world, Holy Masses and observances of the sacraments are being streamed online or are celebrated with the strictest health protocols.

“In many dioceses,” the Congregation noted, “the preparation for World Mission Day has been underway for some time and the missionary animation of the People of God remains pre-eminent.” (Read: Pope Francis Resumes Public General Audience in September)

“Faith, in fact, by its very nature, is missionary and the celebration of World Mission Day serves to keep this essential dimension of the Christian faith alive in all the faithful.”

World Mission Sunday Message

Photo from Archdiocese of San Francisco

On May 31, Pope Francis released his message for this year’s celebration.

With the theme, “Here am I, send me,” taken from the Book of Isaiah, the Pope’s message encourages everyone to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity for mission and service to others. (Read: Vatican Donates Ventilators, Ultrasound Scanners to Brazil Hospitals)

World Mission Sunday was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1926, in order to remind Catholics about their commitment and support to the missionary work of the Church through prayer and sacrifice.

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