50th anniversary of Ad Gentes and Mission Sunday 18 October 2015

12 Oct 2015


Since 1926, the Church has traditionally remembered its universal mission during the month of October. This year Mission Sunday will be celebrated on 18 October on the theme ‘Abundant Life’. Bishops have welcomed the message of Pope Francis for Mission Sunday, and for his invitation to reread and reflect on the contents of Ad Gentes, the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity which was promulgated by Blessed Pope Paul VI fifty years ago in December. Bishops also noted that the late Bishop Donal Lamont, a native of Antrim, played a significant role in the drafting of Ad Gentes.

In his message for Mission Sunday Pope Francis says that: “Mission is a passion for Jesus and at the same time a passion for his people. When we pray before Jesus crucified, we see the depth of his love which gives us dignity and sustains us. At the same time, we realise that the love flowing from Jesus’ pierced heart expands to embrace the People of God and all humanity. We realise once more that he wants to make use of us to draw closer to his beloved people (cf. ibid., 268) and all those who seek him with a sincere heart. In Jesus’ command to “go forth”, we see the scenarios and ever-present new challenges of the Church’s evangelizing mission. All her members are called to proclaim the Gospel by their witness of life. In a particular way, consecrated men and women are asked to listen to the voice of the Spirit who calls them to go to the peripheries, to those to whom the Gospel has not yet been proclaimed.”

During their recent Autumn General Meeting bishops viewed a new DVD, produced by World Missions Ireland, which features the work of missionaries. This seven minute DVD, which has been circulated to parishes throughout Ireland, is narrated by former RTÉ special correspondent Charlie Bird. It highlights the work of missionaries with people who live in a cemetery in Manila in the Philippines, with children rescued from people traffickers and with people with AIDS in Seoul, South Korea.

Ahead of this year’s Mission Sunday Bishops express their appreciation to Irish missionaries and ask the faithful to continue to support their work in bringing light and hope into the lives of the most marginalised and oppressed.

Notes to Editors:

  • Please see special Mission Sunday feature on www.catholicbishops.ie which includes the text of the Mission Sunday message from Pope Francis, the World Missions Ireland video narrated by Charlie Bird, and, related texts and prayers.                                                    

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444