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Every third Sunday of October, the Catholic church throughout the world commemorates World Mission Sunday. Pope Francis, in his message to all Christians highlightened on the mission that we have received from Christ. These words alone speak about witnessing our faith to the ends of the earth. It is a moment of profound solidarity when the whole church care for ‘Christian communities in need--- and support the proclamation of the Gospel’--even to the ends of the earth.

First, it is a moment of solidarity- which means it is a moment of unity with our Christian brothers and sisters who are in dire need of our help. Some places do not have yet church buildings, and missionaries do not have enough budget while living in remote places in order to do the work entrusted by our Lord. As SMA missionary priest, I witnessed how many Filipino priests and sisters who are now working in remote villages in Africa and Asia working to promote the Word of God. Our Church must be a missionary church, reaching out others, and in this way, we can unite and support Christian communities in need.

Second, it is a moment of proclamation of the Gospel. We are all missionaries by virtue of our baptism and as missionaries, we have a missionary task in life. We are tasked by our God to proclaim the Gospel, but since we are not reaching out to everyone everywhere, we are sending our missionary priests, sisters and lay to some remote places especially in Africa and Asia to support the proclamation of the Gospel.

This ‘World Mission Sunday’ is giving us an opportunity to understand more the meaning of Mission. A number of Filipino priests, sisters and lay missionaries are now assigned in different countries. I was in Ghana for almost 9 years as a missionary priest. and I was assigned in 26 villages. At first it was a sacrifice for me, then later on I found out the joy in that sacrifice. It is a sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel, a sacrifice for the sake of God’s plan, and a sacrifice for the sake of mission. I was once asked by my mother why I needed to leave the country in order to serve other people outside the Philippines? I said: ‘when God called me to become a missionary priest, I promise to serve His people without boundaries, without color and without language barriers.”

Missionaries are those who are working beyond their boundaries, especially those who have not yet heard the Gospel. They only see one color, and that is the color of love. Missionaries need to leave their country of origin and embrace a new culture, new language and a new way of life.

The Lord is always calling us to come out of ourselves and to share the gift of our faith to others. In sharing our faith to others, we are also doing God’s mission. We cannot fulfill our mission without our committed faith.

St. Paul says?: “proclaim the Word; be persistent, convince and encourage through all patience and teaching”. If we are not persistent to share the WORD to others, then we are not real witnesses.

During World Mission Sunday, at SMA Good Shepherd Parish, I have also promoted the Society of African Missions missionary vocation to our parishioners. Also thank our lay missionaries for supporting us financially and spiritually. The church needs more missionaries: priests, sisters and lay.

FR. ALAN L. DE GUZMAN, SMA