'Profound Relationship with Christ' at the Heart of Mission Outreach

By Gina Christian (OSV News)

The Pontifical Mission Societies "fearlessly, courageously propose the Gospel" amid both hardships and hope, U.S. National Director Msgr. Kieran Harrington said.

"The truth is that I want to baptize everybody," he said. "And I don't make an apology for it. This is what Christ told us to do. So it's not the soft sell of the Gospel. It's that life in Christ is transformative to my experience. And if I believe that to be the case, then I want to share that."

The worldwide network, which operates at the service of the pope, consists of four organizations: the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Missionary Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter the Apostle and the Pontifical Missionary Union.

A profound relationship with Christ is at the heart of all four of the societies' outreach, said Msgr. Harrington -- something he hopes will be highlighted as the universal Catholic Church marks World Mission Sunday, Oct. 22 this year. Pope Francis' theme for the 2023 observance is "hearts on fire, feet on the move," which recalls the encounter between two disciples and the Risen Christ on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35).

The collection taken up that day (and at vigil Masses on Oct. 21) is the primary financial support for the Pontifical Mission Societies, which have a presence in some 1,100 dioceses in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands and parts of Latin America and Europe.

Photo: Father Peter Nguyen Truong Giang, Vietnamese Auxiliary Bishop Peter Nguyen Van Vien of Vinh, center, and local people pose at Hau Thao Chapel. Father Giang, two women religious and lay leaders minister to 1,400 Catholics in remote villages of northwest Vietnam. (CNS photo/courtesy UCA News)


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