Missionary Year 2019 launched!

The Ex- traordinary Missionary Year was launched on Jan 5 and 6, the Solemnity of Epiphany.

Jan 13, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ex- traordinary Missionary Year was launched on Jan 5 and 6, the Solemnity of Epiphany.

This was in conjunction with the 100th an- niversary of the Apostolic Letter which begins with the words Maximum Illud, (the grand and sublime mission). It was written by Pope Benedict XV, known as the Missionary Pope, inviting the Church to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.

Pope Francis has set Oct 2019 as the Extraordinary Missionary Month (EMM OCT2019), culminating on Mission Sunday which is to be celebrated on October 20, 2019.

The Bishops of Malaysia have decided that they will set the time from the Solemnity of Epiphany, to the end of Oct 2019 as the Ex- traordinary Missionary Year. The Universal theme, given by Pope Francis, is Baptised and Sent – The Church of Christ on Mission in the World. Bishop Sebastian Francis, the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei (CBCMSB), said this in his specially prepared homily for the launch.

“As Catholics who are Baptised, we are the Church – the Church of Christ. As such, we have the duty to respond to the com- mand of our Lord Jesus Christ to ‘go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15). Obeying this mandate of the Lord is not an option for the Church.

In the words of the Second Vatican Council, it is Her ‘essential task,’ for the Church is ‘missionary by nature.’ (Ad Gen- tes,) ‘Evangelising is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity; she exists in order to evangelise.’ (Evangelii Nuntiandi,) The Council went on to say that, if the Church is to remain faith- ful to Herself and to proclaim Jesus cruci- fied and risen for all, the living and merciful Saviour, then ‘prompted by the Holy Spirit, she must walk the same path Christ walked: a path of simplicity and obedience, of ser- vice and self-sacrifice.’ (Ad Gentes,) In this way, she will effectively proclaim the Lord, ‘model of that redeemed humanity, imbued with brotherly love, sincerity and a peace- ful spirit, to which all aspire.‘ (Ad Gentes,).

In St Paul’s Letter to the Philippians 2:15, Scripture says that when we allow God to work in us, we will ‘be blameless and inno- cent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which (we) shine like stars in the world’ (Phil 2:15). Let us shine and be like that star that led the wise men to Jesus.” Bishop Sebastian then gave an outline of the plan prepared for the Penang Diocese ranging from formations, outreach and pil- grimages at designated centres.

The same homily was adapted by the Kuching Archdiocese and the Malacca Jo- hore Diocese with different pilgrimages cen- tres added in.

In the Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese, a video message by Archbishop Julian Leow was played in most parishes during the weekend Masses of the Solemnity of Epiphany.

“Epiphany has special meaning for Chris- tian mission. It reminds us of the Church’s responsibility to represent God’s mission in every aspect of life in all geographical places. It calls us to share in the narrative of Jesus’ life that unfolds in Matthew and the other Gospels – preaching, teaching, healing, feeding, com- forting, and living in obedience to God’s will. “Together as one People of God, we are called to focus on the four main dimensions of this celebration as emphasised by the Holy Father:

--  First, to have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ living in His Church through the Eucharist, in the Word of God and in our personal and communitarian prayer.

-- Second, to meditate on those witnesses of missions through the Saints and martyrs. 

-- Third, to participate in biblical, catecheti- cal, spiritual and theological formation for works of mission.

--And finally, to undertake missionary char- ity as a commitment with the whole Church among the poor and marginalised.

“Therefore, as Church, as BECs and as individuals, let us live our baptismal role by responding to the commands of our Lord Je- sus Christ to “go into the world and proclaim the Gospel” (Mark 16:15),” said Archbishop Leow.

A Missionary Year Epiphany Star has also been prepared for all the faithful of the Archdi- ocese to help them to focus on the four dimen- sions of the Missionary call as emphasised by Pope Francis – encounter with Jesus, Testi- mony of Mission, Missionary Formation and Missionary Charity. This will end on Dec 31, 2019 (see Back Page for more info).

Prayer for the Extraordinary Missionary Year 2019

Heavenly Father,
when your only
begotten Son Jesus Christ
rose from the dead,
he commissioned his followers to
“go and make disciples of all nations”
and you remind us
that through our Baptism
we are made sharers
in the mission of the Church.
Empower us by the gifts
of the Holy Spirit
to be courageous and zealous
in bearing witness to the Gospel,
so that the mission
entrusted to the Church,
which is still very far from completion,
may find new and efficacious expressions
that bring life and light to the world.
Help us make it possible for all peoples
to experience the saving love
and mercy of Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, forever and ever.
Amen.

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