In, October 22, 2017, Pope Francis announced that the month of October, 2019 was to be set aside to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud. He called October the Extraordinary Mission Month and Catholics around the world were to help with … proclaiming the Gospel with new enthusiasm.”
Before looking at what we can do to help in the mission of proclaiming the Gospel, we should look at why the letter was written. It was published in 1919. This was a time of great turmoil throughout the world. The Great War had just ended, the Russian Revolution and Civil War continued, many of the major Empires had been destroyed or were in decline and millions were dying as a result of the Spanish Flu. The intent of the letter was to encourage people to ... "Go into the world and preach the gospel …” Unlike other attempts at evangelisation by the Church, Benedict wanted this to be different. No longer were there to be forced conversions as were seen in Spain after the Reconquista in the 15th century or among the first peoples in the Americas and in other indiginous societies. The break with Eurocentric and colonial thought would lead to an appreciation for different cultures and the Church. Local churches would thrive independently and serve their communities.
This October the theme Pope Francis provided for the Extraordinary Missionary Month is “Baptised and Sent: the Church of Christ on Mission in the World”. He would like to see a reinvigorating of the responsibility to proclaim the Gospel with new enthusiasm. We should place the mission of Jesus at the heart of the Church and we should have a commitment to personal and communal conversion to Jesus Christ.
To live more intensely Pope Francis wants to do four things.
1. Encounter the living Jesus Christ in his Church through the Eucharist, the Word of God and in both personal and communal prayer.
2. Look to the missionary saints and martyrs of the faith as guides to our actions.
3. Understand the biblical, catechetical, spiritual and theological elements of the Church.
4. Support missionary charity by helping those in need.
We at St. Paul School will meet the dimensions in October and as we go through the upcoming school year. As early as September 25 when we celebrate our opening mass we will develop an understanding of the word of God in biblical and theological terms. This will continue as we put the division’s Faith Plan into action by making sure that we will “Be mindful... Be prayerful.” Each year in October we collect food for the FCC drive to “Help Drive Hunger Away”. Finally we can look to the life of St. Oscar Romero, who was canonised last year by Pope Francis as an example of a man who saw his role in the world was to serve the poor of El Salvador and paid for this with his life.