London (Fides Service) – In this third millennium Catholics in England and Wales are no longer only Anglo Saxons, they come from many other cultures and this rich diversity of traditions is harnessed for universal mission in union with the Pope and the Church all over the world. “Our annual celebration of World Mission Sunday along with all members of the Church throughout the world, is a refocusing of this vision. Communities of ‘every tribe and people and nation’ rich and poor, churches with ancient tradition those newly flowered, those just emerging from persecution – all proclaim their share in Christ’s mission…” says Fr John Dale, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in England and Wales, in the Mission Sunday pack 2003 distributed to parishes in preparation for the annual celebration and collection for the Catholic missions.
Recalling imminent celebrations for the 25 years of the pontificate of the Pope John Paul II, Fr Dale says “His travels through the world have been a reminder of the universal mission of the Church…”
The Mission Sunday pack sent to parishes and available on the WEB, consists of a mission poster, showing Pope John Paul II being hugged by a little girl in a mission country; the Pope's Message for World Mission Suday 2003; the Pope’s mission intentions for 2004, (for inclusion in parish bidding prayers and parish newsletter); information on mission and the work of the PMS indications for the celebration of a special Mass for the Spread of the Gospel found in the Roman Missal, section “for various needs and occasions”; Catechists notes with a folder on Children’s Liturgy.
Practical suggestions offered for the special Mission Sunday Liturgy reveal the reality of a local Church in England and Wales Church living and thriving in a multicultural society: “Decorate the church with examples of religious art coming from as many different cultures as possible; Invite people of different nationalities to exercise the roles of reader, cantor, Eucharistic ministers, ushers etc.; Invite parishioners from other lands, particularly children, to wear national costume.; Have one person pray the Our Father in their own language while the congregation quietly says it in English; At the dismissal send out four young people with lighted candles to the four corners of the church, representing the Gospel carried to the four corners of the earth.” PS (Fides Service 13/10/2003 EM lines 28 Words: 339)