National song contest to light up Extraordinary Missionary Month

Forget Eurovision. An international competition is challenging young people in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle to compose and perform their own songs for the upcoming Extraordinary Missionary Month in October 2019.

The contest, which is being run globally by the Pontifical Mission Societies, invites young people up to the age of 19 to “sing for mission” by writing and performing an entry, with the winning song being published on the Vatican’s Extraordinary Missionary Month website during October.

Pope Francis called for the Extraordinary Missionary Month to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud on overseas mission. He describes Maximum Illud as a ‘milestone in the evolution of the Church’s missionary work’. It repeats the biblical instruction for Catholics to ‘go to the ends of the earth and preach the Gospel’, while also recognising the importance of training religious people who come from and live in local communities. Maximum Illud highlights the importance in developing local churches and its people so that they may thrive.

‘The Extraordinary Missionary Month is an opportunity for everyone to do something extraordinary for mission, to work for a better world. For our young people around Australia, writing and singing is a wonderful creative outlet to do that,’ says Mark Toohey, Diocesan Director for Catholic Mission in Maitland-Newcastle. ‘Music is such a powerful communication that can move people to act with confidence and conviction!’ said Mr Toohey.

Songs for the competition can be written and performed by groups or individuals, but there is a set of criteria to follow; they must be suitable for singing by congregations or groups and an emphasis will be placed on style and content, rather than production value.

Most importantly, the refrain must contain the international theme for the Extraordinary Missionary Month, ‘Baptised and Sent’. An exploration of that theme and some lyrical inspiration can be found on Catholic Mission’s website.

Entries can be submitted in mp3 format to the Catholic Mission Maitland-Newcastle office, with a winner chosen by an expert judging panel.

‘It’s a really exciting challenge for young people around the country, and Newcastle and the Hunter Region have a longstanding reputation for musically talented young people… I can’t wait to see the variety in the entries that come back from our Diocese,’ said Mr Toohey.

The last day to submit entries for the competition is Friday July 26, 2019. The judges’ choice from Maitland-Newcastle will progress to the final round of judging, with the ultimate winning song sent to Rome to be displayed on the website with others from around the world.

For more information, contact Mark Toohey, Diocesan Director for Maitland-Newcastle, on (02) 4979 1141 or visit

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