An extraordinary celebration of global mission

Teachers, students and their families from across the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle gathered on October 23 at St Joseph’s Catholic Parish in Toronto for the 2019 Diocesan Mission Mass. They came together to celebrate the prayerful and practical support generated by their school for children like themselves around the world — children often living in difficult and life-threatening circumstances caused by poverty, disability, racial discrimination, community conflict and war. 

Each year, October is Mission Month, but schools throughout our Diocese can stage a “mission day” at any time in the year. These days raise awareness and funds to support missionaries working in partnership with Catholic Mission and disadvantaged communities around the world. These child-focused, community development projects improve the health, wellbeing and life prospects of children regardless of race, ethnicity or faith background.  St Francis of Assisi is claimed to have said: “Preach always, and only if necessary, use words.” So, the missionary work of the church to proclaim the good news of the Gospel is often best served and speaks most clearly by actions that support the dignity, development and independence of people and their communities.

This October, in response to Pope Francis’s invitation for an Extraordinary Missionary Month, students across our Diocese reflected on how mission is not just something we do “out there” for the good of others but must engage us personally to be genuine and effective. As Pope Francis reminds us, each Christian is “baptised and sent” to witness as best we can to the reality of the love of God for all people and our fragile world. The invitation to this mission and the transformation it requires is at once, personal, communal, corporate and spiritual.

This year’s Diocesan Mission Mass provided students with an opportunity for reflection, prayer and to give thanks to God for the positive difference they have made in partnership with Catholic Mission. In particular this year to the lives of young people in Ghana, West Africa and to children like Sarah who was born with a disability and rejected by her community. Sarah found a safe place at the Nazareth Home for God’s Children, which is one of many critical initiatives established by the Catholic Church in Ghana and supported by Catholic Mission. It is a haven for children, who like Sarah, were born with a disability and now have access to food and shelter, healthcare, and most importantly, unconditional love.

Through the ongoing and at times extraordinary efforts of the school communities and of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, the church continues the work of global mission, to soften hearts and improve lives locally and globally.

The story of Sarah and Catholic Mission’s work can be viewed here.

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Mark Toohey Image
Mark Toohey

Mark is the Diocesan Director for Catholic Mission in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

Brittany Gonzalez Image
Brittany Gonzalez

Brittany Gonzalez is a Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator for Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.