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Rome Reports

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Vatican presents upcoming World Mission Day

On Oct. 24, the Church celebrates World Mission Day. The theme this year is “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard.” It refers to the work of thousands of missionaries around the world.

In Rome, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Card. Luis Antonio Tagle, made some final recommendations.

He says it will be a special opportunity to do as the Pope says and go from a self-centered Church to a missionary one.

Prefect, Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
“I think we have seen during these past years a certain consistency in the appeal of the Holy Father, which I think we should take seriously and it is to really bring together spirituality, encounter, with Jesus Christ.”

The Cardinal also commented on the latest official statistics of the Catholic Church. They show that the number of Catholics has increased by 16 million, about 1.12 percent.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle says that this growth has been felt in Asia, but that evangelization in the East remains a challenge.

Prefect, Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
“These past years we have seen in Asia, in terms of proportion, percentage, an increase in the number of baptisms and also in entry to seminaries and religious life. In terms of numbers, still small, but in terms of percentage, proportion, it's large. And we of course thank the Lord, but this is the fruit of a communion.”

The Vatican again emphasized that World Mission Day must be an important event to promote a personal encounter with God and remember the sacrifices missionaries make.

Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
“We see our Churches flourishing in the areas where missionaries have been working. They have given everything there. People's sacrifices bear fruit. I could list many examples, some dramatic, of people who have done so.”

World Mission Day was instituted by Pius XI in 1926 at the request of the four Pontifical Mission Societies. They are institutions that organize campaigns to help missionaries. As a matter of fact, Pauline Jaricot, who came up with one of these initiatives, will be beatified in May.