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BRIGHTON -- We have a responsibility to share the light of Jesus Christ, to be missionaries in our own right and spread the message of the Gospel with others both near and far, said Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley in his homily at the Mass of World Mission Sunday, Oct. 22.
"All of us have received this wonderful challenge, to share that treasure that has liberated us and has brought us Jesus' light and love," he said.
Organized by the Pontifical Mission Societies of the Archdiocese of Boston, the annual Mass serves as a way to honor different cultures from around the world as well as the work of missionaries around the world.
Held this year at St. Columbkille Church in Brighton, the Mass began with procession of flags representing different countries across the world and carried by members of the different ethnic communities in the Archdiocese of Boston.
Members of those communities, as well as members of religious orders and missionary organizations, filled the pews of the church, as the singing from three separate choirs -- the St. Columbkille Partnership School Select Choir, the Kenyan Catholic Community Choir, and the Nigerian Catholic Community Choir -- individually filled the air.
In his homily, Cardinal O'Malley offered thanks to those involved in missionary work, and spoke about the "sense of responsibility" and stewardship Catholics must have.
"The gifts that we have received are not just for us, but they are being shared -- the gift of life, the gift of our education, the gift of our wealth, the gift of our faith," he said.
"Today, we celebrate that on Mission Sunday, that all of our resources are to be used for God's glory."
Throughout the Gospel, "we see how Jesus has a special love for the poor and the sick, the cardinal said. His first priority, based on how many times it is mentioned in the Gospels, is care for the sick. Preaching the Gospel comes second.
We must keep that in mind, he said, for "if people do not understand that we love them, they will never accept our message."
"So, part of the mission of the Church to evangelize is to bring God's mercy to people throughout the world and then help them to discover the joy of the Gospel, the freedom of the Gospel, the life that the Gospel brings."
That is what missionaries do on a daily basis, and what all Catholics are called to do, he said.
The intercessory prayers following the homily were said in seven languages -- Swahili, Vietnamese, Cape Verdean Creole, Chinese-Cantonese, Igbo, Luganda, and English -- before Cardinal O'Malley blessed the World Mission Rosaries, which were given to those in attendance.
First introduced to the world in 1951 by the then national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith Archbishop Fulton Sheen, World Mission Rosaries are unique because each of the five decades is of a different color, representing the different regions of the world.
Msgr. William Fay, archdiocesan director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, offered closing remarks at the end of the Mass, thanking those in attendance for their continued work.
Speaking to The Pilot following the Mass, Father Richard O'Nyamwaro, A.J., commented on how he enjoyed the cardinal's homily, and said "the Mass was great."
He said he has long been a missionary, first serving in the country of Tanzania, and is currently a Mission Director for the Apostles of Jesus, a missionary group that addresses both the physical and spiritual needs of peoples throughout the world.
"There are two ways of giving to the mission," he said. "Some people give by going, other go by giving. Without their support, we have no mission."