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Bishop pays tribute to 1,500 Irish Catholic missionaries

By Sarah Mac Donald - 19 October, 2013

World Mission Sunday: an opportunity to recommit to the Church’s missionary activity.

Mission Sunday pictureBishop Kieran O’Reilly of Killaloe has paid tribute to the work of approximately 1,500 Irish-born Catholic missionaries and all missionaries throughout the world ahead of Mission Sunday tomorrow.

“World Mission Sunday provides an opportunity to give thanks for them and the work they have done and continue to do,” he said in a statement.

The Bishop added that World Mission Sunday was also an opportunity for the faithful in Ireland to recommit themselves “to the Church’s missionary activity, through prayer, sacrifice and financial help.”

Referring to the theme for Mission Sunday 2013 – ‘Growing in Faith’ – the former missionary said the theme was appropriate at the close of the universal Year of Faith.

He noted that it also acknowledges the first encyclical of Pope Francis entitled Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith), which was published last July. 

Last year, Irish Catholics contributed more than €2 million to the special Mission Sunday collection and it funded a range of projects in Mission Dioceses in Africa and Asia, including India, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Sudan.

Contributions are used in their entirety to help fund as many as 1,100 young Churches which are supported by the generosity of Churches that are better off. 

Funds raised are used to assist young Churches and missionaries in helping communities in need, both spiritually and materially, with contributions being used to build simple mission churches, to educate seminarians and to assist in the formation of catechists and lay leaders. 

The Mission Sunday gift is also used for the building of health clinics for children, emergency aid in times of war or natural disaster and to assist missionaries in their efforts to care for refugees.

Thanking all those who have generously supported the Church’s missionaries over the years, Bishop O’Reilly acknowledged their support despite the harsh economic climate at home.  He urged the faithful to once again support the Church’s missionaries this year in the Mission Sunday collection.

Separately, missionaries and returned missionaries, both lay and religious, from Sri Lanka, Ghana, Pakistan, Zambia, Grenada and Ireland will gather to celebrate the Eucharist in RTÉ One’s studios this Sunday morning to mark Mission Sunday.

The Mass, which has been organised by the Presentation Brothers, will be transmitted live from 11.00am.

The introductory video features the work of the Edmund Rice Action Camps filmed at Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh in Bishopstown, Cork with images from Mardyke House, and Mount Saint Joseph in Cork city.  The choir will be drawn from students from Coláiste Muire in Cobh.

Fr Patrick Relihan, a school chaplain in Youghal, County Cork, and a past-pupil of the Presentation Brothers, will be the celebrant for the Mass.  

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