Bishop F. F. de Gouveia
Oudtshoorn, 18 October 2012

Mission Sunday 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

World Mission Sunday occurs every year on the second last Sunday of October. This year the celebration of World Mission Sunday has a very special significance because it occurs just a week after the opening of the Year of Faith. We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and also the Synod of Bishops on the theme of the New Evangelization.All of these events show the importance of the Church’s mission to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. “We are all called to radiate the Word of truth” (Benedict XVI Porta Fidei, 6)

“Today, as in the past, he (Christ) sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth” (Porta Fidei, 7). The Church is missionary by nature. There is an urgency to spread the Gospel. Millions of people in the world have not heard of Christ and there are many others who, perhaps because of an inadequate catechesis or poor example or lack of support from their brothers and sisters, have fallen away from the Faith. The call of Jesus has to extend to all and all people need to hear his invitation to ‘Come, follow me!”

If our Faith means anything to us then it is something that we will want to share with others and we would want all people to experience the joy of believing and the transforming grace that flows from our faith. This is the task of the Church as a whole and of every individual believer. Pope Benedict says in his message for Mission Sunday: “Many priests, men and women religious from every part of the world, numerous lay people and even entire families leave their countries and their local communities and go to other Churches to bear witness to and to proclaim the Name of Christ, in which humanity finds salvation. It is an expression of profound communion, sharing and charity among the Churches, so that every man and woman may hear or listen again to the saving proclamation and approach the sacraments, source of true life.”

Mission Sunday is an opportunity for all of us in the Church throughout the world to express our solidarity and come together in support of missionaries everywhere and to express our shared responsibility for this mission. Christ has commanded us to go out to all the nations, to baptise them and to teach them all that He has taught us. We participate in this mission today by our prayer, our faith and our care by giving of our material resources for the spread of the Gospel. Being a missionary diocese ourselves what we receive from the Pontifical Mission Societies far outweighs what we as a diocese contribute by way of the second collection on Mission Sunday.

May our celebration of this Mission Sunday during this Year of Faith be a moment of grace for all of us and all those whom we will touch because of our faith!


 Bishop Francisco de Gouveia

Sending Sondag 2012

Liewe Broeders en Susters in Christus

Elke jaar op die voorlaaste Sondag in Oktober vier die Kerk Wêreld Sending Sondag. Vanjaar se viering van Wêreld Sending Sondag dra ‘n baie spesiale betekenis omdat dit net ‘n week ná die begin van die Jaar van Geloof plaasvind. Ons vier die 50ste herdenking van die opening van die Tweede Vatikaanse Konsilie, die 20ste herdenking van die Kategismus van die Katolieke Kerk en ook van die Biskoppe Sinode oor die Nuwe Evangelisasie. Al hierdie gebeure is ‘n aanduiding van hoe belangrik die Kerk se sending is om die Goeie Nuus van Jesus Christus te versprei. “Ons is geroepe om die Woord van die waarheid uit te straal” (Benedictus XVI Porta Fidei, 6).

“Vandag, net soos destyds, is Christus besig om ons op die hoofpaaie van die wêreld uit te stuur om sy Evangelie aan al die volke op aarde te verkondig” (Porta Fidei, 7). Die Kerk is gerig op sending. Daar bestaan ‘n dringende nood om die Evangelie te versprei. Miljoene mense op aarde het nog nie van Christus gehoor nie en daar is baie ander wat afgedwaal het van die Geloof, miskien as gevolg van swak kategese of slegte voorbeelde of geen steun van hul broers en susters nie. Jesus se roepstem moet aan almal gerig word en alle mense het behoefte om sy uitnodiging te hoor: “Kom, volg My!”

As ons Geloof hoegenaamd iets vir ons beteken dan sal ons dit met ander wil deel en sal ons wil hê dat alle mense die vreugde van glo en die transformerende genade wat daaruit vloei ervaar. Dit is juis die taak van die Kerk as geheel en elke individuele gelowige.  In sy boodskap vir Sending Sondag sê pous Benedictus die volgende: “Baie priesters, sowel as manlike en vroulike religieuse vanuit elke wêrelddeel, en talle leke persone, selfs hele gesinne, verlaat hul lande en plaaslike gemeenskappe om na ander Kerke te gaan en getuienis te lewer van Jesus Christus en om sy Naam te verkondig – dié Naam waardeur die mensdom gered word. Op dié wyse word die liefde en mededeelsaamheid tussen die Kerke op ‘n baie diep wyse uitgedruk sodat elke man en vrou dié verkondiging van hul verlossing mag aanhoor of opnuut daarna sal luister en die sakramente, die bron van ware lewe, mag nader.”

Sending Sondag bied aan almal van ons in die Kerk regoor die wêreld die geleentheid om ons solidariteit met mekaar uit te druk en byeen te kom om sendelinge oraloor te ondersteun en ons eie deelname aan en verantwoordelikheid vir sendingwerk ‘n werklikheid te maak. Christus het ons opdrag gegee om na al die nasies toe te gaan, hulle te doop en hulle alles te leer wat Hy ons geleer het. Vandag neem ons deur ons gebede, ons geloof en aan dié sendingwerk deel, asook deur ons materiële bydrae tot die verspreiding van die Evangelie. Self is ons nog ‘n sending bisdom en dit wat ons van die Pontifikale Sendinggenootskappe ontvang oorskry by verre dit wat ons deur middel van die tweede kollekte op Sending Sondag bydra tot hulle werk.

Mag ons viering van dié Sending Sondag in hierdie Jaar van Geloof ‘n genade oomblik vir ons en almal word wat deur ons geloof aangeraak word!


† Biskop Francisco de Gouveia