World Mission Sunday – the day when the entire global Church comes together in support of mission – is being held today, Sunday 20th October. And to make this day even more important, for the first time it is running alongside another exciting global event!
Pope Francis declared October 2019 as a special month of prayer and action, to strengthen and grow God’s mission through the Church – creating an Extraordinary Month of Mission (EMM2019).
During the third week of the Extraordinary Month of Mission, Catholics are called to support overseas mission financially through Missio. So, it is a fitting time to honour the brave and selfless women and men already making a huge difference in the world’s poorest communities.
Every day, all over the world, countless young girls are exploited. Often stolen from their families or sold against their will, these children become trapped in lives of poverty and despair.
In India, child trafficking and child labour is the reality for around 12 million children. This tragic statistic is staggering; however, it would be far worse without the presence of the Catholic Church. For decades, your support of Missio has enabled local communities to work hard to rescue those suffering.
Sr Clara from India has dedicated her life to educating vulnerable young girls, giving them the skills to break free from exploitation and abuse. Through their devotion and faith, the Sisters help the children to see their worth as a beloved child of God: ‘We always give them the confidence that Jesus loves them.’
Once rescued, the girls are provided with a loving, safe home, where the sisters give them an education, medical care, spiritual formation and counselling.
When she was five years old, Vandoosha* was sold to be a domestic worker. She was then sold again, but this time her cries of distress were heard and she was rescued with the aid of Sr Clara.
Shorti* was stolen from her family at a young age and put to work begging at a busy train station. She is another of the children that have been rescued by the Sisters at Marialaya.
Eleven years have passed since both Vandoosha and Shorti were brought into the loving care of the sisters. Today, when they are asked what Sr Clara means to them, both girls can express it in just a few words: ‘Mother. She is our mother.’
Missionaries like Sr Clara are able to continue to reach out to the most vulnerable people in their communities. This work is the heart of mission – bringing the light and hope of Jesus to everyone, regardless of their background or belief. And thanks to your generous contributions to the World Mission Sunday collections each year, we can all support and be part of the mission of the Church. This is where we see St Francis of Assisi’s words at work: ‘Preach the Gospel at all times and, when necessary, use words’.
By supporting Missio, you play a valuable part in creating a vibrant Catholic Church for the future. You can find out more about World Mission Sunday at missio.org.uk/wms. *Names have been changed to protect identities.
Picture: Thanks to support, Sr Clara rescued these girls from exploitation. (Missio).