Cardinal Dolan, celebrating the annual World Mission Sunday Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, told the missionaries and the faithful in the pews, “We need others, a community to support us in our faith and prayers. We call that the Church.”
About 1,100 people attended the Oct. 24 morning Mass marking the 95th anniversary of World Mission Sunday.
“We’re grateful on this Mission Sunday throughout the Church Universal, to renew the missionary spirit, and to renew our commitment to the Church’s essential missionary efforts throughout the world,” said the cardinal in welcoming remarks. “We’re glad you’re here. You enhance our sense of prayer.”
“Join me in seeking the Lord’s special blessing upon our missionaries who are with us here today, missionaries in service to Jesus and His Church throughout the world,” the cardinal later said.
Brother David Cooney, F.M.S., a Bronx-based Marist Brother, was among those who attended the Mass and who have done missionary work. Brother Cooney, 77, told CNY, “I worked twice in Liberia, from 1985 to the beginning of 1994, and again from 2012 to 2015.
“We conducted teacher training at a high school and an elementary school. We worked in conjunction with the Consolata Sisters in a mission camp, a leprosy camp. And we were also responsible for food relief, working with Catholic Relief Services.”
Brother Cooney said he was thankful for the Church’s recognition of the missionary work that he and missionaries worldwide have done, adding, “The Mass is a chance to join together in solidarity and gratitude.”
During his homily, Cardinal Dolan spoke on the Gospel reading from Mark 10, about the blind man named Bartimaeus, who was cured by Christ. “I can tell you that our friend Bart can teach us something about prayer. He said, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.’ Jesus likes us to be sharp and simple, to the point and sincere like Bartimaeus was...Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner; to the point, sincere prayers.”
The cardinal went on to elaborate on the significance of asking the Lord for His mercy. He said mercy is a word in the Bible “that sums up all the gifts that God wants to give us. When we don’t know what to ask, mercy is about the best thing...The crowd became a support for Bartimaeus in bringing him closer to Jesus. So, we need other people; we need others, a community to support us in our faith and prayers. We call that the Church.”
Cardinal Dolan noted that for Bartimaeus his blindness was physical, but that for most of us our blindness is spiritual. “We too need to say to Jesus, ‘Lord, that I may see You one day in everlasting life; and that I may recognize You now as my Savior, the only begotten Son of God; that I might see You as the way, the truth and the life that You are, in moments of darkness—spiritual or emotional blindness...Here’s the point of Mission Sunday: when you follow Jesus as Bartimaeus did, you’re going to end up being a missionary; so when you go with Jesus, you’ll end up going out for Jesus.”
The general intercessions featured one for the sainthood cause of Venerable Pauline Marie Jaricot, a French laywoman who founded the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in 1822 in France when she organized circles of 10 to offer daily prayers and pennies for the missions.
The Mass concelebrants included Msgr. Marc J. Filacchione, director of the archdiocesan Society for the Propagation of the Faith, who told Catholic New York, “World Mission Sunday is the day the Church sets apart for all Catholics throughout the world to renew publicly their commitment to the mission, and to proclaim the joy of their faith.”
Monica Ann Yehle, chief of staff for the New York-based Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, said, “This Mass is a universal celebration. Through this liturgy here in St. Patrick’s we’re connected with people all over the world celebrating our vocations as missionaries, united in prayerful solidarity.”