At the annual World Mission Sunday Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Cardinal Dolan told the faithful that “all we have to do is look at the Church in the mission countries to know how God’s grace and mercy are in abundance.”
The cardinal, in his homily, called the more than 300 people attending the Oct. 18 morning liturgy to pray for the missioners present and to generously support the Church’s missionary efforts across the globe.
The cardinal went on to speak about Cyrus, a pagan Persian emperor, who liberated the people of Israel from exile in Babylon as the day’s first reading from Isaiah explained.
“If God can use a Cyrus to accomplish his designs,” he said, “then we must have a marvelous God who can and does bring good from evil, light from darkness...hope from despair, even life from death.
“God can use imperfection, setbacks, adversity and contrary events to accomplish his designs,” the cardinal said.
Cardinal Dolan gave a personal example to show how the Lord sometimes works in ways we cannot understand to bring about beneficial outcomes despite adverse circumstances. He noted that as a young priest he received an assignment in lieu of another one that he would have preferred. As it turned out, the circumstances led to his arranging for his brother Patrick to meet a woman named Mary, who is now Patrick’s wife; they have three children. “And they are happily married,” the cardinal said.
Cardinal Dolan talked about today’s uncertain times stemming largely from the Covid-19 pandemic. He noted that the Lord “brought life from darkness at the dawn of Creation...and preeminently life from death at the Resurrection of Jesus that First Easter. And so does the Lord bring good and light and life from the messes of today, our own Babylonian exile. A believer never gives up, never loses hope.”
The cardinal acknowledged the presence and gave thanks for the Church’s local and national mission administrators and workers, including religious sisters in the pews and some priest- concelebrants.
The concelebrants included Msgr. Marc Filacchoine, director of the archdiocesan Society for the Propagation of the Faith, and Father Andrew Small, O.M.I., national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of the United States.
“We want to support those sisters, lay people and priests who are preaching the message to make Jesus known to the ends of the earth,” Father Small told Catholic New York after the liturgy.
Msgr. Filacchione, in an interview with CNY, said, “This World Mission Sunday Mass brings the Church together, to remind ourselves that because of our baptism we are united.”
Karen Darcy, an accounting associate with the Pontifical Mission Societies of the United States, cited the dedication of mission workers and said they “help support the neediest throughout the world, building hospitals, orphanages and schools.”
World Mission Sunday is an annual opportunity for Catholics all over the world to publicly renew their commitment to the missions. At the same time, organizers said, it offers an opportunity to say thanks to the priests, religious men and women, and lay workers who served and have come home, and to those who are currently bringing the message of the Gospel throughout the world.
“World Mission Sunday was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1926 and first commemorated in 1927,” Msgr. Filacchione said. “They (mission workers) promote the faith in ministries of service, in areas of social justice and health care, and economic development. And on this day we are called to send out a message of hope and faith and love, and to show our solidarity with the entire Church family. By our prayers we’re supporting the missionaries, and by our monetary donations on World Mission Sunday, we respond to the call of Jesus to feed the hungry.”