Bishop’s Monthly Letter
My Dear Rev. Fathers,
The Extra Ordinary Missionary Month has dawned. It is October 2019. We have already explained the need to deepen our commitment, as the local Church of Kandy, to the great missionary commitment entrusted to the Church by the Risen Saviour. Being sent on mission is a call that comes with Baptism and this is common to all the Baptized. It began from Jerusalem and will go on to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1: 8).
Pope Francis, our Universal Shepherd calls for missionary awareness, fervour and commitment. We are called to make disciples of all nations. The Church is missionary by nature, because it is born and founded in the Passover of Jesus’ death and resurrection which is the starting point of the “Acts of the Apostles”. The Cross, historical and risen Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy spirit at Pentecost placed the Church in a permanent state of mission. The purpose of mission therefore, is a true communion of divine love, eternal life to all sons and daughters called by God our Father offering the life of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the true purpose of mission is to communicate the God-experience of missionary disciples of the Lord to all mankind.
Witnessing to Jesus, risen from the dead and now with the Father, remains the very special task of the mission of the Church. (Mathew 18: 16 – 20). The Holy Spirit is the source of evangelization. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you…you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth”. Acts chapter 2 says all were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak different languages as the spirit enabled them to proclaim.
Therefore, by virtue of Baptism and Confirmation we are empowered to evangelize, to witness and proclaim. The Acts of the Apostles unfolds to us the manner in which the first Christians community carried out the missionary mandate. Therefore, during this period “Acts of the Apostles” should be the regular book for prayer and meditation by all of us in the Church. Mission therefore, is more than a human initiative, it is the ACTION OF GOD. The principal agent in the work of evangelization is the Holy Spirit.
We have already planned out for the Extra Ordinary Missionary Month certain activities week by week to commit ourselves as a Diocese to carry out our mission which is a divine mandate, but we cannot restrict ourselves to this month only, because the Church is called upon to be permanently, on mission.
Let us in the Extra Ordinary Missionary Month and in our continuous life in the Church, heed the call of our Universal Shepherd. In “Evangelium Gaudii” the Pope pleads with us “ “I dream of a ‘missionary option’, that is a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything , so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules , language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather that for her self-preservation” (EG 27).
Already, Pope St John Paul II exhorted the Bishops of Oceania in 2001, “All renewal in the Church must have mission as its goal, if not it will fall prey to a kind of ecclesial introversion”. “Each diocese, therefore under the leadership of Bishop is called to missionary conversion, namely it is the local Church that is the primary subject of evangelization. Pope Francis calls upon each diocese to undertake a resolute process of discernment, purification and reform in view of its mission.
The Universal shepherd makes a passionate appeal to all of us “ Let us therefore go forth, then, to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. We can only do that if we ourselves are induced by a profound missionary spirituality. Let us encourage our faithful to grow as Christians, in the experience of Jesus Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit and the Sacraments specially the Eucharist. We are also evangelized by the experience of sharing our God experience in Jesus Christ.
The Samaritan woman, after encountering Jesus shared with her villagers that she had found Jesus as gift of God and communicated to others what she experienced. She ran to her people and announced that she found the Messiah. Many Samaritans already began to believe in Him because of the woman’s word. She had put them into contact with Jesus. But the main evangelizer was Jesus, Himself. Her role, however was necessary to establish contact. It means Jesus and people. Therefore, we should start giving even the little we have, as Godexperience in Jesus. By way of conclusion, once again let us listen to Pope Francis. The Holy Father makes a passionate appeal to all of us “Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ”.
“I prefer a Church, says the Supreme Pontiff, which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined to administration and from clinging on to its own security”. “I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and which then ends by being caught up in a web of obsession and procedures. If something should rightly bother us, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with “Jesus Christ, without a community to support them, without a goal in life. Pope has very strong words for all of us, “More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will rather be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, with rules which make harsh judgements, with habits which make us feel safe, while at our doors people are starving”. (EG 49)
Jesus tells us “Give them something to eat” (Mk 6.28). May the Extraordinary missionary month of October help all of us to revive the call for mission which is the very purpose of the existence of the followers of Christ namely to carry the Good News to all around us.
Wishing you all God’s abundant blessings.
Yours devotedly in the Lord,
Bishop Vianney Fernando,
Bishop of Kandy
Bishop’s Engagements in October
06th 10.00 am – Confirmation Service at St. Sebastian’s Church Pundaloya 10th 08.30 am – Adult Baptism at St. Anthony’s Cathedral, Kandy
12th – Holy Childhood Rally of Matale Deanery from 9.00 am onwards at Wahacotte
13th 10.30 am – Confirmation Service at St. Anthony’s Cathedral, Kandy
19th 07.00 pm – St. Luke’s (Doctors) Guild Annual Oration in Colombo
20th 08.30 am – Gold Mass of Luke’s (Doctors) Guild at the General Hospital Chapel,
26th 09.00 am- Confirmation Service at Wahacotte
27th 09.30 am – Confirmation Service at Rattota
28th – 29th – Clergy Monthly Recollection at Lewella
28th 04.00 pm- Thanksgiving Mass with the participation of Clergy and Religious at St. Anthony’s Cathedral, Kandy
A DAY OF ANIMATION, REFLECTION AND PRAYER TO EMPOWER THE LAITY TO BE MISSIONARIES OF THE GOOD NEWS
Date : 05.10.2019 Place: St. Mary’s Church, Ampitiya Time : 9.00 am to 03.30 pm
Organized By : The Diocesan Laity and Family Apostolate
HOLY FATHER’S PRAYER INTENTION – OCTOBER
EVANGELIZATION : A Missionary “ Spring” in the Church
THAT THE BREATH OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ENGENDER A NEW MISSIONARY “SPRING” IN THE CHURCH.
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR WORLD MISSION DAY 2019 Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World Dear Brothers and Sisters,
For the month of October 2019, I have asked that the whole Church revive her missionary awareness and commitment as we commemorate the centenary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud of Pope Benedict XV (30 November 1919). Its farsighted and prophetic vision of the apostolate has made me realize once again the importance of renewing the Church’s missionary commitment and giving fresh evangelical impulse to her work of preaching and bringing to the world the salvation of Jesus Christ, who died and rose again.
The title of the present Message is the same as that of October’s Missionary Month: Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World. Celebrating this month will help us first to rediscover the missionary dimension of our faith in Jesus Christ, a faith graciously bestowed on us in baptism. Our filial relationship with God is not something simply private, but always in relation to the Church. Through our communion with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we, together with so many of our other brothers and sisters, are born to new life. This divine life is not a product for sale – we do not practice proselytism – but a treasure to be given, communicated and proclaimed: that is the meaning of mission. We received this gift freely and we share it freely (cf. Mt 10:8), without excluding anyone. God wills that all people be saved by coming to know the truth and experiencing his mercy through the ministry of the Church, the universal sacrament of salvation (cf. 1 Tim 2:4; Lumen Gentium, 48).
The Church is on mission in the world. Faith in Jesus Christ enables us to see all things in their proper perspective, as we view the world with God’s own eyes and heart. Hope opens us up to the eternal horizons of the divine life that we share. Charity, of which we have a foretaste in the sacraments and in fraternal love, impels us to go forth to the ends of the earth (cf. Mic 5:4; Mt 28:19; Acts 1:8; Rom 10:18). A Church that presses forward to the farthest frontiers requires a constant and ongoing missionary conversion. How many saints, how many men and women of faith, witness to the fact that this unlimited openness, this going forth in mercy, is indeed possible and realistic, for it is driven by love and its deepest meaning as gift, sacrifice and gratuitousness (cf. 2 Cor 5:14-21)! The man who preaches God must be a man of God (cf. Maximum Illud).
This missionary mandate touches us personally: I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always; every baptized man and woman is a mission. People in love never stand still: they are drawn out of themselves; they are attracted and attract others in turn; they give themselves to others and build relationships that are life-giving. As far as God’s love is concerned, no one is useless or insignificant. Each of us is a mission to the world, for each of us is the fruit of God’s love. Even if parents can betray their love by lies, hatred and infidelity, God never takes back his gift of life. From eternity he has destined each of his children to share in his divine and eternal life (cf. Eph 1:3-6).
What in the Christian is a sacramental reality – whose fulfillment is found in the Eucharist – remains the vocation and destiny of every man and woman in search of conversion and salvation. For baptism fulfils the promise of the gift of God that makes everyone a son or daughter in the Son. We are children of our natural parents, but in baptism we receive the origin of all fatherhood and true motherhood: no one can have God for a Father who does not have the Church for a mother (cf. Saint Cyprian, De Cath. Eccl., 6).
Our mission, then, is rooted in the fatherhood of God and the motherhood of the Church. The mandate given by the Risen Jesus at Easter is inherent in Baptism: as the Father has sent me, so I send you, filled with the Holy Spirit, for the reconciliation of the world (cf. Jn 20:19-23; Mt 28:16-20). This mission is part of our identity as Christians; it makes us responsible for enabling all men and women to realize their vocation to be adoptive children of the Father, to recognize their personal dignity and to appreciate the intrinsic worth of every human life, from conception until natural death. Today’s rampant secularism, when it becomes an aggressive cultural rejection of God’s active fatherhood in our history, is an obstacle to authentic human fraternity, which finds expression in reciprocal respect for the life of each person. Without the God of Jesus Christ, every difference is reduced to a baneful threat, making impossible any real fraternal acceptance and fruitful unity within the human race.
The universality of the salvation offered by God in Jesus Christ led Benedict XV to call for an end to all forms of nationalism and ethnocentrism, or the merging of the preaching of the Gospel with the economic and military interests of the colonial powers. In his Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, the Pope noted that the Church’s universal mission requires setting aside exclusivist ideas of membership in one’s own country and ethnic group. The opening of the culture and the community to the salvific newness of Jesus Christ requires leaving behind every kind of undue ethnic and ecclesial introversion. Today too, the Church needs men and women who, by virtue of their baptism, respond generously to the call to leave behind home, family, country, language and local Church, and to be sent forth to the nations, to a world not yet transformed by the sacraments of Jesus Christ and his holy Church. By proclaiming God’s word, bearing witness to the Gospel and celebrating the life of the Spirit, they summon to conversion, baptize and offer Christian salvation, with respect for the freedom of each person and in dialogue with the cultures and religions of the peoples to whom they are sent. The missio ad gentes, which is always necessary for the Church, thus contributes in a fundamental way to the process of ongoing conversion in all Christians. Faith in the Easter event of Jesus; the ecclesial mission received in baptism; the geographic and cultural detachment from oneself and one’s own home; the need for salvation from sin and liberation from personal and social evil: all these demand the mission that reaches to the very ends of the earth.
The providential coincidence of this centenary year with the celebration of the Special Synod on the Churches in the Amazon allows me to emphaze how the mission entrusted to us by Jesus with the gift of his Spirit is also timely and necessary for those lands and their peoples. A renewed Pentecost opens wide the doors of the Church, in order that no culture remain closed in on itself and no people cut off from the universal communion of the faith. No one ought to remain closed in self-absorption, in the self-preferentiality of his or her own ethnic and religious affiliation.
TO-DO-LIST FOR PARISH PRIESTS FOR THE EXTRAORDINARY MISSIONARY MONTH 2019
By Rev. Fr. Alvin Peter Fernando
We are aware of Pope Francis’ call to celebrate the Extraordinary Missionary Month in October 2019 to mark the occasion of the centenary of promulgation of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud (November 30, 1919). This letter was the beginning of a more evangelical approach to missionary work in the world. Pope Francis has indicated the following four dimensions or ways to prepare for and live out the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019:
1. A personal encounter with Jesus Christ alive in His Church: Eucharist, Word of God, personal and communal prayer,
2. The witness of the Saints, the Missionary Martyrs, and the Confessors of the Faith, who are unique expressions of the Churches throughout the world,
3. Biblical, catechetical, spiritual, and theological formation regarding the missio ad gentes, Missionary charity as a material support for the immense work of evangelization, especially the missio ad gentes and Christian formation in Churches that are most in need.
(cf. Fernando Cardinal Filoni in his letters addressed to the Bishops and Religious Superiors, dated 3 December 2017)
Based on the preparation carried out by the Universal Church, particularly by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Mission Societies, herewith I outline a few proposals for the Parish Priests in particular.
Download the Guide for the Extraordinary Missionary Month, entitled Baptized and Sent: the Church of Christ on Mission in the World. The book is divided into four sections: * The Introductory Material * Part One: Encountering Jesus Christ * Part Two: Mission Testimonies * Part Three: Thoughts on Mission.
Organize a National/Diocesan/Deanery/Parish level Opening and Closing of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019. Celebrate the Holy Eucharist at the Diocesan/Deanery/Parish level on World Mission Sunday. Celebrate daily Mass at the Parish level with Missionary reflections spelt out in the Guide, Part One. Organize prayer and reflection sessions for different groups like parents, youth, lay leaders, priests, religious and so on. The Guide has excellent material for this purpose in Part Three:
* Notable Aspects of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud * Trinity, Mission and Church * The Passover of Jesus Christ: The Foundation of the Church’s Mission * Mary and the Church * Word of God, Baptism, Eucharist in the Mission of the Church * The Baptized Faithful and the Ordained Ministers in the Missio ad gentes: the Pontifical Mission Societies
* Laity and Families on Mission in the World * Mission and Consecrated Virginity * Mission: the Church and the Ecclesial Movements * Church Mission, Religions, and Cultures in Dialog * Missionary Charity and Communion Between the Churches * Church Mission, Poverty and Social Justice This can lead us to celebrate the Missionary Vigil, focusing on the theme given us by the Holy Father: ‘Baptized and Sent: the Church of Christ on Mission in the World’. Pray the Holy Rosary in small groups in the houses for the missionary work of the Church. Make use of the proposed Missionary Rosary. Promote pilgrimages to a Marian Shrine or to that of a missionary saint or martyr. Study life and mission of missionary saints, particularly, St Joseph Vaz. The Guide in Part Two: Mission Testimonies speaks of various missionaries. Propose a public activity by which young people are involved in proclaiming the Gospel. Promote the collection of funds to support the apostolic work of the missio ad gentes and missionary formation. Promote and encourage the World Mission Sunday collection. It is worth quoting Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (nos. 25 & 27): “It has a programmatic significance and important consequences. I hope that all communities will devote the necessary effort to advancing along the path of a pastoral and missionary conversion that cannot leave things as they presently are. ‘Mere administration’ can no longer be enough. Throughout the world, let us be ‘permanently in a state of mission’.
Let us not fear to undertake , with trust in God and great courage, a missionary option capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation. The renewal of structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more missionoriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth and in this way to elicit a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with himself.”
PONTIFICAL MISSIONARY SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF FAITH WORLD MISSION SUNDAY 20TH OCTOBER 2019
Let us enlighten the faithful on the value of this day that is dedicated for missions and awaken in them a spirt of prayer and sacrifice and to be generous and to be generous and feel the urgency of proclaiming the mission of Jesus. The Holy Mass could be offered for the missionaries and their dedicated service for the missions.
The Theme is : “ YOU ARE BAPTIZED AND SENT”
The Pontifical Society for the Propagation of Faith, founded in 1822 by Pauline Jaricoot, provides Missionary animations in general; awakens missionary vocations; funds for constructions of buildings; churches, pastoral centers, rectories, bishops’ residences, convents, & catechists. May we pray for those who will receive the benefits of their generosity.
THE OCTOBER 2019 LOGO SYMBOLS AND COLORS
BAPTIZED AND SENT: THE CHURCH OF CHRIST ON MISSION IN THE WORLD
“The symbol is always a bridge that connects the visible to the invisible and transports them one into the other” (P. Evdokimov). The logo of the Extraordinary Missionary Month October 2019 de- picts a missionary cross whose traditional colors recall the five continents. The Cross embraces the world and connects peoples, in communication between people with the universal Church and as a link, it creates real bonds between peoples. The Cross is the instrument and the efficacious sign of the communion between God and humanity for the universality of our mission. The Cross is luminous, full of color, a sign of victory and resurrection.
The world is transparent, because our action of evangelization has no barriers or boundaries; it is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The Cross embraces every person of this world, and thanks to the Cross we are united, connected, and open to communion for mission.
Christian charity and the world transfigured in the Spirit overcome distances and open the gaze of our mind and heart. It is the love of Jesus that knows no limits and boundaries.
The words BAPTIZED AND SENT, which accompany the image, indicate the two characteristic and inalienable elements of every Christian: baptism and proclamation. From the Cross flows baptism for the salvation of the world to which we are sent to proclaim The colors of the Cross are those traditionally attributed to the five continents: red for America, green for Africa, white for Europe, yellow for Asia, and blue for Oceania. Each color has a symbolic meaning that makes the connection between the continents possible through their peoples, in the communion of God with humanity. the Gospel of Jesus.
Red recalls the blood of the martyrs of the American continent, seeds of a new life in the Christian faith. It is the color of the passion of the missionaries who, having arrived in a new land, are interested in the salvation of the people. Even today it is a sign of the passion of those who remain faithful to the Gospel without accepting compromises. Red recalls the earth and all that is terrestrial. It is a vivid and communicative color.
Green is the color of life, nature, and vegetation. It symbolizes growth, fertility, youth, and vitality. Green is the color that harmonizes the whole. The African continent is called to such harmony even in the midst of the desert and suffering. It is also the color of hope, one of the three theological virtues.
White is a symbol of joy, the beginning of new life in Christ. It is the challenge for an old Europe, that it might rediscover the evangelizing force that it generated thanks to so many Churches and so many saints.
Yellow is a color of light, which feeds on light by invoking the true Light. Asia is the continent where Jesus, the Son of God and our Sun which rises from above, was born.
Blue is the color of Oceania, formed by innumerable islands scattered in the ocean. It is the color that is closest to the invisible, recalls the divine life, points to the mystery, and invites us to transcendence in relation to all that is earthly and sensitive. It is the color of the water of life that quenches us and restores us along the path to God. It is also the color of our sky, a sign of God’s dwelling with us.
Taken From: Baptized and Sent : The Church of Christ on Mission in the world, Extraordinary missionary month 2019
Prayer proposed by Pope Francis for the Extraordinary Missionary Month October 2019
Heavenly Father, when your only begotten Son Jesus Christ rose from the dead, he commissioned his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations” and you remind us that through our Baptism we are made sharers in the mission of the Church. Empower us by the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be courageous and zealous in bearing witness to the Gospel, so that the mission entrusted to the Church, which is still very far from completion, may find new and efficacious expressions that bring life and light to the world. Help us make it possible for all peoples to experience the saving love and mercy of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.
GO TELL EVERYONE
“Jesus summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs…to preach repentance “(mk 6/7, 13)
Preaching is truth through personality. (Philip Brooks) The half- baked sermon causes spiritual indigestion. (Austin O’Malley) When you preach the Gospel, beware of preaching it as the religion which explains everything. (Albert Schweitzer) To love to preach one thing- to love those to whom we preach, quite another. (Richard Cecil) The authority of those who preach is often as obstacle to those who wish to learn (Cicero) Many good speakers have a head of steam and a fine train of thought but no terminal facilities. The test of a preacher is that his congregation goes away saying, not “what a lovely sermon! But “I will do something” (St. Francis de Sales) When I preach I regard doctors or magistrates, of whom I have above 40 in my congregation: I have all my eyes on the servant maids and on the children. ( Martin Luther)
Who teaches ,often learns himself ( Italian Proverb ) Those having torches will pass them on to others. ( Greek proverb) The teacher is like the candle, which lights others in consuming itself ( Italian proverb )
A famous preacher once told his congregation, Every blade of grass is a sermon”. A few days later, a parishioner saw him mowing his lawn. ‘that’s right, Father,” the man replied, “ cut your sermons short” ( Anon) A preacher was disturbed by the snoring of grandfather in the front bench. He stoped and asked the little boy to wake him. He promptly answers, You wake him up, you put him to sleep” ( Anon )
Sent by Fr. Bala Rajendram
05th – Sat – Rev. Fr. Niroshana de Zoysa
10th – Thu – Rev. Fr. Desmond Perera
17th – Thu – Rev. Fr. Dilan Perera
20th – Sun – Very Rev. Fr. Milroy Fonseka
26th – Sat – Rev. Fr. Christy Paul
31st – Thu – Rev. Fr. A. Mathew
02nd – Wed – Rev. Fr. Cecil Xavier – Rev. Fr. M. Charles
13th – Sun – Rev. Fr. Jude Fernando SSS
14th – Mon – Very Rev. Fr. Milroy Fonseka
28th – Mon – Rev. Fr. Prasanna Warnakulasuriya
14th -Mon – Rev. Fr. Augustine Biochi OSB
17th -Thu – Rev. Fr. Sylvester Thamel OSB
21st – Mon – Rev. Fr. O.J.B. Fernando, OSB