Originally Published in The Messenger, for Spanish-speaking people in the Diocese of Belleville
The vocation to mission is a call of service to God and the Church, it is an option of life.
First of all- what is meant by “mission”? There are two distinct uses of that word.
One is the overall mission of all baptized Christians. We say that the Church is missionary because she received from Jesus Christ the task (mission) to evangelize, that is, to make the whole world know Christ and live in communion with him and his Gospel.
All members of the Church share in this mission. Their witness of Christian life proclaims Jesus Christ to others by their lives and actions to others. This broad sense of the term mission affirms that “every Christian is a missionary by virtue of baptism received” (cfr. Rmi 71).
In this sense, any Christian would fulfill their mission by bringing the words and spirit of Jesus Christ into their everyday personal and work lives.
One could say that everything the Church is called to do, fulfils this mission.
The second use of the word “mission” is the specific mission. There are some men and women who are specifically oriented to proclaim the Gospel to non-believers and to Christians who have lost contact with the Gospel and the Church.
This is a special vocation that people are called to by God. It is to this mission and these missionaries, to which we refer.
A missionary is someone who has a deep and abiding motivation for mission and whose motivation for the mission is the sincere and ardent desire to make Jesus known and loved by those who do not know him as well as the one who knows and loves him.
We talk about the missionary activity of the Church but what is that?
Missionary activity is the ecclesial activity carried out – the evangelization of non-Christians (First Evangelization and Mission Ad evangelization) or Christians who have fallen away from the Church (new evangelization). Those who perform this missionary activity are designated by the title of “missionaries”.
Missionary activity, pursues the following three objectives 1) to proclaim Christ to those who do not know him 2) to seek the establishment of the Church and to strengthen it when there is no active community life and evangelization. And finally, 3) to promote Gospel values, such as peace, justice, freedom, and brotherhood.
To learn more about the urgent need and importance of the Mission of the Church please read: Redemptoris Missio by Saint Pope John Paul II.