By Vimbai Masoso
A hundred years ago, Pope Benedict XV on 30 November 1919 issued an encyclical Maximu Illud, which called on Catholics to bring good news to all people. To commemorate this anniversary Pope Francis declared October an Extraordinary Mission Month for the whole world. This special month of prayer and action calls Christians to renew their missionary commitment. The Pope asked the whole church to revive missionary awareness and commitment as people commemorate the centenary of the apostolic letter. The theme of the Extraordinary Mission Month is; “Baptized and Sent, the Church of Christ on the mission in the world.”
On the 19th day of October, the Archdiocese of Harare held a special celebration of the extraordinary mission month at St Peter’s Kubatana High school in Highfields. Archbishop Robert Ndlovu led the mass which was concelebrated by the Vicar General, Fr. Kenneth Muguti and other priests from the Archdiocese. Over a hundred priests and sisters took part in the commemorations which drew together thousands of Catholics from Harare and its parishes.
The occasion gave Christians the opportunity to renew their vows and their missionary commitment to proclaim the gospel. Archbishop Ndlovu later presented the missionary rosary which symbolizes a special form of prayer for the whole world as envisioned by Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in 1951. He saw the need to pray for the whole world, especially for those who are poor and vulnerable at home and overseas.
The extraordinary mission month celebration commenced with the talk by Fr. Mcgini Moyo, the National Pastoral Coordinator. He said that all Christians are baptized and sent in the world to preach the gospel as commanded by Jesus Christ himself in the book of Mathew 28:19-20. He went on to remind that all baptized Christians were anointed to be priests, prophets and kings hence they are expected to be salt of the earth and transform the world through their faith and prayer.
“We are sent to transform the world in everything through our faith and actions. Our core mission is to draw people closer to God. Even in politics, we should strive to be good politicians and not the bad ones. Even though the devil seeks to influence our humanity, we should remain steadfast and be light to the world,” said Fr. Moyo.
Fr. Moyo called on all people to rededicate their life in fulfilling the mission commissioned upon them at baptism remembering that Jesus is with them always.
Fr. Kizito Nhundu, the Pastoral Vicar of the Archdiocese of Harare, in his sermon, stressed that the Church was celebrating the extraordinary mission month as instructed by Pope Francis. He backed up Fr. Moyo’s message mentioning Christian baptism commissions all Christians to be responsible just like parents who have the responsibility to maintain their children.
“As Christians, we should strive to live a missionary life. Let us preach and teach the gospel so as to make our core values known and understood. The reason why we were called to be missionaries in the world is to stand for the truth and proclaim it at all times. Preach the gospel to those who have lost hope and ask yourselves on how you can make a difference in the life of your families and of your friends,” Fr. Nhundu stated.