World Mission Sunday: Hearts on Fire, Feet on the Move

"Their hearts burned within them, their eyes were opened, and their feet set out on the way."

World Mission Sunday is an annual event observed in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a day set aside to promote and support missionary activities around the world. The observance typically takes place on the third Sunday in October. The primary purpose of World Mission Sunday is to raise awareness about the church's missionary work, to encourage prayer for missions, and to raise funds to support the Church's missionary efforts.

During World Mission Sunday, Catholics are encouraged to reflect on their baptismal call to be missionaries and to support the work of the Church in bringing the message of Christianity to all corners of the world, particularly to places where the Christian faith is not yet well established. It is a day when special collections are taken in parishes to provide financial assistance to the Church's mission activities, which may include evangelization, education, healthcare, and social services in various parts of the world.

The Pontifical Mission Societies, which include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of St. Peter the Apostle, the Holy Childhood Association, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious, are responsible for coordinating and promoting World Mission Sunday and the broader mission efforts of the Catholic Church.

World Mission Sunday serves as a reminder of the universality of the Catholic Church and the importance of reaching out to people of all nations and cultures with the message of Christ. It's an opportunity for Catholics to express solidarity with those engaged in mission work and to support their efforts through prayer and financial contributions.

For World Mission Sunday in 2023, Pope Francis has chosen the theme: ‘Hearts on fire, feet on the move’ (cf. Luke 24:13-35). Reflecting on the disciples’ encounter with Jesus on the journey to Emmaus in Luke’s gospel the Holy Father writes that ‘their encounter with Christ in the Word and in the breaking of bread sparked in them the enthusiastic desire to set out again towards Jerusalem and proclaim that the Lord had truly risen.