WORLD MISSIONS DAY TO HEAR OF "URGENT NEED"
| Pope to Address a Key Missionary Summit
ROME, (ZENIT.org).- In his message for the upcoming World Mission Sunday, John Paul asks how
the "urgent need" of evangelization be met.
Two meetings this week in Rome will try to answer that question, as well as prepare for the Jubilee of
Missions which coincides with Mission Sunday next weekend.
In his message, John Paul II says: "2000 years after the beginning of the mission, there are still vast
geographic, cultural, human and social areas which Christ and his Gospel have yet to penetrate. How
can such an urgent need not be heeded? The Pope will preside over the Mass for World Mission Day
at 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square. That same day, the Pope also will celebrate the 22nd anniversary of
the solemn start of his pontificate.
In preparation for the event, a World Missionary Congress will be held in the Mariapolis Center of
Castel Gandolfo from Wednesday to Saturday. An International Missions Congress will be held in
Rome's Pontifical Urban University from Tuesday to Friday.
Last week Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples,
discussed the Jubilee of Missions at a Vatican briefing.
The Slovak cardinal referred to the event's motto, which the Holy Father himself proposed in his
message: "To celebrate 2000 years since the birth of Jesus, also means to celebrate the birth of the
"Why does the Church make so much effort for the mission of peoples?" Cardinal Tomko asked. "Out
of a spirit of territorial conquest, for the pleasure of an adventure, the desire for greatness or easy
proselytism? [Rather] simply because she has received, as a last request from her founder, the
command: 'Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
"This is the secret of so many heroic acts that the mission still inspires, and also the explanation for so
many sacrifices in the past and increasingly today, including martyrdom."
Msgr. Ambrogio Spreafico, rector of the Pontifical Urban University, discussed the World Missionary
Congress, which will be held at the school. Its topic is "And You, Who Do You Say That I Am?" The
rector said the congress has "an ecumenical character" and will include two study groups, one for
professors, and the other for the rest of the participants.
"Inculturation, one of the most debated theological issues in recent years, will be addressed," Msgr.
Spreafico said, "namely, How can the Gospel be proclaimed in an Asian or African language without
diminishing in any way the person and message of Christ?"
Speakers will include German Archbishop Walter Kasper, secretary of the Pontifical Council for
Promoting Christian Unity; Cardinal Tomko; and Archbishop Crescenzio Sepe, secretary-general of
the Vatican Jubilee Committee.
The World Missionary Congress is also Christological: "Jesus, Source of Life for All." Some 1,200
people will attend the Congress, including 47 bishops and more than 300 priests. Theologian Bruno
Forte of the International Theological Commission, and Sister Mary Ko, Scripture scholar, will address
the principal topics.
For his part, Msgr. Bernard Prince, secretary-general of the Pontifical Work for the Propagation of
the Faith, told reporters that the purpose of the congress is to foster "greater awareness of the
missionary dimension of the Church, not only the need to take the Gospel where it has not yet been
received, but especially to address more profoundly the commitment to faith of all Catholics."
On Friday, traditional songs and particular liturgical expressions will resound in the Roman basilicas
during the congress participants' pilgrimage. A visit to the Missionary Exposition 2000 and an
afternoon of festivities will take place Saturday.
On Sunday, 2,000 priests are expected to be at the closing Mass, presided over by John Paul in St.