ZENIT – The Catholic Church in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei has announced that the solemnity of Epiphany on January 6, 2019 will mark the opening of an “Extraordinary Mission Year” to culminate with the celebration of the “Extraordinary Mission Month”, convoked by Pope Francis for October 2019, Fides News Agency reported December 12, 2018.
The news was announced in a report sent to Fides by Bishop Sebastian Francis, shepherd of the diocese of Penang and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei.
According to the report sent to Fides, the dioceses of Singapore, Brunei, and Malaysia have already started preparations for the Extraordinary Year. For example, the Institute for New Evangelization in Malaysia recently held a special formation session for prominent local Catholics promoted by Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang and Bishop Bernard Paul of Malacca-Johore, attended by 56 participants, including pastoral workers and community leaders.
The aims and contents of the Extraordinary Mission Year were illustrated by Fr Victor Louis, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. The Director recalled the approach of Pope Francis for the coming celebration: Evangelization is a response to Christ’s command “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to all peoples” (Mk 16, 15).
“To obey the Lord’s mandate is not an option for the Church; it is her essential task. The Church is missionary by nature: she exists to evangelize. Evangelization is, in fact, is the grace and calling proper to the Church,” said the Director.
The five days of study, which opened with a special celebration of the Eucharist, stressed the fact that every baptized Christian has a calling to evangelize. As an experience of Street Evangelization, the participants visited a local hospital, a shopping center and a home for the elderly.
The Extraordinary Missionary Month in October 2019 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud issued in 1919 by Pope Benedict XV and will have the theme, Baptised and Sent: the Church of Christ on the mission in the world. The aim is to increase awareness of “missio ad gentes” and give new impulse to missionary transformation in the life of the Church.