Bishop Olson underscores "Hearts on fire, feet on the move" for World Mission Sunday

North Texas Catholic
(Oct 27, 2023) Local

Bishop prays with altar servers

Bishop Michael Olson prays with altar servers and priests prior to the World Mission Sunday Mass on October 22, 2023 at St. Rita Church in Fort Worth. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

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FORT WORTH — Arlington's St. Joseph Catholic School Principal Diane Price, on hand during St. Rita Parish in Fort Worth's Oct. 22 World Mission Sunday Mass, nicely summed up her mission to students as well as the heart of World Mission Sunday.

“God made us for each other, not for us alone,” Price said. “We're all on this journey together. So yes, we work hard at St. Joseph to form missionary disciples.”

God's call to mission differs among individual people, Price added, art being the medium for two former students also on hand.

Jenna Ramdehaul and Kaylie Nguyen, now in ninth and tenth grades respectively, are among the 44 winners selected for this and the previous year's Missionary Childhood Association's National Christmas Artwork Contest. In addition to Bishop Michael Olson's congratulations following Mass, both girls' artwork will display at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., through the Advent/Christmas season.

“I love that both pieces are such beautiful, youthful renditions of the glory of the birth of our Lord,” Price said. “In relation to the call to mission, these children are serving our Lord by showing and sharing their God-given artistic talents and promoting the Gospel by sharing the beauty of Christmas through their artwork.”

World Mission Sunday, celebrated the second-to-last Sunday of each October, joins Catholics the world over into one community of faith through recommitment of our baptismal vocation to be missionaries through prayer, participation in the Eucharist, and generous giving to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

From becoming a coordinator to establishing a mission club, the Diocese of Fort Worth's website lists several ways to become mission involved.

Bishop stands with mission council
Bishop Michael Olson poses with members of the diocesan Mission Council after the World Mission Sunday Mass at St. Rita Church in Fort Worth Oct. 22, 2023. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

For this year's World Mission Sunday, Pope Francis crafted the theme “Hearts on fire, feet on the move” from the Gospel of Luke.

“Jesus in the Eucharist is the source and summit of the mission,” Pope Francis said in his message for World Mission Day. “Jesus Himself is the living word, who alone can make our hearts burn within us, as he enlightens and transforms.

“The image of feet setting out reminds...of the mission entrusted to the Church by the risen Lord to evangelize all individuals and peoples even to the ends of the earth. Today more than ever, our human family, wounded by so many situations of injustice, so many divisions and wars, is in need of the good news of peace and salvation in Christ.”

Bishop Olson expounded upon Pope Francis' theme during his homily.

“Feet on the move is that we are a Church of mission in that our faith is not something meant to be kept to ourselves,” Bishop Olson said. “But one to be shared. In fact, the more we share it, the more we receive it.”

Bishop Olson spoke of the benefits of mission, especially to those parts of the world where the Church and freedoms remain under duress.

“The challenge for us now is to take a step back from [the secular world] to renew ourselves in the practice of faith through charity, generosity, and compassion,” Bishop Olson said. “Perhaps that is the best service we can give to a country and world that seems, too frequently, to be lost.”

Tom and Annette Snodgrass, both of the Diocesan Mission Council, helped organize the Oct. 22 event — the World Mission Sunday Mass being held at a different parish each year — and distributed multi-colored rosaries. The different colors of each decade, Annette Snodgrass explained, represent a particular area of the world, red representing North and South America, for example. The purpose, she added, is to intercede for the needs of each specific world region while praying the Rosary.

Bishop with art contest winners
Bishop Michael Olson poses for a photo with Jenna Ramdehaul (left) and Kaylie Nguyen, winners of the past two Missionary Childhood Association Christmas Artwork contests, after the World Mission Sunday Mass on October 22, 2023 at St. Rita Church in Fort Worth. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

The Pontifical Mission Societies, a network of organizations present in every diocese to support missionary efforts of the Church throughout the world, focuses on prayer, donations, the spread of awareness, and volunteerism, Tom Snodgrass said.

“Because we're baptized,” Annette Snodgrass answered when asked how she and her husband became involved in mission work. “Because of that, you're a missionary automatically.”

Mission work provides many options, Annette Snodgrass said, and can be carried out locally or far away.

“We've taken youth from our parish [St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Carrollton] to New Orleans for mission work,” Annette Snodgrass said. “There they were able to learn how God's call to each of them was affecting their heart and affecting the people they were helping as well as themselves and to reflect and learn more about their responsibilities toward helping others.”

St. Rita greeting committee member George Webster likewise stressed the importance of seeking mission opportunities out in daily life.

“This is what God would have us to do, to help others,” Webster said. “We are not to focus only on ourselves but to see ourselves and others as God's children, all worthy of equal treatment and respect.”

Nguyen explained her prize-winning artwork, a depiction of Mary holding baby Jesus.

“I showed her looking up to God seeking guidance on how to raise her son, be a good mother, and figure out what God was calling her to do,” Nguyen said.

Such, Nguyen proposed, is similar to our calls to mission.

“We're all called to do our parts to help others however we can,” Nguyen said. “Whether that's giving to charity or helping in other ways — to listen to God's call to us.”

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