Last Sunday, we celebrated World Mission Sunday across the globe. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops describes the history and intent of this annual recognition:
In 1926 Pope Pius XI instituted Mission Sunday for the whole Church with the first worldwide Mission Sunday collection taking place in October 1927....That day is celebrated in all the local Churches as the feast of catholicity and universal solidarity so Christians the world over will recognize their common responsibility with regard to the evangelization of the world.
A number of years ago, I began a journey of deepening my own understanding of what “mission” means. A group of school leaders of which I was a part began making annual trips to El Paso to participate in the Border Awareness Experience (BAE). The BAE is an immersion program into the border culture comprising the communities of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. We explored issues such as poverty, violence, immigration, economic development, and social justice, all within the context of the Catholic faith and this call to mission. We heard the stories of the families who fled violence and talked with them about their dreams for their children. We exchanged greetings with citizens from Juarez at the border fence. We met with Border Patrol agents and heard about their work and the challenges they face. We listened and we learned.
As leaders of Catholic schools, the participants deepened our understanding of mission and were challenged to bring back to our communities new insights about mission and how we may be called to live out our call to discipleship in new and challenging ways. We were struck by the realization that you do not have to travel to faraway places to participate in mission. You do not have to go to a place that is impacted by poverty and violence. We learned to embrace the idea that “if you are baptized, then you are a missionary.” Whatever our daily circumstances, we are all called to be missionaries. To borrow a phrase from Pope Francis in Joy of the Gospel, “I am a mission on this earth” (273). For those of us in the community of Bishop Lynch, we can rephrase that statement in an even more personal way: “I am a mission at Bishop Lynch.”
Chad Riley, Ph.D. Principal Bishop Lynch High School
Faithful to Catholic Tradition and to our Dominican heritage of scholarship and service, Bishop Lynch High School promotes the development of the total person by bringing together a diverse community in a rigorous, college preparatory environment where students are taught to strive for excellence, seek truth, and work for justice in the world. - Founded in 1963