KOTA KINABALU: The opening Mass of the parish-level Extraordinary Month of Mission (EMM) was celebrated together with the Month of Rosary, here, on Oct 1.
The event, which also falls on the feast of St Therese of Lisieux, saw a number of faithful attending despite the rain.
St Simon Catholic Church Likas rector Fr Cosmas Lee said it was fitting that the EMM was launched on the feast of the humble saint, also known as St Therese of the Child Jesus, patroness of missionaries.
Fr Cosmas went on to describe the saint’s tumultuous faith journey and childlike trust in God, that despite being a Carmelite nun and distanced from the world, her spirituality reached millions due to her zeal to save souls.
The following Sunday (Oct 6), the rector recounted Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter “Maximum Illud“.
“Pope Benedict XV, who has been known as the ‘missionary pope’, held that the church should be sent on a mission,” Fr Cosmas said.
“Having just seen the senseless slaughter of 10 million people in Europe, he felt that all must be preached upon once more.
“The cause of the WWI conflict is this: nationalism.”
The rector went on to say that Pope Benedict XV thought Europe should once more listen to the Good News. “The Good News that has come from Jesus, sent by God, who wills all to be saved because all are His children.”
He added that like Europe a century ago, the world should once more listen to the “universal Good News that takes us beyond our country, nation, race and cultures”.
“The Good News is that God loves all — beyond our exclusive ‘clubs’.”
Fr Cosmas said the church’s present pope, Francis, deemed that the faithful must remember this message.
“That we must once more enter into such an important, basic role: be missionaries of this Great News of our Lord, Jesus Christ,” he said, adding that one of the important points of Pope Benedict XV is that evangelisation, missionary works, are not proselytism.