IN a Mission Sunday message front the Bishops' Missionary Commission of England and Wales, Bishop Charles Grant, the chairman, says:
"The Church is missionary of its very essence, and each one of us, in virtue of our baptism, is a missionary for Christ. We owe Christ to others. We owe our knowledge of Christ to others and we, in our turn, owe it to others to bring them to the knowledge of Christ.
"Mission Sunday was established by Pope Pius XI to remind us of that debt. 'On that Sunday,' the Pope wrote, 'all preaching will be on the missions with special reference to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and encouragement to the faithful to join that society.' For Pope Paul VI it is, in his own words, 'a day on which to re-awaken in the hearts of the faithful an awareness of a missionary vocation which is proper to the whole Church-'
"We are addressing this message to you today because this is a special Mission Sunday commemorating several anniversaries. This year, we observe the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide, the Church's headquarters in Rome for all the missions, and the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Association for the Propagation of the Faith, usually known as the A.P.F.
"The A.P.F. was started by a young French girl, Pauline Jaricot, and nm entirely by lay people for very many years. It was made the Pope's own Mission Society fifty years ago, in 1922. This action was taken by the Pope because the A.P.F. does not help this or that particular missionary effort, but all the missions of the Church according to their needs. It has been the means by which the faithful have been able to exercise their missionary vocation and take part, by prayer and material aid, in the worldwide miss'on of the Church.
"For this reason, the A.P.F. should exist in every oaris'h as nart of the normal life of the parish. However much we may support this or that particular, and very worthy, missionary cause, we should also not forget our prior obligation to have what St. Paul calls, 'my daily preoccupation: my anxiety for all the Churches' (2 Con I I, 27). It is this obligation that the A.P.F. enables us to ful(il.
"It is worth noting that the A.P.F. exists in the mission lands themselves. Through it the young Churches are not only receiving but giving. Through it they are making their contribution in prayer and money to the spread of Christ's kingdom. Through it they are learning that they are missionaries them
"The generous support which the missions have received from the faithful few brings God's blessing noon them and deepens their understanding of the Christian message. But many Catholics do not realise, in this regard, the implications of their baptism. To be a Christian is to be a missionary.
"Helping the missions is not just another charity; it is not the fringe activity of the few. It is the basic obligation of all, part of the normal. everyday outlook and action of ev-ry Catholic. It is to the many Catholics who haw� so far failed to realise this, and act accordingly, that we especially appeal today."