The entire Church for the whole world
(Blessed Paolo Manna)
The Church’s Universal Mission
From the Gospel according to Matthew
“On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: ‘A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.’” (Mt 13:1-9)
From the Magisterium of the Catholic Church
“All men are called to belong to the new people of God. Wherefore this people, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and must exist in all ages.” (Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 13)
“For, since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery.” (Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, 22)
“The Church’s universal mission is born of faith in Jesus Christ. (...) The redemption event brings salvation to all, ‘for each one is included in the mystery of the redemption and with each one Christ has united himself forever through this mystery.’” (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter on the permanent validity of the Church’s missionary mandate, Redemptoris Missio, 4)
“The four Societies - Propagation of the Faith, St. Peter the Apostle, Holy Childhood and the Missionary Union - have the common purpose of fostering a universal missionary spirit among the People of God. (...) ‘This must be our motto: All the churches united for the conversion of the whole world.’” (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter on the permanent validity of the Church’s missionary mandate, Redemptoris Missio, 84)
From the writings of Blessed Father Paolo Manna
“Our motto must be the words, ‘the entire Church for the conversion of the whole world,’ and the entire Church means the whole hierarchical body, with all the forces at its disposal, that is, the forces of all Catholics.” (P. Manna, Le nostre “Chiese” e la propagazione del Vangelo – per la soluzione del problema missionario, Trentola-Ducenta 1950, p. 63)
“The Church is the mother of all mankind. Her field of action is the entire world. All men are sheep in the Fold of Christ, over which He has placed one Head and Pastor, the Pope.” (P. Manna, The conversion of the pagan world. A Treatise upon Catholic Foreign Missions, translated and adapted from the Italian of rev. Paolo Manna, M. Ap. by rev. Joseph F. McGlinchey, d.d., Boston, Society for the propagation of the Faith 1921, p. 9)
“We have therefore become children of God again, because the divine life that flows from the Father to the Son into the assumed Holy Humanity circulates through Christ’s work in all the redeemed, if they will accept it through Holy Baptism. What a mystery of love!” (P. Manna, Chiamati alla santità, Napoli 1977, p. 23)
“The purpose of missions is the establishment throughout the world of our Holy Mother Church, which is the visible Kingdom of God and our Lord.” (P. Manna, Osservazioni sul metodo moderno di evangelizzazione, Bologna 1979, p. 77)
“The Gospel abolished many of the barriers that divided people. The Church, which must embrace all people, is one and only one. She therefore owes herself to all, and all can belong to her.” (P. Manna, I fratelli separati e noi – Considerazioni e testimonianze sulla riunione dei Cristiani, Roma-Milano 1941, p. 282)
Questions for reflection
- How willing am I to witness and preach the Gospel to people who seem to ignore or even fight religious issues?
- How convinced am I that the Church’s mission is for everyone, even those who seem far from the faith?
- What do I do concretely, every day, to take the Gospel “into the whole world”?
God, who in infinite wisdom decided to extend the Kingdom of Christ to the whole world and to make all people sharers in redemption, make your Church a sign of salvation for all, proclaiming and realizing the mystery of your love for mankind.
God, who in the New Covenant established by Christ, constantly creates of all nations one people, united by the Holy Spirit, make the Church, faithful to her mission, accompany the development of humanity and be an evangelical leaven and the soul of human society so that, renewed in Christ, it may be transformed into the family of God. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.