This year's World Mission Month in October is dedicated to solidarity with the poorest of the poor in poorest of the poor in West Bengal, India. Missio Austria draws attention to the plight of families in the slums of Calcutta and the exploitation of the tea pickers in the Himalayan mountains and asks for support. On 22 October, the World Mission Sunday, parishes throughout Austria will be collecting for the poorest of the poor.
Together with the local church aid partners, the local Caritas "Seva Kendra" and the Salesians Don Boscos, Missio Austria is committed to helping the poorest of the poor. "The local Caritas "Seva Kendra" enables children in slums to attend school and their parents to receive education, which increases their chance for a better life. "With the Salesians of Don Bosco, we are building brick shelters for the poorest families that will not be washed away in the monsoon season," says Father Karl Wallner, Missio National Director, who himself saw the situation on the ground last March. "In the slums of Kolkata there is particularly great poverty and it affects people of different religions and ethnic origins who live together in the slums. Many families with children live in very confined spaces. The houses are not stable enough to withstand the rainfall. We help here in a sustainable way by creating stable living space, providing schooling for the children and training courses for their parents to help themselves," says Father Karl Wallner. Kolkata has become an epitome of poverty and charity at the latest since the work of St. Mother Teresa: "The Church here on the ground follows the example of St. Mother Teresa and shows that charity knows no distinction between national and religious boundaries," says Father Karl Wallner.
Awarded for the service of charity
Rishma Patra, a social worker from "Seva Kendra", receives the Austria.On.Mission Award "Emil" in Vienna at the beginning of November for her commitment to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. "I am impressed by the heartfelt dedication and great commitment of the young social worker Rishma. Just like St. Mother Teresa, she exemplifies concrete charity," says Missio National Director Father Karl Wallner.
Poor and exploited?
Darjeeling is the epitome of black tea. Few people know that behind the cultivation and harvesting in the Indian Himalayan foothills lies great exploitation. 70,000 people, mostly women, pick up to 15 kilos of tea leaves per person every day. For their work, the pickers receive about 2.30€ per day, which is very little even by Indian standards. "Especially the Christian minority in Darjeeling is the victim of exploitation. So that at least the children of the exploited tea pickers can find a way out of the vicious circle of poverty, the Salesians of Don Bosco provide them with a good school education and real opportunities for a better life," says Father Karl Wallner.
Missio asks for donations
"So that we can help our brothers and sisters in need, we ask for your support. Through prayer and donations we can change the world," says Missio National Director Father Karl Wallner. Information materials and products for World Mission Sunday can be ordered free of charge from www.missio.at/wms. The products include a liturgy booklet with suggestions for church services, campaign booklets, posters and donation bags.
On World Mission Sunday, the Catholic Church collects donations worldwide for the poorest dioceses in the countries of the Global South. World Mission Sunday is the largest solidarity campaign within the Catholic Church. This year it falls on 22 October. Missio Austria has chosen India and the aid projects in West Bengal as the focus country this year.
World Mission Sunday 22 October 2023
In cooperation with the other-language parishes of the Archdiocese of Vienna and the Department for the World Church "Church in Dialogue", Missio Austria invites you to the holy mass on 22 October at 10:15 a.m. in St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna. Auxiliary Bishop Franz Scharl will celebrate the Holy Mass as main celebrant. Every year, more than 60 parish communities from Africa, Asia and Latin America take part in the Mass on World Mission Sunday and, among other things, provide music for the liturgy.