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“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” — Matthew 28: 18-20
It can be easy to become siloed as a follower of Christ. We minister to others through our local parish community, we attend events hosted by our diocese, we see the same people every week at mass, and we sometimes forget that the Catholic way of life is being lived by many other communities in different ways around the world.
The Catholic Church is one of the largest religious faith traditions in the world. Over 1.28 billion people around the world identify as Catholics, and Catholics make up around 17% of the world’s population. Catholic communities can be found in every corner of the globe.
The Catechism highlights the beauty and diversity of the universal Church: “From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together.”
Despite the diversity of culture, location, and religious practice, the global Church is ultimately one, unified by the bonds of a common faith and acting as a single instrument of Christ on earth. Our lives are intertwined in the Mystical Body of Christ. All people, in every parish around the world, should pray, sacrifice, and support their community of believers around the world, especially those who are persecuted, hungry, homeless, or in despair.
Divine Word Missionaries are committed to the universal mission of the Church and build up the life of the Church through missionary ministry.
“This transmission of the faith, the heart of the Church’s mission, comes about by the infectiousness of love, where joy and enthusiasm become the expression of a newfound meaning and fulfillment in life...Human, cultural and religious settings still foreign to the Gospel of Jesus and to the sacramental presence of the Church represent the extreme peripheries, the “ends of the earth”, to which, ever since the first Easter, Jesus’ missionary disciples have been sent, with the certainty that their Lord is always with them.” — Pope Francis, World Mission Day 2018
The missionary call is built into the life of every Christian and into the life of the Church.
What did Jesus’ disciples do in the aftermath of his death and resurrection? They spread to the far corners of the earth, preaching and teaching:
The Church has always relied on brave men and women to go out into the world, building up the people of Christ, serving the poor, adding new members to the faith, and proclaiming the Gospel to all people.
At crucial moments in the history of the faith, Catholic religious orders have kept the faith alive and been the most consistent force founding hospitals, schools, orphanages, and other programs that serve the poor, sick, elderly, and marginalized.
Our founder, St. Arnold Janssen, was one of these visionary leaders and holy men. Even in the midst of anti-Catholic 1870’s Germany, St. Arnold had the courage to begin a religious missionary community that is dedicated to the universal mission of the Church and the Divine Word of God in the Scriptures: the Society of the Divine Word.
We hope you have enjoyed learning more about the importance of the global church, the work that Divine Word Missionaries are doing to strengthen and support the growth of faith around the world, and the people whose lives they are able to touch in the process.
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