Pope says world cannot live without missionaries
Presiding over the largest missionary summit ever, John Paul II said that society cannot live without the witness of missionaries, some of whom give up their lives for Christ.
70,000 faithful, representing 124 nations, were on hand in St. Peter's Square to celebrate the Jubilee's World Mission Sunday.
The event was preceded by the World Missionary Congress, which brought together 1200 representatives from around the world, including 47 bishops and more than 300 priests.
The Jubilee of Missions began with songs, dances and testimonies from various nations. The Holy Father concelebrated Mass with Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and superior of mission territories; Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, president of the Great Jubilee Committee; as well as 50 bishops, directors of missionary organizations, and 700 priests.
The Pope dedicated the homily to analysing the "meaning and style" of the Christian mission. Recalling Christ's example, he summarised its essence in four words: "service, poverty, humility and cross."
John Paul then referred to "all missionaries who, day by day, in silence and without the support of any human power, proclaim and, even before that, witness their love for Jesus, often to the point of giving their lives, as happened recently." Five foreign missionaries died in Africa this month.
The Pope maintained that today's society cannot live without this witness.
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