Q. My parish announced a parish mission to come in the fall. What should be the goal of such an event?
A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin:
The authors of the Dominican Mission Manual write, “The object of a mission is really no different from the object of the Christian life, i.e., to know, love and serve God and our neighbor in this life.” They add: “The distinctive thing about a mission is a concentrated effort for a short time rather than a feeble effort spread throughout a whole year. In a way, it is like a retreat, a week set aside by parishioners during which time they aim wholeheartedly at greater conversion to God by prayer, meditation and the grace of Christ.”
Each mission is different, of course, but these general reflections contain some valuable observations that hold true for all. First, the mission is a time of intense personal devotion and spiritual development. Second, the mission is an opportunity for parishioners to grow together as members of Christ’s Body.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church beautifully describes the parish as “the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is the privileged place for … catechesis” (No. 2226). St. John Chrysostom is quoted in the Catechism, reminding us we “cannot pray at home as at church” (No. 2179), so a mission is an ideal opportunity to establish and strengthen bonds with others.