The people of Mayo are being urged this week to get behind Mission Sunday, which takes place this coming weekend, October 20.
Mission Sunday is the sole day of the year set aside for Catholics in the diocese to contribute to the work of missionaries who work in developing countries. In all, there are 1,500 Irish born missionaries serving in 83 countries.
The Irish have a long and proud tradition of supporting the missions and last year more than €1.7 million was collected in parishes throughout the country. The work of the Irish missionaries is recognised worldwide, and recent figures show that up to 60 per cent of all health care services to people living with Aids in sub Saharan Africa is provided by the Catholic Church. Educational and agricultural projects are also heavily supported by Irish missionaries as well as human and social rights projects.
Last year countries including South Africa, India, Ghana, Zambia, Uganda, and Namibia benefited from the generosity of parishioners who contributed to Mission Sunday.
Mission Sunday is organised each year by World Missions Ireland and its acting director Fr Eamon Aylward said: “Every single cent that we collect goes directly to our missionaries who are working in very difficult circumstances in the developing world, with scant regard for their own safety. They are the champions for the poor, the marginalised, and the oppressed in these countries so I would urge you all to give whatever you can, no matter how small, as it makes a huge difference. Just 20 cents can provide five dinners in some developing countries.”