Thought for the Day – 16 February – The Memorial of Blessed Joseph Allamano (1851–1926) – Founder of the Consolata Missionaries and Consolata Missionary Sisters and of World Mission Sunday
20 October 2019 will mark the 93rd World Mission Sunday and this year, the Holy Father has proclaimed October as as ‘Extraordinary Missionary Month’ to be marked and celebrated in the whole Church throughout the world and entrusted the mission of the Church in the world especially to St Pope John Paul II, as Pope Francis made the announcement he said – “On the day of the liturgical memory of Saint John Paul II, missionary Pope, we entrust to his intercession the mission of the Church in the world.’
The first World Mission Day was celebrated in October 1926, eight months after the death of Blessed Joseph Allamano. This is not a simple coincidence because Joseph Allamano dedicated a great deal of his time and influence during the last years of his life, to the effort of creating awareness in the Church, about the need for a World Mission Day to be celebrated once a year by all Catholics.
This was in line with his vision that Missions and missionary work were the duty of every baptised believer, each one according to his abilities and possibilities but none exempted. Allamano did not see here on earth the fulfilment of his efforts for the creation of this day of prayer and commitment but witnessed it from heaven.
He can be compared to Fidelis of Sigmaringen (1577-1622), a saint he especially admired and proposed as Patron to his Missionaries, who in his time insisted tirelessly on the need to create in Rome a Congregation for the Evangelisation of the Peoples and died a martyr of the faith in April 1622, three months before the creation of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide (for the Propagation of the Faith).
For Allamano it was not simply a question of awakening the missionary zeal in others, he always looked at his faith, whatever the circumstances, as a faith to be shared with the entire world. He would subscribe especially to the Pope Benedict’s message statement that “every Christian community is born missionary and it is exactly on the basis of the courage to evangelise that the love of believers for their Lord is measured”. (Pope Benedict’s Message 2001 – To All the Churches of the World)
The sources of Joseph’s personal tenderness for all, for the whole world, were Our Lady Consolata and the Eucharist. The love towards our Mother Mary and the Eucharist made him speak words belonging uniquely to him. He became progressive resulting in marked changes in his attitude and behaviour . It was a life shaped by Mary and Jesus. Familiar to us, the sons and daughters of Allamano, are these very words, ‘First Saints and then Missionaries.’
For sure, Blessed Allamano was an excellent father in human relationships. Who was the source of his inspiration and wisdom? Indeed, it is only from the Eucharist that Joseph Allamano found God in His essence, the pure love. Therefore, Allamano became a witness of the pure love, Jesus. Ultimately, he was inspired to send missionaries to be ‘SACRAMENTINI’ as he would say. He sent them to ‘love the Eucharist’.
My prayer, is that Blessed Joseph Allamano, priest and missionary for the entire world, may bless all our parish communities and all the Catholics of the world, that our zeal and determination may be increased, to make our treasure, the Gospel and the Holy Eucharist, our Lord and Saviour, available to all.