As followers of Christ we are called to be missionaries – bringing Christ’s love to the world.
Embracing the World in Prayer
The World Mission Rosary was envisioned by Archbishop Fulton in 1951. John Sheen, then the national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith made the request on a radio show that his listeners “Embrace the world in prayer.” To do so he introduced this Rosary.
It encourages us in our prayer focus to reach beyond the boundaries of our local concerns and to reach out and be united with the entire church body.
It’s prayed like a normal Rosary, but with the added focus of meditating and praying for the peoples of a particular continent.
Its uniqueness is in the five colours represented in each of the decades. The colour symbolism in the rosary is a gentle reminder on which to focus our prayers.
This Rosary honours the work of mission, our call to be missionaries, and world unity and peace through its special emphasis on each of the Earth’s regions. Each region is represented by a different colour, it is not only a beautiful Rosary, but rich in symbolism.
During the Mission Rosary we meditate on the life of Christ where He reached out in love and compassion to those in need, and our own personal response to the world around us.
Colours of the World Mission Rosary
Each set of beads on the World Mission Rosary is a different colour.
Green – for the forests and grasslands of Africa
Red – calling to mind the fire of faith that brought missionaires to the Americas (US, Canada, Latin America and Native Americans)
White – symbolising Europe, the home of the Holy Father, clothed in white
Blue – for the ocean surrounding the Islands of the Pacific (Australia/Oceana)
Yellow – symbolising the morning light, where the sun rises first each day, and ‘beginning of civilization’ for Asia/ Middle East
Note: These colours do not need to go in any particular order in the making of the Rosary.
The Mysteries of Mission
(from the book, The Mysteries of Mission, Logos Publications, Manila)
(Recommended for mission celebrations)
“In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning…The Word became flesh, he lived among us” (Jn 1:1-2,14).
Reflection: The Triune God is the source of mission, and the mystery of the incarnation forms the very foundation of missionary life.
“Some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east asking, ‘Where is the infant king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage” (Mt 2:1b-2).
Reflection: The first witnesses of God’s coming into the world in human flesh were ordinary people with humble hearts – Mary and Joseph, the poor shepherds, and the magi.
The Calling of the Twelve Disciples for the Mission
“Jesus now went up to the mountain and summoned those he wanted. So they came to him and he appointed twelve; they were to be his companions and to be sent out to proclaim the message” (Mk 3:13-14).
Reflection: Before calling the twelve disciples and before other major events in his life, Jesus often went up a mountain in order to pray. A missionary is a person of prayer, always seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit in every decision that he or she makes.
The Washing of the Feet
“Jesus and his disciples were at supper…He got up from table, removed his outer garments and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing” (Jn 13:2,4-5).
Reflection: Jesus washing the feet of his disciples exemplifies missionary service. A missionary is one who closely follows the life of the Master who “came not to be served but to serve” (Mk 10: 45).
The Mission Sending of the Disciples to the World
“Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore; make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And look, I am with you always; yes, to the end of time” (Mt 28:16-20).
Reflection: Sent by the God in communion with the Holy Spirit, the Risen Christ now sends his disciples to continue the divine mission. As scripture says: “How beautiful are the feet of the messenger of good news!” (Ro 10:15).