PORTLAND — Hundreds of voices and a multitude of cultures joined together on Sunday morning at Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Parish, harmonizing in French, Spanish and English, in celebration of World Mission Sunday.

World Mission Sunday is a day for Catholics worldwide to recommit themselves to the church’s missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice, according to the Diocese of Portland. Bishop Robert P. Deeley celebrated the Mass, and told the congregation that its diversity made Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Parish the ideal venue for the celebration.

“This is the community where many of our new immigrant communities in Portland find a home. I would point out that we are all immigrants. Some of us are newer at it than others,” said Bishop Deeley. “Mission Sunday calls us first to know the gift we have in the Gospel, a gift that assures us of the love of God for each of us. At the same time, we know ourselves as called to mission.”

The theme of this year’s World Mission Sunday celebration was “I Will Build My Church,” which highlights the outreach of local churches through priests, religious, and laity among the poor and marginalized around the world.

In that spirit, Sunday’s Mass served as the official start of the Diocese of Portland’s new Mission Ambassador Program. Mission Ambassadors are volunteers from Maine parishes who will promote mission programs and a greater awareness of mission work in their respective parishes. Many of the mission ambassadors were in attendance.

Bishop Deeley asked for God’s blessing on the ambassadors as they bring the message of the missions to their local parishes and asked the assembly to always be conscious of ways in which they can be of assistance to each other.

Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Parish is home to more than 25 social service programs, the Diocesan Hispanic Ministry program, and hosts a variety of presentations aimed at assisting parishioners in need, including workshops with Catholic Charities Maine’s Refugee and Immigration Services.

During the Mass, a special collection was held for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, which assists more than 1,150 dioceses in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, and remote areas of Latin America by providing pastoral programs, building churches and chapels, and meeting health care and educational needs.

For more information about the Diocese of Portland’s Mission Ambassador Program, contact Ruth Oakley at 321-7817 or [email protected]

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