What are the Pontifical Mission Societies?
They are the principal way by which the Church supports people in mission lands. Most of us have heard of The Society for the Propagation of the Faith, which is a main component of the Societies. The Missionary Childhood Association (formerly called Holy Childhood), the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious complete the Pontifical Mission Societies. Learn more at the Societies’ official site.
Where are they located?
National offices exist in more than 120 nations around the world including the United States. Central offices are in Rome. Each diocese in the U.S. has a diocesan director appointed by its bishop. The U.S. National Office is located in Manhattan. The National Director is Fr. Andrew Small, OMI.
What makes the Pontifical Mission Societies different from other mission organizations?
The institutions of the Pontifical Mission Societies are institutions of the Universal Church and of each local church (diocese). That makes them both Pontifical and Episcopal in nature. It also makes them the principal instrument for educating the faithful to an awareness of the Church’s universal mission and to encourage their support, in prayer and sacrifice, for the evangelizing mission of the Church.
How can I help?
All baptized Catholics have the opportunity follow Jesus’ command to, “Go therefore, teach all nations…” and be part of the worldwide mission of the Church by offering their prayers and financial sacrifice. There is an annual “World Mission Sunday” collection in October and several mailings to individuals throughout the year. Missionaries are invited to visit our parishes, usually in summer, and tell about their experiences in the Missions. Young people are able to participate through their Catholic school or parish Religious Education Program via the Missionary Childhood Association.
How are my donations distributed to the Missions?
Offerings from American Catholics are combined with donations from Catholics worldwide. Mission dioceses receive regular annual assistance from these funds according to their size. Requests by these dioceses are made to the Vatican for various needs; national directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies worldwide vote on these requests. Funds are sent directly from the donating countries. All “General Fund” donations are disbursed in their entirety each year.