The Mission Hub

The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the
Propagation of the Faith, the Missionary Childhood Association, the Society of St.Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerfulmissionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

One Family in Mission

When many Catholics think of the foreign missions, they think immediately of The Society for the Propagation of the Faith. However, many people do not know that The Society for the Propagation of the Faith is one of four “Pontifical Mission Societies.” The other three are The Society of Saint Peter Apostle, The Holy Childhood Association, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. I thought it might be useful to give a thumbnail sketch of two of these Mission Societies in my column this week. In a couple of weeks we will look at the other two.

The Society for the Propagation of the Faith was founded in France in 1822 by Pauline Jaricot. She gathered her friends and family to raise prayerful and financial support for the missions. That apparently modest gesture has borne remarkable fruit, particularly here is Boston. Throughout our history as an Archdiocese, the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Boston have been wonderfully generous in supporting the missionary activity of the Church through the Society. This is particularly appropriate since, in our early days, our own Archdiocese was the beneficiary of prayers and support from the Catholics of France.

The Society of Saint Peter Apostle was founded in France in 1889 by Stephanie and Jeanne Bigard, a mother and daughter. They responded to the need expressed by a French missionary bishop in Japan for assistance in educating seminarians to serve in his diocese. Today, SPA supports seminary education and the formation of religious brothers and sisters in the missions.

My work as Archdiocesan Director during the past year has opened my eyes to the true universality of the Catholic Church in a way that no other experience in my priesthood could. As I meet with missionaries and read their letters on a daily basis I am constantly reminded of the commitment of clergy and laity alike to the sharing of the Gospel message. I am also blessed to be able to meet many of these missionaries in person.

This week we welcomed to our offices Father Cyril Buyeera, the Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Archdiocese of Tororo, Uganda. Father Cyril is on his first visit to the United States and is participating in our Mission Cooperative Program for this year. His presence is a forceful reminder of our connection in faith to people all over the world. We are truly “one family in mission” and it is indeed a blessing.

For more information on the missionary activity of the Church see our website

-Fr. Rodney J. Copp, JCL

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