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.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Heralds of the Gospel

Many people are surprised to learn that there are four Pontifical Mission Societies that are my responsibility as Archdiocesan Director.  Most Catholics in Boston recognize the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.  Many remember being members of the Holy Childhood Association (now Missionary Childhood Association) as students in parochial schools or religious education programs. 

Less familiar is the Society of Saint Peter Apostle.  This Pontifical Mission Society had its beginnings in nineteenth century France.  In 1889, a mother and daughter — Stephanie and Jeanne Bigard — answered a desperate plea for help from the Missions. The French missionary bishop of Nagasaki, Japan wrote to the two women asking for help to keep his seminary open because he had run out of the funds necessary to help educate these young men to serve their people as priests. The bishop just did not have the funds to train these young Japanese men whom, he judged, would make excellent priests. The Bigards came to his assistance and started a small group for this purpose in their native Caen, France. From these humble beginnings emerged the Society of St. Peter Apostle. Within five years of sending their first donation to Japan, the Bigards, and those whom they enlisted to help, were sending funds to seminaries in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Korea and China. The goal of the Society of St. Peter then and now has been to invite individuals to support the education of candidates for the Catholic priesthood in the Developing World and to support the formation of men and women candidates for the Religious life in the Missions. In its first year, the Society of St. Peter Apostle sent help for some 2,700 seminarians in the Missions. Today, some 30,000 major seminarians, mostly in Africa and Asia, receive an annual subsidy of $700 per student.

Every year, during the Thanksgiving season, I write to the priests of the Archdiocese asking them to support the work of the Society of Saint Peter Apostle in thanksgiving to God for their own priestly vocations.  They respond with characteristic generosity.  If you would like to join them in supporting the Society, please forward your gift to us at 66 Brooks Drive, Braintree, MA 02184.  For more information about our work, please visit
-Rev. Rodney J. Copp, JCL

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