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.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Society Membership Honors Our Mothers and Fathers

For many years, Catholics have followed the custom of enrolling themselves or their loved ones, living or deceased, in Membership in the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. By doing so, they give an ongoing gift to the new member and to the missions. Membership means that the person enrolled receives the spiritual benefits of Masses said daily by mission priests; they are also included in the intentions of a daily Mass celebrated at the Vatican.

Every year we are pleased to offer special enrollments to help you celebrate and honor special family members – mothers and fathers. By offering $5 to the missions to enroll your family members, you help to expand the family of God through the work of missionaries.

In many mission locations, funds from Society Membership are a substantial means of support. One such place is the Diocese of Kasana-Luweero in Uganda. Through support from our One Family in Mission, children are educated and cared for, clean water is provided to the villagers to ensure a healthier lifestyle and local men and women are able to say “yes” to God and choose a life dedicated to His service. Work being done in the Diocese by the Apostles of Jesus Missionaries is vital to all these ministries and supported by the generosity of our donors.
Fr. Paul Gaggawala, A.J. and students

In a very real way, your Membership helps to bring that work to where it is most needed.

For more information on our Mother’s and Father’s Day Enrollments, please call 617-542-1776 or email [email protected].

The following people have been enrolled in Perpetual Membership in
The Society for the Propagation of the Faith:

Daniel J. Buxhoeveden, Anne Marie Moore, Rita Ann Durand, Elijah J. Lopes, Louise J. Iverson, Pamela L. Peck, Jane Jeter ,William Rodrigues, Charles E. Burrows, Bob Feller, Sparky Anderson,
Dan McGaffey, George Blanda, Thomas Fucello, Bernard Quitt, Brendan Perry, Mildred Kinch, John Goyourian, Hon. Paul Garrity, Dr. Wilfred Butterfield, The Ron Nix Family, Bertha McCrae, Maurice Trant, Bernadette and Michael J. Neidl, Jr., Lillian and Paul Niles.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Easter from Our Family to Yours!

In the name of the staff of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Archdiocese of Boston, I extend to all of you our prayerful best wishes for a happy and holy Easter season. As we celebrate the resurrection of Christ and his commission to share our faith with others, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about the extensive work of the Church in fulfilling that commission.

Most Catholics are familiar with The Society for the Propagation of the Faith. However, not as many people know that this is one of only four Societies commissioned to represent Pope Benedict all over the world as the official and Vatican-based missionary arm of the Catholic Church. Our Societies are known as “Pontifical” because they represent the Holy Father’s presence in every (Arch) Diocese in the world.

The Society for the Propagation of the Faith was formed in France in 1822 by Pauline Jaricot. Today, it supports the work of missionaries in over 1150 mission dioceses around the world. In the Archdiocese of Boston, we assist with this effort in a number of ways, particularly through the Mission Cooperative Plan which brings missionaries into every parish once a year to raise funds for their work.

The Society of Saint Peter Apostle was also founded in France in the nineteenth century. Its mandate is to support seminary education and the formation of men and women religious in the missions. It too is assisted by the Missionary Cooperative Program.

The Holy Childhood Association is the educational arm of the Pontifical Mission Societies. It provides for mission education in Catholic schools and parish Religious Education programs from pre-school through Confirmation. Here in Boston, Cardinal Sean O'Malley has asked that everyone educating our Catholic students rely on the programs of HCA to help their students realize their own missionary vocation.

Finally, The Missionary Union of Priests and Religious, founded in 1916, addresses the spiritual support of missionaries throughout the world. This spiritual apostolate addresses itself to those called to bring Catholics to a better understanding of their baptismal responsibility for the Church’s missionary work.

These four Societies received the title of “Pontifical” in 1922 and their central administration was transferred to Rome. National offices exist in more than 120 countries. Today, this “family” of mission societies is the Church’s primary means to inform Catholics about her worldwide missionary work and encourage their active participation—through prayer and sacrifice—in those efforts.

-Rev. Rodney J. Copp, J.C.L.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


In Nepal, people greet each other saying “Namaste!” with a slight bow, made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards. It literally means “To You!” This sign of respect was explained to me last week as one of the participants at the National Meeting of the Pontifical Mission Societies held in Seattle, WA. Our teacher was Bishop Anthony Sharma, S.J., Vicar Apostolic of Nepal, part of our extended One Family in Mission.

Bishop Sharma travelled from his country to share the work of the Church in Nepal: work that all four Pontifical Mission Societies have had a hand in helping to build. He told us a bit about the geography and culture of his country. Located between China and India, Nepal is a mostly Hindu country; just one per cent of the population is Christian. The Bishop shared that while there are many outside forces working against Christianity in Nepal, hope sustains his people. They know that “Tomorrow will be a better day because God is in control.”

Nepal’s Shepherd also came to thank us as representatives of you, our benefactors. He told us that without support from the Propagation of the Faith, the Church in Nepal would not have survived. This support made his own vocation possible.

Born twelve hours after his father’s death, Bishop Sharma knew that as the only son, he must care for his mother and carry on the family line. When his Jesuit principal asked him about the priesthood, he responded very simply, “No Way!” He knew he had other obligations. When he finally worked up the courage to tell his mother that he wanted to enter the Jesuits, she told him, “Over my dead body will you be a priest!” But as he tried to pray the thought away, the desire to serve God became greater. The day he was to leave for the seminary, he finally broke the news to his mother who walked to the doorway and prostrated herself. She told him, “You want to leave? Walk over me.”

“That was a step I had to take,” Bishop Sharma shared.

Catholics of Nepal have been graced with a courageous leader, whose strength and courage have led him to stand against many obstacles, be they political or personal. We wish him the same blessing that his mother finally gave him on the day of his ordination: “May all rocks before you turn to dust!”


-Maureen Crowley Heil

The Blood of the Martyrs is The Seed of the Church

These are the words of Tertullian, a third century historian and vigorous defender of the Christian faith during the time of the early persecutions. Since these words were spoken, countless men, women and children all over the world have given their lives for the faith.

March 24th was the thirty-first anniversary of the death of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the martyred Archbishop of El Salvador. Oscar Romero was born in Ciudad Barrios, a small town in El Salvador. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1942 in a country where the social policies toward the poor formed a pyramidal structure: one-half of one percent of the population owned ninety percent of the country’s wealth.

As Romero’s vision of his role as a priest, and later Archbishop, expanded, so did his vision of his responsibility to advocate on behalf of the poor. This put him at direct odds with the government; his life was threatened on more than one occasion. Not only did Romero preach equality and fair economic standards for every citizen, he openly defied the policies that he considered unjust. Following the murder of one of his closest friends, a Jesuit priest, he excommunicated the murderers. During this time, right wing groups were spreading leaflets everywhere: “Be a patriot: kill a priest.”

Archbishop Romero fully expected to give his life for his faith and his people. He likened himself to “the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for his sheep.” His prediction came true on March 24, 1980, as he celebrated Mass and was gunned down by an assassin. Even his own funeral Mass was not without violence. A bomb was thrown into the crowd of over a quarter million people, killing at least forty and causing general panic and stampede.

Oscar Romero’s pastoral theology is best expressed in a quote from one of his homilies: There is one rule by which to judge if God is near us or is far away-- the rule that God's word is giving us today: everyone concerned for the hungry, the naked, the poor, for those who have vanished in police custody, for the tortured, for prisoners, for all flesh that suffers, has God close at hand.

Every day around the world, missionaries put themselves in harm’s way by continuing to live by the words of Jesus, as voiced by Archbishop Romero. Please pray for them and the people they risk their lives to serve.

For more information on the courageous global missionary presence of the Church see our website:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Holy Childhood Association Members: Praying Their Way through Lent

As I’ve traveled around the Archdiocese of Boston the last few years visiting parish Religious Education programs and Catholic Schools to speak about the missions, the point I’ve stressed to HCA members old and new is this: prayer is the most important thing you can do for anyone or about anything. We ask our members to pray one Hail Mary every day for their brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who may not know how much God loves them.

Recently, I was asked this question: “Can we pray more?”

My answer, of course, was an enthusiastic, “Yes, please!”

Then, I proceeded to teach the students our special mission way to do so. It’s called the World Mission Rosary. Started by Archbishop Fulton Sheen when he was the National Director of the Mission Societies here in the United States, this rosary is different only in its appearance; it is recited with the same prayers, the same mysteries. The difference is the colors of the beads. Each decade of the rosary is a distinctive color, standing for a different part of the Mission world. Green stands for the forests and grasslands of Africa, red is for the fire of the faith brought to North and South America by missionaries not that long ago. White represents Europe, the seat of the Holy Father. The blue beads are prayed for the small island countries in the Pacific Ocean that the Church calls Oceania and the yellow beads stand for the sunrise in the East over Asia. Archbishop Sheen said that when you recite the World Mission Rosary, adding the people of those parts of the world and the missionaries who serve them to your intentions, “You have embraced the world in prayer.”

Members of the Holy Childhood Association are receiving their World Mission Rosaries as I visit them, promising to pray their way through Lent and beyond for children in the missions who are not only in need of many material blessings but who most importantly need to know how much God loves them.

Students from St. Mary of the Hills School in Milton, MA

Making our own World Mission Chaplet at St. Peter Parish
Religious Education, Plymouth, MA

Praying the World Mission Rosary at St. Michael School, N. Andover, MA

Click here for more information about the Holy Childhood Association; to schedule a visit to your parish or school, please email me at [email protected] or call 617-779-3871.

Through the Holy Childhood Association, your children will learn to pray their way through Lent and beyond!
-Maureen Crowley Heil