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Pontifical Mission Societies Gear up for 200th Anniversary Celebrations

For centuries, Missio has been supporting Popes in their commitment — both in prayer and in material aid — to all Churches around the world.

Preparations have begun for next year, when on May 3, 2022, the Pontifical Mission Societies (Missio) will mark the 200th anniversary of their official foundation as the “Association for the Propagation of the Faith.”

The event also marks the 100th anniversary of the Motu Proprio Romanorum Pontificum, with which Pope Pius XI declared this a “Pontifical” society. (Read: Pope Francis celebrates St. John Paul II’s 100th birth anniversary)

The Pontifical Mission Societies has begun preparing for the 2022 celebrations, looking back to the sources of their founding charism, which began with the laywoman Pauline Jaricot.

Blessed Pauline Jaricot

Pauline Jaricot, French laywoman, foundress of the Pontifical Society of the Propagation of the Faith, the first of the Pontifical Mission Societies (Photo from Missio Austria/Clement Fuchs/Pontifical Mission Societies)

Born in Lyon, France, on July 22, 1799, Pauline Jaricot suffered a fall that caused her serious physical damage, and therefore a somewhat difficult growth.

But she felt the call to missionary life. On May 3, 1822, together with a group of laypeople, she founded the association of the “Propagation of the Faith“, approved by Pius VII in 1823.

Pauline devoted herself exclusively to serving the poor and the ill, visiting hospitals and the terminally ill on a daily basis. (Read: 5 Saints Who Helped Strangers During a Pandemic)

The aid she brought to those in need was accompanied by a life of intense prayer: She received the Eucharist daily, and interceded for the conversion of sinners and the evangelization of the world.

Pauline died in poverty in Lyon on January 9, 1862. She was declared Venerable by St. John XXIII in February 1963 and in May 2020, Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to her intercession, thus paving the way for her beatification.

Pontifical Mission Societies

Photo from The Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States

Present in 130 countries, today Missio counts 354,000 missionaries, 3 million catechists, 114 dioceses in mission territory, and 150 million dollars allocated to pastoral and social projects. (Read: The Papal Foundation Gives Out $9M in Grants for Charity Projects)

All these resources are employed with the aim of supporting the Pope in his commitment to all the particular Churches, both in prayer, which is the soul of the mission, and in material aid to Christians around the world.

In 2020, the year marked by the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic Pope Francis established an Emergency Fund as part of Missio for the mission lands most affected by the coronavirus, with a starting donation of 750,000 dollars.

The Pope himself, in May of last year, reminded Missio that mission is a free gift of the Spirit, not the outcome of strategies, and that being a missionary is a reflection of gratitude for what one has received.


Text by Vatican News.

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