World Mission Sunday: The Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith

Sunday, October 17 2004

The Society for the Propagation of the Faith is an organization of the universal Church. It was founded in 1822 by a French laywoman, Pauline Marie Jaricot. At that time a spiritual renewal began in France and immediately assumed a missionary thrust in response to Jesus’ command, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19).

The society is a Pontifical Society under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome, thus identifying it with the universal church. In each country the society is the responsibility of the conference of Catholic bishops. In Canada the Society for the Propagation of the Faith exists in both the English and French sectors of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

The two main objectives of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith are missionary animation and the sharing of resources.

Missionary animation reminds and encourages each baptized person of his/her privilege and obligation to witness and to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Missionary animation also offers education and information regarding the life of the Church in other countries and strives to nourish and encourage missionary vocations.

Sharing of resources involves the dedication of those who go to foreign lands to share their presence, their personal gifts and their faith; it also involves the sharing of financial resources.

Every year the universal Church dedicates the month of October, in a special way, to reflection on and prayers for the missions. The second to the last Sunday in October is designated World Mission Sunday. On this day Catholics throughout the world, in rich or poor parishes alike, contribute to the Universal Mission Fund of solidarity.

Each year in May, the Pontifical Mission Societies, through the national directors who constitute the Superior Council carry out the distribution of funds received. Approved grants are sent directly to the designated countries from the National Office.

On World Mission Sunday then, in this spirit of sharing, Catholics throughout the world celebrate the Eucharist as one. The liturgy for this celebration centers on Jesus’ commission “Go, then and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19). The faithful are invited to pray fervently for the realization of this great mission of Christ.

Most Rev. Peter A. Sutton, omi
Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas
Bishop Ponens, Pontifical Mission Societies – English Sector

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