The Society for the Propagation of the Faith
...all of us committed to the worldwide mission of Jesus
How can I help the missions?
The Society for the Propagation of the Faith is one of four Pontifical Mission Societies. The others are: The Society of St. Peter Apostle, The Missionary Union of Priests and Religious, and the Holy Childhood Association.
Under the direction of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Rome, Italy), and the bishops, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith seeks to foster an ever-deeper spirit of universal mission, to inform Catholics of the life and the needs of the Catholic Church in the Missions, and to encourage prayer and financial help for those mission churches.
Through the offerings of Catholics worldwide, the Propagation of the Faith provides ongoing support for the pastoral and evangelizing programs of the Catholic Church in Africa, Asia, the islands of the Pacific and remote regions of Latin America. This includes aid for the education and support of seminarians, Religious novices and lay catechists; for the work of Religious Communities in education, health care and social services; for communication and transportation needs, and for disaster and emergency relief when necessary.
The national office for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the United States is located in New York City; the National Director is Father John E. Kozar. This New York City location is also the national office for Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle and The Missionary Union of Priests and Religious; Father Kozar serves as the National Director of these as well.
The Society of St. Peter Apostle invites 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.
The Missionary Union of Priests and Religious seeks to increase awareness of the Church's worldwide mission among priests, permanent deacons, men and women Religious, candidates to the priesthood and Religious life, and other persons engaged in pastoral ministry in the Catholic Church. This involves including a worldwide missionary dimension in formation and other programs for these ministries. Holy Childhood Association (HCA) has a dual mandate of educating children about their part in the Church's mission work and challenging them to share what they have with children growing up in developing countries.
The Society for the Propagation of the Faith was founded in Lyons, France in 1822 by a young French laywoman, Pauline Jaricot, who felt called by the Lord to help the Catholic Church's worldwide missionary task. Pauline never traveled to the Missions, which, during her lifetime, consisted of the Missions in China and the young dioceses of the United States. Pauline gathered friends and workers in a family silk mill into "circles of ten," asking each person to pray daily for the Missions and sacrifice a penny-a-week (at that time, quite a large sacrifice!). From this idea emerged the Propagation of the Faith which today has become the basic means of support for the Catholic Missions of the world.
The Society of Saint Peter Apostle was founded in 1889 in Caen, France, by mother and daughter, Stephanie and Jeanne Bigard, to educate priests in mission countries. Later, support for Religious Brothers and Sisters was included. The Missionary Union of Priests and Religious was founded in 1916 in Italy by Father Paolo Manna, to encourage members of the clergy and Religious to support the Missions through prayer and solidarity. The Holy Childhood Association was founded in 1843 by Bishop Charles de Forbin-Janson to help animate the young faithful to a universal missionary spirit.
World Mission Sunday
World Mission Sunday, organized by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, is a day set aside for Catholics worldwide to recommit themselves to the Church's missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice.
Annually, World Mission Sunday is celebrated on the next-to-last Sunday in October. World Mission Sunday is "an important day in the life of the Church because it teaches how to give: as an offering made to God, in the Eucharistic celebration and for all the missions of the world" (see Redemptoris Missio 81).
"The offerings that will be collected [on World Mission Sunday] are destined for a common fund of solidarity distributed, in the Pope's name, by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith among the missions and missionaries of the entire world."
Every year the needs of the Catholic Church in the Missions grow - as new dioceses are formed, as new seminaries are opened because of the growing number of young men hearing Christ's call to follow Him as priests, as areas devastated by war or natural disaster are rebuilt, and as other areas, long suppressed, are opening up to hear the message of Christ and His Church. That is why the involvement and commitment of Catholics from around the world is so urgently needed.
Offerings from Catholics in the United States, on World Mission Sunday and throughout the year, are combined with offerings to the Propagation of the Faith from Catholics worldwide. Mission dioceses - about 1,000 at this time - receive regular annual assistance from the funds collected. In addition, these mission dioceses submit requests to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples for assistance, among other needs, for catechetical programs, seminaries, the work of Religious Communities, for communication and transportation needs, and for the building of chapels and churches. These needs are matched with the funds gathered in each year. The world's national directors of the Propagation of the Faith vote on these requests, matching the funds available with the greatest needs. These funds are then distributed to Mission (Arch)Dioceses throughout the world. This General Fund of support is then distributed in its entirety each year.
For more information about Pope Benedict XVI and World Mission Sunday, be sure to check out the official Vatican web site!
How can I help the missions?
The Propagation of the Faith seeks prayer, sacrifice and financial support for the Church's missionary work, and provides ongoing help for the pastoral and evangelizing programs of the Church in Africa, Asia, the islands of the Pacific and remote regions of Latin America. This includes aid for the education and support of seminarians, Religious novices and lay catechists; for the work of Religious Communities in education, health care and social services; for communication and transportation needs, and for disaster and emergency relief, when necessary.
The Propagation of the Faith worldwide gathers a General Fund of support during the year; this general fund is distributed each year in its entirety. In the United States, this fund is collected in various ways. World Mission Sunday is the primary opportunity through which the Propagation of the Faith encourages prayer and generous financial help from all Catholics for the Missions. Also in the United States, funds are requested through direct-mail appeals, parish appeals, MISSION magazine, planned giving programs and Wills.
To Help The Missions You Can:
- Pray Daily For The Church's Missionary Work - Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, St. Francis Xavier, pray for us, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, pray for us.
- Offer Your Personal Sacrifice - your pain, your loneliness, your anxiety, your sickness or sadness - in union with the sufferings of the crucified Christ for the redemption of the world.
- Give generously on World Mission Sunday - annually, the next-to-last Sunday of October.
- Remember the Propagation of the Faith when writing or changing your Will.
- Offer regular help through MISSION magazine or through mail or parish appeals to your Propagation of the Faith (Arch)Diocesan Director.
- Be a part of the Propagation of the Faith Charitable Gift Annuity. This is an especially attractive way to make a charitable gift and secure a relatively high, lifelong income. Current rates range from 5.7% to 11%, depending on your age. The tax benefits of the charitable contribution on your current year's income tax return and the tax-free portion of the annual return make the effective yield even higher. Most importantly, through this program, you will be helping the Church's worldwide missionary efforts well into the future.
- Consider the Pooled Income Fund. This program enables you to make a generous irrevocable gift to the Missions and to provide yourself with an income for life. Our Pooled Income Fund is similar to a money market fund. Your gift is invested together with the gifts of other donors, and each donor receives his or her share of the fund's earnings each year. You can claim a charitable contribution on your itemized income tax return for the year in which you make the gift. However, for Federal income tax purposes, payments which you receive each year are fully taxable. The minimum age requirement for this program is 50.
For more information regarding “How Can I Help the Missions,” please contact:
Rev. Charlie Collins, Dir. or
Judith M. Herdina, Sec.
Society for the Propagation of Faith
Diocese of Winona
PO Box 588
Winona, Minnesota 55987