The Pontifical Mission Societies, under the direction of the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples in Rome, are the Catholic Church’s official support organization for missions worldwide. The Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples assists the Holy Father in the proclamation of the Gospel throughout the world. It helps to erect and sustain new dioceses in mission lands and is the only organization which supports every one of the approximately 1,100 mission dioceses of the world. It helps with faith formation, the selection of native bishops, and the formal formations of seminarians, religious sisters and brothers, and lay catechists. As these dioceses struggle to take root, they also provide related education, health, and social services to the people of the missionary diocese.
The goal is to support the mission dioceses through subsidies so they may eventually become self-sufficient. These missions are then removed from missionary status and become the evangelizers of new nations in the proclamation of the Gospel.
How do the Pontifical Mission Societies differ from other charitable organizations?
Many local charities and community outreach programs exist to relieve pressing needs of the poor and marginalized in our country and abroad. These are noteworthy projects to which Catholics respond with love and generosity. However, Mission and the spread of the Gospel are at the heart of Christian faith and should animate each of us, especially our youth, to look beyond the borders of our community to “teach and preach the Gospel to all nations.”
Therefore, the Pontifical Mission Societies are not in competition with other social services and programs. They focus on the spread of the Gospel and the importance of prayer, and help to instill in the faithful a desire to spread the healing message of Jesus to those who need it most in missionary lands.
Where do Missions Funds Come From?
Annual collections in your parish
World Mission Sunday (3rd Sunday of October)
Propagation of Faith Membership Sunday (1st Sunday in February).
Christmas Appeal and SPOF Lent Appeal, both sent from the National Office in New York;
Summer Appeal from our Diocesan office (letter from Father Sharman asking for help for the Society of St. Peter Apostle to support vocations in the Missions).
Ongoing monthly gifts, either as a check or through an automatic deduction from your credit card.
Occasionally Mass Intentions are received in our office to forward to missionary priests. Mass stipends are often the only means of daily support for priests in mission lands. For more information: Mass Offerings Support The Missions
Missionary Cooperative Program
Appeal during which a Missionary Priest preaches in your parish. Gifts received in that collection go directly to the their mission.
Missionary Childhood Association (MCA)
In the Catholic schools in our diocese, and in parish Religious Education programs, moderators for the Missionary Childhood Association sponsor fundraising activities while teaching the children the importance of prayers for children in missionary lands.
End of year gifts; wills, bequests, and legacies; outright gifts made by the faithful of the Diocese of Harrisburg.
How are Mission Funds Distributed?
Mission dioceses receive regular annual assistance from the funds collected, according to a diocese’s size. In addition, mission dioceses submit requests to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples for assistance for specific projects, including catechetical programs, seminaries, the work of religious communities, communication and transportation needs, and the building of chapels and churches.
Each year, the world’s national directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies gather and vote on these requests, matching the funds available with the greatest need for help. These funds are then distributed to missions and missionaries around the world. Rome employs a system of check and balances, through the Vatican Ambassador in each nation, to make sure the money and grants received are actually used for the projects requested.
All of the General Fund of support is distributed in its entirety each year.
Can I designate a particular missionary organization or school as the recipient of my donation?
Per Pontifical Mission Societies statutes, individual Diocesan Missions offices are not permitted to consider special requests for funding. Instead, we send all donations to the National Office in New York, which then forwards the monies to the General Headquarters in Rome where they are distributed in a fair and just manner. This General Fund of all donations is important because it supports mission dioceses and institutions that may be unknown and overlooked. Sometimes a particular mission has a great many private supporters, especially from the US, and does well in raising funds. The General Fund, however, assists those institutions that struggle to do the same ministry but do not have private support.
The exception to the remittance of donations is the Missionary Cooperative Program, in which monies collected as a result of an appeal by a missionary priest are sent directly to the missionary organization.
What do you do with the names of donors?
ALL donor information is confidential and is used exclusively by the designated diocesan representative of the Pontifical Mission Societies, and only for seeking support for the Pontifical Mission Societies. Donor names and addresses are not rented or sold to, or used to seek support for, any other cause or organization, thus honoring the pledge made to contributors when they became part of the donor database.