The Society for the Propagation of the Faith was founded in 1822 by a 19 year-old woman from Lyons, France, named Pauline Jaricot. She, along with several other women who worked in the factories of France, would gather each week in prayer for the missions and missionaries. Her first significant collection ($4,000) was divided three ways for the missions in China, Louisiana and Kentucky (America was considered mission territory at this time).
Pauline insisted that her efforts be directed to all the Church’s missions, that it be universal. From Pauline’s vision came the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
This Society has become the Church’s official organization for mission aid. The Society for the Propagation of the Faith continues to seek prayer and sacrifice for the world’s missions. Help is offered for pastoral and evangelizing programs, for catechists and catechetical work, to build churches and chapels, for the work of religious communities in health care and education, and for communication and transportation needs.
The financial contributions in our own Diocese of Harrisburg largely come from the World Mission Sunday collection each October and the Propagation of the Faith Membership Sunday collection in February. In addition to these two major collections, funds are also received from a group of faithful monthly donors, from wills, bequests, and legacies, and outright gifts made by the faithful of the diocese.