Diocesan Office of Pontifical Missions

At Baptism, new Christians are anointed with holy oil and become members of the Church, sharing in Christ’s priestly, kingly and prophetic vocation. The newly baptized also inherit a mandate from Christ to be his witnesses before the world and to proclaim his Gospel by word and example.

Reverend Robert F. Sharman
Diocesan Director
Office of Pontifical Missions

Supporting the Spread of the Gospel

It seems hard to believe that there are still billions of people who have not yet heard the “Good News” of Jesus. That is why the Pontifical Mission Aid Societies exist in the Church: namely, to promote mission awareness among the baptized and support for the spread of the Gospel. The Diocese of Harrisburg has been blessed with generous and faithful people who respond with sacrificial generosity to these mission aid societies. Since the Missions Office began in the diocese in 1924, countless missionaries have benefited from the prayers and support offered year after year. Thank you for answering the call to the ‘missionary spirit’ through your support of this holy work of the Church.

The Holy Father’s Prayer Intention for September 2021

An Environmentally Sustainable Lifestyle
We pray that we all will make courageous choices for a simple and environmentally sustainable lifestyle, rejoicing in our young people who are resolutely committed to this.

These Societies operate under the direct canonical jurisdiction of the Holy Father through the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome, with national offices in more than 120 countries around the world. The national office of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States is located in New York City, and the national director is Reverend Andrew Small, OMI. In addition, every diocese in the United States has a diocesan director who is appointed by the local ordinary (bishop) of that diocese.

The Societies gather basic support for more than 1,150 mission territories in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, Latin America, and some parts of Europe, including clinics, orphanages, and schools where the poorest of the poor receive an education, health care, and come to know the reason for all our hope. The Societies also provide support for 80,000 seminarians and for the training of 9,000 religious Sisters and Brothers. From South Sudan to Western Samoa, Syria to Saigon, the Pontifical Mission Societies are on the front lines where God’s people are suffering.

For a basic introduction to some of the key elements of the Pontifical Mission Societies: Primer on the Nature and Activity of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States

Q. How can I help the Missions of the world through the Pontifical Mission Societies?

A. All baptized Catholics have the opportunity to participate in the worldwide mission of the Church by offering their prayers, personal sacrifices, and/or financial contributions

Q. I would like to serve as a lay missionary. What should I do?

A. There are a number of local and national organizations that help connect lay Catholics to mission opportunities in the United States and abroad. Contact the Catholic Volunteer Network, a national membership organization of Christian volunteer and mission programs that fosters and promotes full-time national and international service opportunities for people of all backgrounds, ages, and skills: www.catholicvolunteernetwork.org/ or 1-800-543-5046. Catholic Volunteer Network member programs have volunteer positions available in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and in over 100 countries across the world, ranging from a week to a summer to a several-year commitment and everything in between.


Fr. Robert Sharman

Diocesan Director Office of Pontifical Missions

Office: 717-657-4804 x240

Karen Harding

Administrative Assistant Office of Pontifical Missions and Missionary Childhood Association Coordinator

Office: 717-657-4804 x240