Pontifical Mission Society for the Propagation of the Faith
Founded by the Venerable Pauline Jaricot, The Pontifical Mission Society for the Propagation of the Faith seeks prayer and sacrifice for the world’s Missions, currently 1,111 dioceses in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands
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 very first collection for the Propagation of the Faith in 1822 supported the vast diocese of Louisiana, which extended from the Florida Keys to Canada, as well as the missions of Kentucky and China.
In early 19th century in France, a young woman, Pauline Jaricot, had a vision. She saw two oil lamps – one, empty; the other, full. In her dream, the full lamp was filling up the empty one, making it fit once again for use.
Pauline saw the full lamp as the Missions of her day – our own country included. She had been hearing a lot about those young churches from her brother, Phileas, as he prepared for the priesthood. She believed that the great faith of these growing churches would “fill up” the lack of faith she was finding in her own native France, and help renw her Church at home. So Pauline decided to start something to support the Missions of her day, so just that would happen. [Later, history would prove Pauline right. In fact, many Missionary Religious Communities came out of France in the latter part of the 19th century, and three of the four Pontifical Mission Societies were founded there during those years.]
Pauline started gathering together small groups — mostly workers in her family’s silk factory. She asked each member of the group to offer daily prayer and a weekly sacrifice of a sous [the equivalent of a penny at that time] for the Church’s worldwide Missionary work. She insisted that her efforts be directed to all the Church’s Missions, that it be universal.
From Pauline’s vision came the founding of the Pontifical Mission Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Two thirds of its first collection in 1822 went to support the vast diocese of Louisiana, which then extended from the Florida Keys to Canada, and the Missions of Kentucky. The remaining third went to China. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia was a part of this vast diocese at the time – we were among the first areas to receive support from Pauline and her vision.
The young Church in the United States started contributing to missionary outreach through the Propagation of the Faith as early as 1840. Today, as the Pontifical Mission Society for the Propagation of the Faith continues to seek prayer and sacrifice for the world’s Missions – now 1,111 dioceses in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and remote regions of Latin America – Pauline’s vision also continues, both in the emphasis on daily prayer and regular sacrifice, and in the universal approach to offering help to all the Missions through one General Fund of Solidarity.
But Pauline’s job for the Missions didn’t end there. She had more to say about the subject – and she said it to just the right person.
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Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Archbishop Fulton Sheen, now “Venerable” was director of the Pontifical Mission Societies from 1950 – 1966.
In February of 1951, Venerable Archbishop Sheen, in a radio address inaugurated the World Mission Rosary. “We must pray, and not for ourselves, but for the world. To this end I have designed the World Mission Rosary.” Praying the Rosary, Archbishop Sheen said, would “aid the Holy Father and his Pontifical Mission Society for the Propagation of the Faith by supplying him with practical support, as well as prayers, for the poor Mission territories of the world.”
He clearly and effectively communicated the Catholic Church’s message and mission on the radio and television, as well as through his many writings. He presented the inspiring stories of the Missions and told of the love and the joy of those serving the poor in those areas of the world. In 1951 Archbishop Fulton Sheen founded MISSION Magazine. Today, more than 60 years after that inaugural issue – MISSION Magazine continues to introduce readers to the Mission story.
“The poor missions of the world need the comfortable to supply roofs for their churches, medicine for their hospitals, and clothes for their backs, but the comfortable need the poor in order that they may have the blessing of God in their hearts, the charity of Christ in their souls, and the intercession of the poor who are the friends of God.” – Archbishop Fulton Sheen, editorial, Mission magazine, April-May 1951 Inaugural Issue
Transfigured in Christ by Missionaries – Meet Gantulga
Gantulga’s family is just one Mongolian family whose lives have been dramatically transformed after hearing the Good News of Jesus and accepting Him into their hearts. Gantulga and his family, including his wife Uurtsaikh and their children, live in the rural town of Arvaiheer, about 300 miles from Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaanbaatar. The family first learned about the Catholic Church when they moved to the town after tragically losing all their livestock almost 10 years ago.
They were one of a few lucky families to be given a new ger, a traditional Mongolian round tent dwelling. While Uurtsaikh and the children started attending activities run by the local Catholic Church, Gantulga was haunted by his alcoholism and his destructive behavior. “Before in my life, I made a lot of mistakes and I was addicted to alcohol and I had problems with violence, not understanding, misunderstandings with other people,” he explains. “When I started going to church and feeling how God’s mercy reaches me, I felt that I had to receive Baptism.”
“Sometimes I try to imagine what would have been my life without faith,” Gantulga continues. “And then frankly I do not find an answer because most probably I would have been pulled by the river of my old life into something bad. I don’t know really what would have been my life without Christ.”
Gantulga received Baptism at Easter 2013, but even before that — when he started coming to church with Uurtsaikh and their children — he saw drastic changes in his life. Today Gantulga is not only a better father and husband, he has also emerged as a leader in the community, reaching out to others in need.
In 2012, when the Mongolian Catholic Church celebrated its 20th anniversary, a milestone which was marked by Catholics all across the country, it was Gantulga’s celebration song — “Jesus Christ Has Saved Us” — that was chosen as the official hymn. Now it is sung every week at Gantulga’s church. The words proclaim how Gantulga and his family themselves were saved by Jesus Christ.
“There is a positive influence of the Church here in this whole community. Their lives have been changing for the better. And you can feel that there is a change. There is more joy and happiness around us. Thanks to the spiritual and practical outreach of faithful missionaries, every year, more and more Mongolians hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, and accept Jesus in their lives.” — Gantulga and his family shown above. He was baptized into the Church in Mongolia, Easter 2013
Gantulga’s whole family is involved with the Church’s work here. Three times a week, he participates in a men’s group where they make religious objects and souvenirs out of wood and leather, while his wife, Uurtsaikh, is involved in a similar group for women. The couple’s children are also active in the Church, attending Mass with their parents, and taking part in the before and after school care programs.
The Pontifical Mission Societies have supported the development and outreach of the Catholic Church since Bishop Wenceslao Padilla and the other missionaries were first invited in to the country more than 20 years ago. With your ongoing support the work of these missionaries may continue here and around the globe, and the poor receive practical help, while they experience God’s love and mercy, His hope and peace.