Who we are


The Pontifical Mission Societies are a worldwide network at the service of the Pope to support the mission and the young Churches with prayer and charity.

The Second Vatican Council states that two activities are referred to under the name of missions: the proclamation of the Gospel and the establishment of new Churches (AG, 6). The charism of the Pontifical Mission Societies is placed in the broad vision of missio ad gentes and of the relationship between the local and universal Church.

There are four Pontifical Mission Societies. The Society of the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of the Holy Childhood and the Society of St. Peter the Apostle were born in France in the 19th century, two of which from initiatives of women who were passionate about mission. In particular, Pauline Jaricot, the founder of the 1st Society in 1822, expressed the fundamental principle: to pray and offer for the work of evangelization of the Church. The fourth Society, the Pontifical Missionary Union, was born in the early 1900s.

In 1922 Pope Pius XI gave the Societies the title of "Pontifical". Thus the Pope recognized the charisma of the Societies, made them his own and made them his instrument for supporting, with prayer and charity, the missio ad gentes of the Church. Through them the Pope takes care of the many pastoral needs of young Churches.

In fact, they offer constant spiritual and material support so that missionaries can proclaim the Gospel and build the Church, thus contributing to the good of the people among whom they carry out their mandate.

The PMS are at the service of the Church and give every baptized person the opportunity to live their faith by sharing it with others and experiencing its universal dimension. Prayer, sacrifice and charity are concrete ways that the PMS offer to live a missionary and universal faith.





The Supreme Committee

The Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in their service aimed at promoting and animating the Missionary Spirit among all the Churches, are organized in the following way: they are headed by a Supreme Committee, which on the mandate of the Holy Father is supervised, as President, by His Eminence Cardinal Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, (CEP), who, in this task of service to the Universal Church, is assisted by Msgr. Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Secretary of CEP and by Msgr. Emilio Nappa, Adjunct Secretary of CEP and President of the PMS. In carrying out this mandate on a daily basis, the Supreme Committee is assisted by the General Secretaries of the four Societies, by the person in charge of the Administration, and by five representatives of each continent of the National Directions. Its primary task is to coordinate and regulate the spiritual and material cooperation of the proclamation and witness of the Gospel, throughout the world, with a missionary witness.


The Superior Council

The PMS have their own autonomous organization, led by a Superior Council, which meets every year in Rome. The purpose of this Council is to take into consideration the requests for support that arrive from all over the world regarding the different needs of the young Churches. The funds raised by the faithful of the five continents, in particular during World Mission Sunday, on the third Sunday of October, are distributed in order to offer each local Church adequate aid for their evangelization needs.

This annual meeting brings together the National Directors of the PMS from 130 countries, under the guidance of the President of the PMS, Msgr. Emilio Nappa and the participation of Cardinal Antonio Tagle, Prefect of CEP.

The Council examines and approves the projects presented annually by the Churches of the so-called "mission" countries.


The Executive Committee

The President of the PMS and the General Secretaries form an Executive Committee which meets at least every two months to discuss the work done, to coordinate activities and to work together in promoting the missionary work of the Church.

The General Secretaries are committed to getting to know and visiting the nations pertaining to CEP, to evaluate the missionary activity of their respective Societies. The Executive Committee operates according to its "Internal Regulations" and is assisted in its work by the person in charge of the Administration.


The International Secretariats

Each of the four Societies has an International Secretariat, headed by a General Secretary appointed for a-five-year period by CEP. The International Secretariats are available for consultation and advice on the administration and development of the Societies in each Nation.

The General Secretaries, together with their collaborators, examine the projects sent by the Bishops and make the National Directors aware of the contents of pastoral and economic activity, regarding the distribution of the Fund of each society. This work is then presented in an annual pastoral and financial report to the Superior Council Assembly, supported, for the financial aspect, by the person in charge of the Administration.


The National Directions

From a structural point of view, the Pontifical Mission Societies are both universal and local. The local dimension is manifested in the activity of the national directions which in turn support the work of the diocesan person in charge. Can. 791 of the Code of Canon Law provides that in each diocese "a priest should be appointed to effectively promote initiatives in favor of missions, especially the Pontifical Mission Societies". The great task of the PMS is to raise awareness of mission, which - in the wake of all the teaching of the Popes and the Council - is a task of the whole People of God.


The National Directions

The National Directions