MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR WORLD MISSION DAY, 31 May 2020
«“Here am I, send me!” (Is 6:8). God continues to look for those whom he can send forth into the world and to the nations to bear witness to his love»
Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle
The history of the Mission Societies shows how support for missions comes from the people of God and how God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong (1 Cor 1: 27-29).
The Society of St. Peter the Apostle (POSPA) was established to support the indigenous clergy.
From the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, the Holy See repeatedly drew attention to the question of the indigenous clergy. Missionaries in any country were always convinced that their action would be incomplete if it did not come to the creation of a local clergy, but the realization of this reality always clashed with various obstacles and difficulties. Above all, the dispositions of the missionaries were stopped due to the lack of resources for both the creation of seminaries and the formation of seminarians. In order to find a solution, the missionaries issued anguished appeals to their benefactors in Europe.
Everything began in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, when Msgr. Jules-Alphonse Cousin, of the Foreign Missions of Paris, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Japan in 1855, then Bishop of Nagasaki in1891, despite his conviction of the need to have Japanese priests for the resurrection of the local Church, was forced, due to lack of resources, to refuse with sorrowful suffering and send back home young people who had clear signs of a priestly vocation. Addressed by a benefactress, he will turn to the Bigard ladies through a letter written on June 1, 1889, and which will be the starting point for the foundation of the Society of St. Peter the Apostle.
The Society of St. Peter the Apostle promotes, in Christian communities, the awareness of the need to develop local clergy and consecrated life in recently founded missionary Churches.
It animates and coordinates missionary collaboration in all the local Churches, through the offering of prayer, sacrifices and alms, to support the formation of future priests and men and women religious of young Churches, and the necessary preparation of their formators.
It collects and distributes financial aid to support seminaries and novitiates, in collaboration with local Christian communities and under the guidance of their pastors.
The economic collaboration of the Society of St. Peter the Apostle is achieved through the Ordinary Subsidies for the maintenance of seminarians and novices; Extraordinary Subsidies for the construction of new seminaries, for the rehabilitation and self-financing projects of the existing ones; the "Holy Mass Intentions" to support formators, Scholarships for future formators. In this collaboration, the final objective of POSPA, like that of all the other Pontifical Societies, remains the spread of the Gospel and the progress of the Kingdom of God.