The National Directors of the PMS, collaborators of the Holy Spirit: the General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies was held online

13 June 2020

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The General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies, last June 12, was held on a digital platform to which over a hundred national Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies around the world were connected. The use of technology was necessary due to the pandemic that prevented the celebration in the presence of the Assembly that should have been held in Rome.

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, addressed the over 100 national Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies around the world via the internet, urging them to always take advantage of the new opportunities that the Lord offers to announce the Gospel: "The Holy Spirit is the true protagonist of the Church's mission: the Spirit helps us to discern in a new and creative way how to be animators of the mission in the local Churches, in the five continents, and how to proclaim the Gospel in the face of the challenges that today’s time presents, like that of the Covid-19 pandemic".

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, President of the Pontifical Mission Societies; the four General Secretaries of the PMS: Fr. Tadeusz J. Nowak, OMI, Secretary General of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith (POPF), Fr. Fabrizio Meroni, General Secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Union (PUM), Sr. Roberta Tremarelli, General Secretary of the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood (POSI), the person in charge of the Administration, Msgr. Carlo Soldateschi

partecipated in the assembly via the internet, while Fr. Guy Bognon, General Secretary of the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle (POSPA), who was in Benin, was in connection and sent a written contribution. 

Invited by the Prefect to be men of prayer, "in order to allow the Holy Spirit to fill them and inspire their action, as happened for the Servant of God Pauline Jaricot", foundress of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the National Directors of the PMS are called, in the Cardinal's words, to discern "the possibilities of action so that the whole work of the Church is oriented and animated in a missionary sense". The Prefect stressed that catechesis, liturgy, charity, families, lay aggregations, all pastoral areas "are themselves places and occasions for mission". Every National Director of the PMS "is called to collaborate with the Holy Spirit because the mission is at the heart of the identity of the Church". The economic aspect of collecting donations, he added, "is a real sign and commitment of missionary charity, which opens hearts to the needs of distant peoples". Cardinal Tagle concluded exhorting the PMS to collaborate actively and closely with the local Bishops and with the Episcopal Conferences in missionary work.

Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso joyfully recalled the recognition of the miracle attributed to the intercession of Pauline Jaricot, and recalled the next bicentenary of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, in 2022, announcing that the PMS will begin a journey of preparation at that event. The President of the PMS thanked the national Directors for their efforts in contributing to the special Fund set up by the Pope at the PMS for the pandemic emergency, and then in pointing out the needs of the local Churches. The search for offers is not simply fundraising "but it is a fruitful opportunity to grow in prayer and missionary animation", clarified the Archbishop who then reiterated that the Pope's recent Message to the Pontifical Mission Societies, published on 21 May, is the magisterial reference that will inspire the path and work of renewal of the PMS and the direction of their future.

The four PMS Secretaries, together with the President, underlined the importance of the PMS being fully inserted and integrated into the ordinary pastoral care of the individual local Churches, in all its forms and components, in order to inform and guide pastoral action in a missionary perspective, as an authentic "Church that goes forth".


Gratitude was expressed to Pope Francis for the message, rich in content, sent to the Pontifical Mission Societies on 21 May, Feast of the Ascension and the extensive and widespread work of awareness and missionary animation was remembered by the National Directors of the PMS, all over the world, on the occasion of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019.

The assembly also addressed the possible topics to be proposed to the Holy Father for the celebration of World Mission Sunday in 2021. The PMS Assembly then voted on the final balance sheet and approved the ordinary and extraordinary subsidies relating to the financing of projects in local Churches, under the jurisdiction of the Congregation.