Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions

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The Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (from the Latin Pontificium Institutum Missionum Exterarum) is a society of secular priests and lay people who dedicate their lives to missionary activities in: Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Hong Kong, India, Ivory Coast, Japan, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Thailand.

Independently founded in Milan in 1850 and Rome in 1874 as a group of missionary-style diocesan priests and seminarians, these two seminaries were merged and officially recognized as PIME in 1926 by Pope Pius XI. PIME supports more than 500 missionaries in 18 countries and is headquartered in Rome. The institute opened its North American Regional headquarters in Detroit in 1947 at the invitation of then Detroit Archbishop Cardinal Edward Mooney.

The North American Region focuses its efforts by being at the service of the Church, both locally and globally. The members of PIME minister in local parishes, fostering vocations, mission awareness and financial assistance to their missions and missionaries around the World. PIME has built more than 2,000 churches and chapels and either operates or supports many hospitals and clinics, schools, orphanages and shelters. Among the programs offered by PIME are:

  • Chapel Building
  • Foster Parents - Adoptions at a Distance[1]
  • Masses
  • Missionary Medical Relief
  • Native Seminarians Program
  • Special Appeals
  • Special Projects
  • Vocations

On Monday, December 9, 2013, at the Vatican, Pope Francis, in an audience with the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Angelo Cardinal Amato, S.D.B., among the other individuals whose causes he authorized for advancement, gave his assent to the declaration of martyrdom of the Servant of God Father Mario Vergara, a professed priest of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (meaning he could now be beatified, even without a first miracle or a declaration of heroic virtue, which must otherwise be verified for those who are not Catholic martyrs without extraordinary intervention from the Pope), and the martyrdom of the Servant of God Isidore Ngei Ko Lat, a layperson member of the Pontifical Institute serving as a catechist (who could also be beatified without those usual prerequisites). They were both killed out of hatred for the faith in Shadaw, Myanmar (formerly, Burma; the Vatican's news release does not explicitly indicate whether they were companions, or whether they were killed at the same time).[2]

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