Pontifical Mission Societies
The Pontifical Mission Societies, known in some countries as Missio, is the name of a group of Catholic missionary societies that are under the canonical jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope). These organizations include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of St. Peter the Apostle, the Holy Childhood Association and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious.
Since 1922, Missio has been the Catholic Church’s official support organisation for overseas mission.
The Pope specifically asks the Pontifical Mission Societies to help bring the messages of Christ to the world, especially in countries where Christianity is new, young or poor. The societies care for and support the younger churches until they are able to be self-sufficient.
Missio raises awareness and fosters prayer and cooperation in the whole Catholic Church, with 120 offices worldwide, it is the only organisation which supports every one of the 1,069 mission dioceses of the world. Missio exists through the generosity of Catholics and plays a crucial role in combating poverty, disease, injustice and exploitation.
In March 2011, the Reverend Andrew Small, OMI, was appointed by the Holy See as the National Director for the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States. In August 2013, Father Small travelled to Lisieux to collect the writing desk (the écritoire) of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, on which she wrote the spiritual classic Story of a Soul. The Pontifical Mission Societies are sponsoring a tour of the desk in the United States from August to October 2013.
On June 26, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Protase Rugambwa, who until then had been serving as Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kigoma (based in Kigoma, Tanzania; he had been named bishop there on January 18, 2008), as the Deputy Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and as President of the Pontifical Mission Societies, naming him an Archbishop. He succeeds Archbishop Piergiuseppe Vacchelli, Titular Archbishop of Minturno, who had reached the age limit of 75 at which all Catholic bishops must offer to retire.
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