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Pontifical Mission Societies gear up for 200th anniversary celebrations
Pope Francis incenses an image of Pauline Jaricot05 May 2021. The Pontifical Mission Societies begin preparations to mark the 200th anniversary of their foundation, which takes place on 3 May 2022.

By Vatican News staff writer


Preparations have begun for next year, when on 3 May 2022, the Pontifical Mission Societies (Missio) will mark the 200th anniversary of their official foundation as the "Association for the Propagation of the Faith". It also marks the 100th anniversary of the Motu Proprio Romanorum Pontificum, with which Pope Pius XI declared this a "Pontifical" society.

The Pontifical Mission Societies has begun preparing for the 2022 celebrations, looking back to the sources of their founding charism, which began with the laywoman Pauline Jaricot.

Pauline Jaricot

Born in Lyon, France, on 22 July 1799, Pauline Jaricot suffered a fall that caused her serious physical damage, and therefore a somewhat difficult growth.

But she felt the call to missionary life. On 3 May 1822, together with a group of lay people, she founded the association of the "Propagation of the Faith", approved by Pius VII in 1823.

Pauline devoted herself exclusively to serving the poor and the ill, visiting hospitals and the terminally-ill on a daily basis.

The aid she brought to those in need was accompanied by a life of intense prayer: she received the Eucharist daily, interceded for the conversion of sinners and the evangelisation of the world. 

She died in poverty in Lyon on 9 January 1862. On 25 February 1963, she was declared Venerable by St. John XXIII. On 26 May, 2020, Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to her intercession, thus paving the way for her beatification.

Missionaries around the world

Present in 130 countries, today Missio counts 354,000 missionaries, 3 million catechists, 114 dioceses in mission territory, and 150 million dollars allocated to pastoral and social projects.

All these resources are employed with the aim of supporting the Pope in his commitment to all the particular Churches, both in prayer, which is the soul of the mission, and in material aid to Christians around the world.

In 2020, the year marked by the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic Pope Francis established an Emergency Fund as part of Missio for the mission lands most affected by the coronavirus, with a starting donation of 750,000 dollars. The Pope himself, in May of last year, reminded Missio that mission is a free gift of the Spirit, not the outcome of strategies, and that being a missionary is a reflection of gratitude for what one has received.