In a video message, Francis tells assembly that the "societies guarantee the equitable distribution of aid in the name of the Pope, so that all Churches in the world have a minimum of assistance for evangelisation, the sacraments, their own priests, seminaries, pastoral work, and catechists.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis released a video message in connection with the General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) that opened today until 2 June in Fraterna Domus in Sacrofano, Rome.
For almost 200 years, the PMS have offered "support to missionaries who evangelise, especially support with prayer, so that the Holy Spirit may be present" because "it is Him who advances evangelisation".
"From the earliest times,” said the pontiff, “mutual support among local Churches, committed to proclaiming and bearing witness to the Gospel, has been a sign of the universal Church. In fact, the mission, animated by the Spirit of the Risen Lord, has broadened the spaces of faith and charity to the ends of the earth."
"In the 19th century the proclamation of Christ received a new impulse from the foundation of the Mission Societies, with the specific purpose of praying and acting concretely to support evangelisation in the new territories.
"These societies were recognised as pontifical by Pope Pius XI, who in so doing wanted to underline how the mission of the Church towards all nations was very dear to the Successor of Peter. And it is still so! The Pontifical Mission Societies continue today this important service started almost 200 years ago. They are present in 120 countries with national directors, coordinated by international secretariats at the Holy See."
"Why are the Pontifical Mission Societies important? Above all, they are important because we must pray for the men and women missionaries, for the evangelising action of the Church. Prayer is the first 'missionary work' – the first! – that every Christian can and must do, and is also the most effective, even if this cannot be measured.
"In fact, the principal agent of evangelisation is the Holy Spirit, and we are called to collaborate with Him. Moreover, these societies guarantee the equitable distribution of aid in the name of the Pope, so that all Churches in the world have a minimum of assistance for evangelisation, the sacraments, their own priests, seminaries, pastoral work, and catechists.
"Support for missionaries who evangelise, especially support with prayer, so that the Holy Spirit may be present! It is He who advances evangelisation. Therefore, I encourage everyone to collaborate in our common task of proclaiming the Gospel and supporting the young Churches through the work of the Mission Societies. Thus, in every nation, the Church continues to open herself to everyone and to joyfully proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world. A heartfelt thank to all of you!”