Pontifical Mission Society Supports 80,000 Seminarians

Africa and Asia Receive Most Aid, Reveals 2004 Report

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LYON, France, MAY 17, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Pontifical Mission Society supported the formation of 80,297 seminarians in mission territories in 2004, reported the society’s general assembly.

Monsignor José A. S. Gálvez, secretary-general of St. Peter Apostle, one of the four Pontifical Mission Societies, reported on the help they give seminarians in mission territories at the society’s annual general assembly, which closed Friday in Lyon, France.

The 80,297 seminarians who benefited in 2004 from the help of St. Peter Apostle reside in 924 seminaries: 516 major, 101 propaedeutic and 307 minor.

The society, which was founded to support the formation of local clergy in mission territories, helps to pay for the students’ upkeep and academic formation, as well as repair work on college buildings, and construction of new seminaries.

The society receives money from national collections on the part of Pontifical Mission Societies from all over the world, and also through their adopt-a-seminarian program.

The society helped 51,622 seminarians in Africa, 20,829 in Asia, 930 in Oceania and 6,916 in America and Europe.

In addition to supporting the formation of clergy, St. Peter Apostle also contributes to the formation of novices belonging to religious congregations in mission territories.

Last year it provided funds for the formation of 3,379 men novices and 6,556 women novices, thanks to donations from Catholics worldwide sent to the Pontifical Mission Societies’ International Solidarity Fund.

The Pontifical Mission Society of Holy Childhood, dedicated to help children learn about Jesus and to live a life of dignity, allocated funds to some 3,000 selected projects presented by bishops, parish priests, religious congregations, and other Catholic institutions operating in mission territories, according to the report presented by Father Patrick Byrne, the society’s secretary-general.

Catholic primary schools, the principal place for evangelization in countries where Christians are a minority, received most of the funds assigned by Holy Childhood, either for building new schools, repairing and restructuring existing schools, or buying food and teaching materials.

The society of Holy Childhood also supported pro-life projects such as homes for orphaned, abandoned children, or street children, and single-mother care facilities, and Catholic education projects that, among other things, built classrooms for teaching catechism and published religious books.

The society dedicated to children gave 52% of all aid to Africa, 40% to Asia, and the rest to South America and Oceania.

From its emergency fund, Holy Childhood sent aid to meet the needs of children suffering because of national disasters or sudden tragedies in Sudan, Uganda, Haiti, Peru, Iraq and Mongolia.

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