The Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) is currently meeting in Rome for their annual Assembly. The group, which consists of various missionary societies under the jurisdiction of the Holy See, work in areas where the Catholic Church is new or poor. The societies included are the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of St. Peter the Apostle, the Missionary Childhood Association and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. 150 directors from all over the world are present at the assembly.
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, addressed the opening of the assembly, acknowledged the efforts of the PMS in areas where there are “dramatic situations of persecution, poverty, violence, conflict and marginalization of their Countries.” The cardinal also stated that such situations can produce consequences in the effective action of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
According to Fides News Agency, Cardinal Filoni reminded participants of the role of the PMS to be a “service structure” for the missions in each country.
“It is necessary,” Cardinal Filoni told participants, “to review the methods of evangelization, to study how to bring the Christian message to modern man, where he can find the answer to his questions and the energy for his commitment of human solidarity.”
“What should prompt us in our missionary activity is faith. A re-appropriation of evangelical radicalism is necessary for our apostolic activity to be fruitful and recognized as Missio Dei.”
The Work of the New Evangelization
Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, the current president of the Pontifical Mission Societies, spoke to the directors present, saying that the work of the PMS “urges me and you to keep [our] eyes and heart open on vast horizons of the Missio ad Gentes”
“The PMS are a service to be lived together, in communion, a ‘joint venture’, the work of God and ours, of missionary cooperation,” Archbishop Rugambwa said.
The African prelate stated that there is a need for a renewal in the missionary of the Churches “of ancient tradition”, adding that this renewal is one of the main tasks of the PMS.
“To us,” he said, “the Pontifical Mission Societies, is entrusted the task of inserting missionary animation as a key element in the ordinary pastoral: in parishes, associations and groups, especially youth.”
The Pontifical Mission Societies have reason to exist only if they jealously guard their specificity: animation, formation, cooperation with the local Churches for the Missio ad Gentes.
Archbishop Rugambwa also reminded the directors that the work of the PMS is not collect funds for emerging countries, but have a different charism.
“What characterizes our service is the first evangelization, its characteristic of universality,” the archbishop said.