Thursday, 10 September 2009

Sent out to the World - Missio Re-Launch

Yesterday evening in Westminster Cathedral representatives of the hundreds of thousands of people who have given so generously to the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) over the course of several lifetimes travelled to Westminster Cathedral from across England and Wales. They joined by Archbishop Vincent Nichols who celebrated Mass to mark the launch of the new name of Missio for PMS in England and Wales.

They were also there many from A&B including Canon Brendan McCarthy who was until recently the Director of PMS in the diocese. Canon McCarthy at the end of Mass read a congratulatory message from Cardinal Dias the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. He reminded us of the words of Cardinal Vaughan who said that as the Church in England and Wales we must reach out "to the people most abandonded and poorest in the means of grace."

Fr Richard Biggerstaff, parish priest of Lewes (pictured below) has this year taken over this role from Canon McCarthy and is hoping for the continued support of the people of the diocese for the work of Missio and in particular the APF Red Boxes. The new name Missio expresses a renewed commitment to overseas mission. For over 70 years ‘To be a Christian is to be a missionary’ has been a familiar theme to people in England and Wales as they supported the missions through Association for the Propagation of the Faith (APF) and its Red Boxes, currently present in over 200,000 homes across the two countries. Countless people have helped innumerable individuals and communities in young and developing Churches through this very simple means of fundraising. This was shown during August when Mgr John Dale, the National Director of Missio in England and Wales disbursed almost £3 million from the parishes and from individual generosity, through the Papal Nuncios in the world’s mission areas, to the poorest, youngest and most needy Churches in our universal family.

Missio is a name already used by PMS across much of Europe, recognising and symbolising in the Church's unity as it shares faith, and builds lives and communities in each of the world’s 1,069 mission dioceses, where, in the rapidly-expanding Church in Africa and Asia, young churches often face extreme difficulties.

Missio consists of 4 organisations grouped together: The Association for the Propagation of the Faith (APF) which assists each and every one of the Catholic Church's 1,062 mission dioceses and territories to provide pastoral care and preach the Gospel effectively.
The Society of Peter Apostle which is the Church’s official fundraising body for the training of clergy and religious in mission countries.
Mission Together which under its original name of Holy Childhood, Mission Together has been active in Catholic schools for over a hundred and sixty years.
And finally The Pontifical Missionary Union (PMU) which aims to promote an awareness of mission and a spirit of unity, prayer and generous sacrifice among priests, religious and laity.

Many of those who attended were from other agencies of the Church who support poor communities overseas from CAFOD, Mill Hill and elsewhere.
For more photos of the event including a picture of Canon McCarthy read the Prefect's letter go to

Left: Mgr John Dale, Director of Missio England and Wales chatting with CAFOD Director, Chris Bain.

Jesus said 'All authorty in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations'. (Mt 28:19)

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