Pontifical Missionary Societies become 'Missio'

The Pontifical Mission Societies in England & Wales have change their name to Missio today.The announcement was made following a Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, and a reception at their London headquarters.

The new name 'Missio' symbolises unity in faith and mission, overseeing the support given to every one of the 1,069 mission dioceses in the world through an effective collection of funds and support according to its specific needs. These include supporting 194,855 schools, 5,246 hospitals, 17,530 dispensaries, 577 leprosy centres and 80,560 social and pastoral projects worldwide. Funds collected in each diocese of England & Wales are sent directly to local bishops in the mission territories.

Despite the name change, its mission remains unchanged. For more than 70 years the words:  'To be a Christian is to be a missionary' have familiar to people in England and Wales as they supported the missions through the Red Boxes in over 200,000 homes.

Pope Benedict XVI drew attention to the importance of mission and the work of Missio in his message for World Mission Sunday last year.

"By looking at St Paul's experience, we understand that missionary activity is a response to the love with which God loves us. His love redeems us and prods us to the missio ad gentes. It is the spiritual energy that can make the harmony, justice and communion grow among persons, races and peoples to which everyone aspires.

"I cannot fail to point out with sincere appreciation the contribution of the Pontifical Mission Societies to the Church's evangelizing activity. I thank them for the support they offer to all the Communities, especially the young ones. They are a valid instrument for animating and forming the People of God from a missionary viewpoint, and they nurture the communion of persons and goods between the different parts of the Mystical Body of Christ."

In England and Wales, the Pontifical Mission Societies are best known through the activities of the Association for the Propagation of the Faith (APF), the Society of St Peter the Apostle (SPA) and Mission Together (Holy Childhood).

Mgr John Dale, who heads  Missio in England and Wales, explained the thinking behind the re-launch.

"As a symbol of unity in faith and mission, several of the European offices have chosen to share a single name, Missio, a word that is simple and easily recognisable in many languages," he said. "Missio, from the Latin 'sending out', also expresses commitment to the God-given mission of the Church.

"This change of name, which will be adopted in September, has been approved and welcomed by the Bishops of England and Wales. Its logo shows the Cross at the centre of its service to the Gospel. The new motto 'Sharing faith, giving life' expresses Missio's vital commitment to serving the Church, especially where the Church is young or poor."

Share this story