PONTIFICAL MISSION SOCIETIES (PMS)

The Pontifical Mission are the Four Societies that promote and support Mission in the Church. They are a world a worldwide network of prayer and charity at the service of the Pope and the mission of the church. These societies were founded by different people at different times, in different places. The first three societies were made Pontifical in 1922 by Pope Pius X1 while the fourth was given the title Pontifical in 1956 by Pope Pius XII. The Four arms of the Pontifical Mission Societies have been given the responsibility by the Pope (hence the name ‘Pontifical’) to support the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the work of charity and social improvement around the world. The societies promote awareness, prayer, sacrifice and fundraising to support worldwide Catholic mission.

“The Church that lives in time is missionary by its very nature, insofar as it originates from the mission of the Son and from the mission of the Holy Spirit, according to the plan of God the Father” (Ad Gentes, 2).

This message is fundamental for the life of the Church.

From the understanding of the power of Baptism, which gives each baptized person communion with Christ and with our brothers and sisters, the desire to participate in the Church’s mission arises in us.

As a work of God in human history, mission is not a simple instrument but an event that prompts everyone to welcome and serve the Gospel. By virtue of this, the missionary mandate is expressed by each baptized in the witness of life, with the proclamation of the Gospel, with participation in the life of the local Churches, with the disposition to be a leaven of good where one lives, with dialogue. , the formation of consciences, the deepening of Christian values, closeness to the least and the tangible service of charity.

The Second Vatican Council affirms that under the name of missions are meant two activities: the proclamation of the Gospel and the establishment of new Churches (AG, 6). The charism of the Pontifical Mission Societies is placed in the broad vision of missio ad gentes and of the relationship between the local and universal Church.

The birth of the Pontifical Mission Societies has its origins from the Pentecost of the Spirit which, with its charisms, has made us understand and carry out Works for the Mission. Two women (Pauline Marie Jaricot, Jeanne Bigard), a Bishop (Charles de Forbin-Janson) and a priest (Fr. Paolo Manna) became the charismatic founders of a great movement for missionary cooperation in the Church.

The Pontifical Mission Societies have four arms:

  1. Propagation of Faith

  2. Holy Childhood Association

  3. Peter the Apostle

  4. Pontifical Missionary Union

  1.  Propagation Missionary Union (POF)

The Pontifical Society of the Propagation of the Faith (POF) was founded in Lyons, France, in 1822 by a French Lady, called Pauline Marie Jaricot (1799-1862). It aims at forming a Catholic conscience in the faithful and promoting their commitment of outreach to the world. The association is responsible for building new churches and providing pastoral care to young faith communities. It also supports new and emerging churches especially where poverty is most severe. The apex of the celebration of this society is the World Mission Sunday which comes up on the last but one Sunday in October every year. Under this society, we have the Young Missionary Movement of Nigeria (YOMM).

2. Holy Childhood Association (HCA)

The HCA was founded in Paris, France, on May 9, 1843, by Bishop Charles Forbin-Jason, the Bishop of Nancy. The Society aims at creating a movement of Christian children committed to helping other children throughout the world. Hence their motto is “CHILDREN HELPING CHILDREN.” Through this society, children are imbued with a universal missionary spirit. It is for children between the ages of three (3) years to fourteen (14) years. The society contributes towards practical initiatives of assistance, which is made more effective if carried out in close cooperation with local Churches and in harmony with families, parishes, and schools.

  1. Peter the Apostle (SPA)

This Society was founded in Caen, France, by Jeanne and Stephanie Bigard in 1889. SPA sensitizes all Christian people on the shortage of the local clergy and religious, particularly in mission lands. Besides helping the local clergy, the society of St. Peter the Apostle also provides scholarships to priests and religious. It runs a pension fund scheme for retired Diocesan priests in many parts of the world. It provides material assistance to religious men and women in their initial period of formation and also in a limited way, their post-graduate studies. Through its funds, SPA is able to train more than thirty thousand (30,000) seminarians and ten thousand religious’ sisters around the world. The major celebration of SPA is Good Shepherd or Vocations’ Sunday that comes up on the 4th Sunday of Easter every year.

4. Pontifical Missionary Union (PMU)

The Missionary Union, being the last, is the soul of all the other three Societies. It was founded by Fr. Paolo Manna in 1916. According to the PMS statutes, the PMU “sets itself out to re-awaken apostolic zeal among its members and through them, in all Christian people…. It animates the people of God by making clear their missionary duty; it is the spiritual force aimed at the conversion of the world”12.

The PMU is not a fundraising organization but of recent committed to advancing the understanding and dedication of all to the church’s mission, through their subsidies for the on-going formation of Priests, Religious and lay faithful.

HOW THE PONTIFICAL MISSSION SOCIETIES IS ORGANIZED IN NIGERIA

The first step of the organization centers in the parish. Each parish has a PMS Committee whose work is to coordinate all the PMS activities in the Parish. From there, it steps down to stations and wards where similar committees function, according to the need of each area. For the Holy Childhood, it moves into schools, giving every child the opportunity to participate in the school based HCA.

The second step is the Diocesan level. Here, it is headed by diocesan director appointed by the diocesan Bishop. The Director works with a Council and may establish committees at the Zonal or deanery levels for more effective animation and coordination.

The third step is the provincial level. Each of the nine Ecclesiastical Provinces in Nigeria has a provincial PMS Council made up of the Diocesan Directors and a few others. At the National level, it is head by the National Director appointed by Rome on the recommendation of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria. He works with PMS National Council made up of all the Diocesan Directors and Secretaries of the four arms of the PMS. In addition, each of the four arms of the PMS has a working committee headed by the secretary of that committee.

The Holy Childhood has the meeting of all diocesan coordinators which assists the Secretary and the Director in the planning and execution of the HCA programs.

The PMS work in close collaboration with the National Missionary Council of Nigeria, of the Department of Mission and Dialogue (CSN), Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). The Bishop Chairman of this department is the “eye” of the CBCN at the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS).

STAFF OF PMS NATIONAL OFFICE

  1. Fr. Solomon Patrick Zaku: PMS National Director. A priest from the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri. Appointed as PMS Director on 25th February, 2020. The National director Directs and promotes the Pontifical Mission Societies. He coordinates the functioning of all in the societies in different Dioceses in the Country.
  2. Dominic Iorbee: The PMS Accountant
  3. Anthonia Ogbeifun: The Administrative Secretary PMS
  4. Godwin Efu: Communications Officer I
  5. Peter Adubi: Communication Officer II
  6. Miss Blessing Gabriel: The Receptionist

Recommendation:

  • On the Primary content of the App. Where you have Home, About, CSN/CBCN etc.

under CSN.

  • About CSN
  • Administrative Board
  • Departments (after department there should be Agencies where you can add the agencies in CSN before Bishop Chairman).
  • Bishop Chairman
  • The Secretary General suggested that the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) should stand on it own, creating a separate link for it in the Primary content.
  • The App. Should remain nigeriacatholicnetworks.com
  • Our Bishop Chairman is Most Rev. Bulus Yohanna; Bishop of Kontangora Diocese.
  • Thank you very much Fr. For the wonderful and creative work, you are doing for the Nigeria Catholic Community bravo.