Father Andrew Small, OMI, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, presents Pope Francis with a gift in honor of the launch of MISSIO in 2015.
The Pontifical Mission Societies provide for a global network of people who are making the difference for the poor and forgotten. Young Pauline Jaricot learned about the Missions of her day from letters from missionaries. She decided to do something to help their work, right from her home in Lyons, France. Pauline gathered her friends and workers in the local silk factory into small groups. Everyone in the group pledged to pray for the Missions daily and to offer the equivalent of a penny each week. Each group member then found ten other friends to do the same. Within a year, she had 500 workers praying daily and offering help each week.
Pauline's efforts became The Society for the Propagation of the Faith. The first collections supported the missions of China and the United States. By 1922, The Society for the Propagation of the Faith – and three other societies established to help the Missions – became Pontifical, or the Popes official ways to help the Missions, moving their headquarters to Rome.
In the first 100 years of its existence, The Society for the Propagation of the Faith sent $7 million to help what was then the young church in the United States. Catholics here started contributing in 1833, with a gift of $6. Today, U.S. Catholics provide 25 percent of the support sent to mission territories that cover more than half the globe, with a majority of that help provided to Africa and Asia.
With MISSIO, today's technology meets the Church's age-old mission of helping others, delivering direct and immediate access to those making a difference in the world's most vulnerable communities. MISSIO places Pauline Jaricot's inspired crowdfunding idea into an extensive online platform with the ability to reach more people and develop relationships across borders of distance and language.
You might come to MISSIO to donate, but MISSIO offers you more: the connection to others whose daily lives might be very different from yours. As Pope Francis suggests, the culture of encounter means not just seeing, but looking; not just hearing, but listening; not just passing people by, but stopping with them; not just saying, "what a shame, poor people!" but allowing yourself to be moved with compassion.