PONTIFICAL MISSIONARY UNION
The Missionary Union, the soul of the other Mission Societies, is an association of the clergy, men and women religious and laypersons which proposes to arouse the passion for the mission in the Church, contribute to missionary formation, and encourage the Christian communities to cooperate and take active part in Evangelization.
In 1916, Blessed Father Paolo Manna, a PIME missionary serving in Myanmar (then called Burma), envisioned an organization that would help him to share the spiritual graces he had received through his work in bringing the “Good News” of Christ to others. He wanted to encourage those already engaged in the work of the Church to support the work of the mission — and perhaps to become missionaries themselves. And so, he formed the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious.
Committed to support and put the Church in a position to carry out her evangelization task with more missionaries, the indigenous clergy and committed laypersons, the PMU was born in 1916 in Italy. Pope Benedict XV in his Encyclical Maximum Illud (November 30, 1919) publicly praised the Union and officially recommended it to the entire clergy. And with the Decree of October 28, 1956, Pius XII gave the Union the title of “pontifical” and later renamed it the “Pontifical Missionary Union of the Clergy, Men and Women Religious and the Consecrated Laity”.
Convinced that until priests and bishops were converted to the missionary idea, the missions would continue to be entrusted to just a handful of missionaries who were absolutely insufficient for the Church’s universal mission. The following are its objectives:
- To stimulate missionary formation and awareness among priests, members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic life, aonsecrated laity, candidates of priesthood and religious life in all its forms, as well as other persons engaged in the pastoral ministry of the Church.
- The success of the other societies depends to a large extent on the validity of the Pontifical Missionary Union which is the “soul of the other Pontifical Mission Societies.”
Today, this spiritual apostolate started by this Italian missionary continues to address itself to those called to bring Catholics to a better understanding of their baptismal responsibility for the church’s missionary work — to priests, religious, seminarians, pastoral leaders and those engaged in catechesis and religious education.
In fact, the success of the efforts of the three other missionary societies is linked to the vitality of the Missionary Union, because it is through this work that the missionary spirit –– a
spirit of prayer and generous sacrifice – is developed and nurtured. Animators inspiring other animators to carry out the baptismal mandate to “go to all nations and proclaim the Good News” is what inspires so many men and women, religious and lay to witness and share their faith with so many more.