The Catholic and Christian missions, get to know them

In a world where empathy and charity are still lacking, what are missions and what role do they play?

Well, many of these organizations seek to alleviate suffering and bring the message of Christ to the vulnerable places of the world.

If you want to know a little more about the missions, continue reading this article.

What are missions?

Coming from the Latin term missĭo, this word has different uses recognized by the Royal Spanish Academy.

Among the most used we find that it is the capacity or attribution that is given to an individual to carry out some task.

It is also defined as an assignment, function or task that must be fulfilled.

We can find cultural, diplomatic, business, religious missions, among others.

What are Catholic missions?

It is known as missions that project of the church that focuses on evangelizing all peoples and carrying out humanitarian activities or social work.

Generally, the religious mission seeks to reach low-income and/or difficult-to-reach communities, to bring the good news of Christ.

In the places and territories where this mission is beginning, the presence of the missionaries and the economic help of the Church in general are required.

Missions and the spread of the message of Christ

Only at the end of the sixth century can we begin to speak of missions as organized attempts to spread the Christian faith: it was Pope Gregory the Great who brought the missionary movement to life by sending a group of monks to England.

In the following centuries, evangelization was entrusted to various religious orders: Dominicans, Franciscans, Capuchins and Jesuits.

The first missionaries who landed in 596, began the evangelization of the Germanic peoples.

A different and more coherent phase of the Christian missions begins only in the thirteenth century, which was then when the different religious orders began to organize schools to train clerics in charge of spreading the message of Christ.

The discovery and direct colonization of territories in the Americas, but also in Africa and Asia, gave a strong impetus to missionary activity.

Evangelization was entrusted to regular orders: Franciscans, Dominicans, Capuchins, etc., who played a fundamental role in denouncing the violence that characterized the work of the colonizers.

The Spaniard Bartolomé de Las Casas, author of a brief report on the destruction of the Indies, was the most important of these missionaries and with his work he managed, among other things, to ensure that the Indians were recognized for having a soul.

The Jesuit order, founded by Ignatius of Loyola and recognized by the Church in 1540, opened up new perspectives. The Jesuits considered themselves missionaries at the service of the Pope to spread the word of Christ.

To this end, they organized their own educational system for young noblemen and scions of the ruling classes. Active on the home front, the Jesuits were also present in colonial realities.

In South America they developed a new model of colonial organization, more respectful of the rights of the Indians, an experience that brought them face to face with the Spanish and Portuguese monarchies, who were not inclined to tolerate alternative models to their own.

In the 16th century, missionary activity was intense throughout the world, the missionaries acted together with the parish priests, extending the territory of the mission.

The establishment of new religious congregations like that of the Lazarists, the Redemptorists, gave new meanings to this type of mission.

In 1919, after the devastations of World War I, Pope Benedict XV redefined missionary activity in an encyclical.

Any nationalistic intention was prohibited: the missionaries had to train the local clergy and dedicate themselves to assistance.

In 1923 the first Indian bishop was ordained and in 1926 the first six of Chinese origin.

After the end of the Second World War in 1945, the general situation changed radically due to the elimination of the colonial domains in Africa and Asia.

In developing countries, local churches were created in which a new type of missionary activity developed.

The new missions were characterized by an ecumenical spirit, that is, by openness to all countries and by emphasizing the humanitarian character of missionary activities.

Alongside the churches were hospitals, schools, reception and training centers.

After adapting to the needs of peoples in constant change, Christian missions are still active today, in all countries but especially in the poorest on the planet.

Pontifical Mission Societies

The Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) is an organization belonging to the Catholic Church, which is responsible for providing the support and protection required to the different Catholic missions and the missionaries responsible for them.

The figure responsible for these works is the Pope, making use of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which is concerned with the protection of the PMS and the 1,115 mission territories.

Some of these works and associations of a universal nature, in charge of supporting and collaborating with the missions are four:

The Work Propagation of the Faith, the Work of Saint Peter the Apostle, the Work of Missionary Childhood and the Pontifical Missionary Union.

Propagation of the Faith

This pontifical missionary work known as the Propagation of the Faith had its origin in Lyon, France, in the year 1820.

Started by the young María Paulina Jaricot and the workers who worked in the fabric factory owned by her family.

It began as an association, which met on Fridays to pray, and also offered their help and support to the seminarians of the Institute of Foreign Missions.

Work of Saint Peter the Apostle

It is dedicated to providing financial support, mainly, to the various vocations that arise in the mission areas so that they can carry out their training, whether for the priesthood or the consecrated life.

Missionary Childhood

It was founded in 1843, by Monsignor Carlos Augusto de Forbin-Janson, who served as Bishop of Nancy, in France.

Missionary Childhood and Adolescence have as their main objective to awaken missionary awareness, promoting charity with other children and adolescents worldwide.

Pontifical Missionary Union

The work was founded in 1916 in Milan, Italy by the priest Pablo Manna.

Its objective is to provide missionary training to those who are responsible for this type of work, for example bishops, priests, nuns, pastoral agents, etc.


DOMUND is the day dedicated to prayer for the missionaries and to collecting aid for the missions.

It is celebrated worldwide on the penultimate Sunday of October, however this month is dedicated entirely to missions.

What are cultural missions?

They are called extra-curricular assistance plan, which aim to promote improvement or progress in the economic, cultural and social spheres of suburban or rural communities.

This type of mission focuses on training in the area of ​​arts and crafts, so that it is much easier to access the labor field.

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