Pope John Paul II
reviews historic new website
of Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States
New website launched to inform,
inspire and direct the faithful
ROME, Italy - As the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States
(Society for the
Propagation of the Faith, Holy Childhood Association, Society of St. Peter
Union of Priests and Religious) launched its new website February 21, while some
directors and coordinators of these Societies gathered for their annual mission
meeting in Rome, Italy, Pope John Paul II reviewed this new site designed to
faithful to a better understanding of their call to be missionary.
Also reviewing the historic first-ever website for this family of mission
- were Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the
Evangelization of Peoples, and Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith,
international president, as well as the Secretaries General of these mission
Present as well - and a vital part of this mission meeting - was Bishop Gregory
Aymond of Austin, chair of the U.S. Bishops' World Mission Committee.
At a separate session during this annual meeting in Rome, U.S. mission directors
coordinators reviewed the site, along with a plan to make it known among bishops,
priests, Religious educators, parish leaders and the faithful in general back at
"This is one of the most significant events in our organization's history,"
John E. Kozar, national director of the
Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States.
"Just as Archbishop Sheen had television - making the story and message of
Missions known through that then-new medium - today our medium is the Internet,
and we have a story to tell and a way to tell it compellingly. That is why we
necessary to establish a strong presence on the worldwide web and to develop a
would inform, inspire and direct the faithful to a greater understanding of the
mission of the Catholic Church." The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen served
director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith from 1951 to 1966.
"There is something for everyone on this site," explained Father Kozar,
visitors - young and old - will discover how they can be or are already
"Bishops and priests can find out more about the Missions to help the
celebrate World Mission Sunday," he continued. "Educators can find
ways to encourage
the missionary spirit among the youngest missionaries, our children."
The new site features information about this "family" of mission
societies, defining and
distinguishing the particular nature and focus of each with regard to support
Church's mission among two-thirds of the human family. "We took great care
that when people visit our website they feel welcome - and see themselves as
our 'one family in mission,'" said Father Kozar, underscoring the thematic
link of the
The home pages - one for each of the four Societies and one for the Pontifical
Societies as a "family" - includes easy-to-navigate links to diocesan
mission offices in
the United States, as well as to the national office. In addition, the site
features links to
the "extended family" - the Vatican, the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Committee on World Mission, and International Fides Service, the mission news
the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Also included for each of
Societies are stories from the Missions, noting the help made possible through
generosity of Catholics here and throughout the world.
Father Kozar emphasized that this family of mission societies sees this site as
organism," constantly growing and changing to present the mission story and
the missionary spirit in the most dynamic way possible. A particular emphasis
placed on reaching children with the message that "they are missionaries
"Nothing, however, will ever replace human contact and while we see this as
a way to
inform and inspire," he explained, "we see it also a means to direct
visitors to their
parish priests, religious educators, diocesan mission directors and parents to
about how to be a missionary."
The Pontifical Mission Societies annual meeting brings together those engaged in
work of animating the missionary spirit and encouraging prayer and sacrifice in
of more than 1,100 mission dioceses. This year's meeting, February 17 to 23 in
"takes place in the context of a pilgrimage," said Father Kozar.
"We travel together as
missionaries seeking to better determine what God will have us do in this
ministry that we share. And what better place to do this than in the Eternal
Rome, the center of our faith, the missionary 'headquarters' of our work."
The Pontifical Mission Societies, active in some 120 countries throughout the
world, work to animate the faithful to a universal missionary spirit, and to
gather support for the efforts of the Church in some 1,100 mission dioceses in
Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and remote regions of Latin America.
The four Pontifical Mission Societies are:
Childhood Association directs its efforts to elementary school
children, while the Society for the Propagation of the
Faith seeks prayer and support for pastoral and evangelizing programs
of mission dioceses from high school and college students, and adults. The
Propagation of the Faith provides assistance to the Church in Africa, Asia, the
islands of the Pacific and remote regions of Latin America, including aid for
the education and support of seminarians, Religious novices and lay catechists;
for the work of Religious Communities in education, health care and social
services, and for communication and transportation needs. The
Society of St. Peter Apostle is concerned with gathering help for
seminarians and Religious novices in the Missions. The Missionary
Union of Priests and Religious is a spiritual apostolate, working on
formation in the missionary spirit among those called to animate all the
faithful in this essential work.