The Holy See
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“Holiness is the Soul of Mission”  

"We missionaries often wonder why the work of the conversion of the non-Christian world goes so slowly. We usually give various reasons to explain this painful fact, and in truth the problem may be considered from many angles, some of which do not concern our responsibility. But for the part that does concern us, and it is the main part, the problem has a very clear solution. To save the world, God in his infinite wisdom wanted to have co-workers. God does his part well: do the people called to help him do their part equally well? 

Let us work in such a way that the whole Church, all Christian people, led by their bishops and clergy, truly feel the apostolic duty that is incumbent upon them to promote the propagation of the faith with every means. Let us work in such a way that that missionaries, the most direct instruments for the conversion of souls, are saints, and non-Christians will not be slow to be converted. 

The missionary problem has been, and still is almost ignored by the Christian people. Those who were interested in the past were always a minority, and it is extremely painful to see today too, although some progress has been made, how the enormous question is far from being understood and faced fully by clergy and people. It is extremely painful, because Catholic peoples would have more than enough energies to promote the work of evangelization more worthily if priests taught, organised and above all inflamed them with a greater spirit of faith and zeal... 

Missionaries, also from the human viewpoint, have been excellent people... but neither brilliance nor prudence, nor courage have made them great in our eyes and the eyes of God. They have been great, they have saved many souls, they have founded Churches, mainly because they were holy men, that is, spiritual men. This is the secret, the soul of their zeal, their perseverance and their success; this is the solemn teaching they have handed down to us and which I love to remind you of, so that our missionaries of today and those of tomorrow may always build upon it the first and essential reason for their own sanctification and the sanctification of the souls that are, and will be entrusted to them. 

You, missionaries in active service in the field, are particularly concerned with your part of cooperation. Therefore I say to you: be holy missionaries by following the footsteps of those great missionaries who went before you and, for the part that concerns you, your apostolic duty will have been done to the full. The souls the Lord in his merciful designs has entrusted to each one of you that you may lead them to salvation, will be saved and at the end of your days you will be able to say with the Divine Redeemer: “(Father) I kept those you had given me true to you name. I have watched over them and not one is lost” (Jn 17:12)." 

Ven. Paolo Manna – Superior General of the P.I.M.E. Founder of the Pontifical Missionary Union


Prayer (from the Manual of Prayers for P.I.M.E. Missionaries) 

Lord, you have called us to the apostolate with the witness of our life and the proclamation of the Gospel, may we contribute to the coming of your Kingdom in the nations to which you send us. Lord, you wish us to be missionaries in communion with the Churches that have given us the faith and richness of Christian life, keep us united to our bishops and to the people they guide, that together we may carry out the mission you have entrusted to us in their name. Lord, you wanted our parents and benefactors through their generosity and sacrifices to participate in our apostolic life, may they share the reward you have prepared for those who work for the coming of your Kingdom throughout the world. Merciful Lord, during their earthly life you assigned our deceased brethren the task of spreading your Word, may they receive the reward for their apostolate in the glory of heaven. AMEN.

Prepared by Pontifical University Urbaniana,
with the collaboration of the Missionary Institutes