The Missionary Union is often referred to as the heart and soul of the Pontifical Mission Societies. In 1916, 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 Gospel of Christ to others. He wanted to encourage those already engaged in the work of the Church to support the work of the missions – and perhaps to become missionaries themselves.He recognized that if priests and bishops did not understand their missionary role, missions would only be the work of too few in the Church. And so, he formed the Missionary Union of the Clergy. Later, this association was renamed the Missionary Union of the Clergy, Men and Women Religious and the Consecrated Laity.
Today, this spiritual apostolate started by Blessed Manna 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. 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 of these men and women to witness and share their faith with so many more.
From the International Secretariats www.ppoomm.va, the Pontifical Missionary Union wants to:
- promote missionary awareness among seminarians, priests and religious;
- animate all the animators of the People of God for the Mission (RM 84) spreading and promoting the other PMS;
- favor the union of Christians so “that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me...” (Jn 17:23);
- put the whole Church “in a state of mission”;
- meditate on Holy Scripture to understand God's plan of universal salvation and know the missionary nature of his Church;
- read and study the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Popes' missionary encyclicals;
- see one's personal history and that of one's Church in a world perspective in order to think and act on the universal level;
- pray “the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Mt 9:37-38).