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 "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 missions – and perhaps to become missionaries themselves. And so, he formed the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious.
Today, this spiritual apostolate started by Father 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.
Spreading the Good News
How do we spread the Good News about the missions in the Archdiocese of St. Louis?
- In September 2005, we sent copies of the recently published document of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called Teaching the Spirit of Mission Ad Gentes: Continuing Pentecost Today. Copies were sent to all priests, deacons, principals, and mission/service moderators in each elementary school and high school of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
- Rev. Timothy J. Noelker, our Director, as well as various other mission speakers, are available to do presentations on the missions for Catholic elementary schools, PSR programs, high schools, and other venues of Catholic organizations. To find out more or to schedule a presentation, please contact us at 314-792-7655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Select years, we hold a St. Louis Mission Congress - a half-day workshop filled with opportunities for those involved in mission in the Archdiocese to come together, share, and reflect.
- We utilize our website, Facebook and Twitter to share real-life stories and photos from the missions.
World Day of the Sick
Each year, on February 11, the Church celebrates the "World Day of the Sick." On this day in particular, we focus on the redemptive value of human suffering and on the important role of those who are sick in the work of spreading the Gospel. The experience of sickness and suffering can become a school of hope, maturity and union with Christ, and benefit the whole Church, Benedict XVI said in his message for the 18th World Day of the Sick, which was celebrated on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11, 2010, and coincided with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry.
Whether your cross is your own illness, loneliness or pain, or that of a loved one, you have a special bond with Christ Crucified and also with the suffering people of the Missions and those who serve them. As you pray and offer your crosses, in union with Christ, as you pray and sacrifice on behalf of all who serve in the missionary work of the Church, may God in his mercy bless you with peace.
The pull of the call to be a missionary is great. The British lay volunteer in the above photo works with the Missionaries of Charity in India. He left a promising career in banking to dedicate himself to those most in need of a representative of Christ's love and care. The Sisters have taught him how to bathe the ill and how to dress their wounds. More importantly, they have taught him how to be a presence to the most forgotten and lonely. This young man and many other faith-filled lay missionaries stay with the dying to the very end. They pray with them and help them to die so that they may live in the fullness of life in the Lord.