By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis released a video message on Monday appealing for Christians around the world to support the important work of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
Holy Spirit is principle agent of evangelization
“Prayer is the first “missionary work” – the first! – that every Christian can and must do,” he said.
He said spiritual support is the most effective way to aid the missions, “even if this cannot be measured.”
“The principal agent of evangelization is the Holy Spirit. And we are called to collaborate with Him.”
The Pope said the Mission Societies are important “because we must pray for missionaries and for the evangelizing action of the Church.”
Mission Societies support local Churches
Pope Francis also described the work of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
“In the Pope’s name, these Societies ensure a fair distribution of aid, so that all the world’s Churches have at least the minimum required for evangelization, for the sacraments, for their priests, for seminaries, for pastoral work, and for catechists,” he said.
He said they support evangelizing missionaries, “so that the Holy Spirit may be present.”
Local Churches, Pope Francis said, have always helped each other proclaim and witness to the Gospel. “Animated by the Spirit of the Risen Lord, its mission widens the horizon of faith and charity unto the ends of the earth.”
Present in 120 countries
The Mission Societies are present in 120 countries around the world and work in close collaboration with the Holy See.
Founded in the 19th century, they gave new impetus to the Christian proclamation, according to the Holy Father. Pope Pius XI gave them the name ‘Pontifical’ to show how “the Church’s mission to all peoples is very dear to the heart of the Successor of Peter,” the Pope said.
“And it still is!” Pope Francis affirmed.