Communion, creativity, and tenacity. Let us consider these essential words, which are relevant for the Church in its permanent state of mission, and especially for our Missionary Societies called to renewal in order to be ever more effective in service.”

With these words, Pope Francis addressed 120 National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies (TPMS) on Saturday, May 25. The meeting took place during the Annual General Assembly, taking place in Rome this week. Many National Directors made the special trip to Rome to attend the Assembly at the “Fraterna Domus” spirituality center in Sacrofano.

In his opening speech, the President of TPMS, Archbishop Emilio Nappa, highlighted: “The ‘epochal change’ underway in the world also challenges the nature and specific mission of the Pontifical Mission Societies, called to carefully read what is happening in society to set out once again to meet the deep needs of today’s men and women.”

In his address to the National Directors of TPMS, Pope Francis discussed the Holy Trinity’s celebration from the previous day. He interpreted three key words in a missionary context, beginning with “communion“: “When we contemplate the Trinity, we see that God is a communion of persons, a mystery of love. The love with which God comes to seek and save us, rooted in his being One and Triune, is also the basis of the missionary nature of the pilgrim Church on earth (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 1; Ad Gentes, 2).”

He then encouraged everyone to “grow in this spirituality of missionary communion, which is the foundation of the Church’s current synodal journey. I emphasized this in the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium and I reiterate it now, especially as you work on renewing your Statutes. Since a journey of missionary conversion is necessary for everyone, it is essential that opportunities for personal and communal formation be provided in order to grow in the dimension of “communal” missionary spirituality.”

The “creativity” – the second word “delivered” by Pope Francis to the National Directors of TPMS – arises from being “rooted in God’s creative work, which makes all things new.” The Pope emphasized: “missionary activity is creative to the extent that Christ’s charity is its origin, form, and end. Thus, with inexhaustible imagination, such charity inspires new ways of evangelizing and serving others, especially the poorest.”

Tenacity“, the third word entrusted by Pope Francis to the reflection of TPMS Assembly: “Let us also contemplate this characteristic of the love of the Triune God who, in order to fulfill his plan of salvation, with constant faithfulness has sent his servants throughout history and, in the fullness of time, gave himself in Christ Jesus. The divine mission ‘is a tireless going out to all men and women, in order to invite them to encounter God and enter into communion with him. Tireless! The Church, for her part, in fidelity to the mission she has received from the Lord, will continue to go to the ends of the earth, to set out over and over again, without ever growing weary or losing heart in the face of difficulties and obstacles’” (Message for World Mission Day 2024).

The Annual General Assembly is a central event during the year, and this edition will focus on the renewal of TPMS Statutes. The Assembly’s work will continue until May 31.

The Pontifical Mission Societies

The Pontifical Mission Societies (TPMS) stand as the official missionary arm of the Catholic Church. We are tasked with promoting mission awareness and raising funds for mission areas worldwide. The societies are four: the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith; the Missionary Childhood Association; the Pontifical Society of Peter the Apostle; and the Pontifical Missionary Union. Each has been instrumental in promoting the Gospel, providing pastoral care, and offering humanitarian assistance across the globe.

The Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States are part of a global network of Catholics united in prayer and alms. We strive to offer mutual support and strengthening of the Church here in the USA and mission territories. Close to a million priests, religious sisters, seminarians, and catechists rely on our support to fulfill their ministry, which includes teaching the faith to 26 million children attending primary school and running 12,000 clinics caring for the sick and dying in Asia, Africa, and remote areas of Latin America.

The full remarks by Pope Francis are here.