In 1916, Father Paolo Manna, a PIME missionary serving in Myanmar (then called Burma), envisioned an organisation 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 was disappointed by the indifference amongst European clergy to the growth and expansion of the Church in other lands. 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 set up the Union to inform priests about the evangelization of the world and to promote knowledge of the Missions. Above all, Fr. Paolo wanted to encourage people to pray for the missions.
And so, he formed the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. Founded in 1916 it was declared Pontifical by Pope Pius XII in 1956. Today, this spiritual apostolate started by this Italian missionary 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.
In fact, the success of the efforts of the three other missionary societies is linked to the vitality of the Missionary Union, because it is through this work of prayer that the missionary spirit – a spirit of prayer and generous sacrifice – is developed and nurtured. 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 men and women, religious and lay to witness and share their faith with so many more.
In keeping with the values of the Gospel and the spirit of the PMU Society, a prayer booklet entitled, ‘Prayers and Reflections’ is published by World Missions Ireland in January each year. This is in preparation for the annual World Day of the Sick celebrated on February 11th..
‘Prayers and Reflections’ is developed with the aim of provoking spiritual thought and providing comfort to the sick and the housebound through prayer. All users of the booklet are encouraged to pray for all missionaries throughout the world. This is our effort in Ireland to support the Missionary Union by remembering all missionaries in prayer.
Excerpts from the current issue of “Prayers & Reflections” can be accessed following by clicking here. If you wish to order a copy of the current booklet, or indeed any previous issues, please phone Berna Whiteley on (01) 497 2035 or e-mail email@example.com