In the decree Ad Gentes of the Second Vatican Council the Pontifical Mission Societies (PP.OO.MM.) are recommended “both to instill in Catholics, from an early age, a truly universal and missionary spirit, and to encourage an adequate collection of subsidies for the benefit of all the missions and according to the needs of each “(n. 38).
In 1922 the Pontifical Mission Societies were approved and made its own by the Holy See as the main body of the Catholic Church to help missionaries and young Churches in proclaiming the Gospel and in witnessing charity.
Pope John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio expressly recalls that ” the four Mission Societies – Propagation of the Faith, St. Peter the Apostle, Missionary Childhood and Missionary Union – have in common the purpose of promoting the universal missionary spirit among the people of God ” (n. 84).
The four PMS were created at different times, however they all where born from an intense fervor of solidarity, prayer and sacrifice, convinced that the communion of saints is more effective for the missionary work than any other form of cooperation.
Entrusted to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, where they are coordinated by a special Steering Committee, the following works are now present in 132 countries: