The Society for the Propagation of the Faith is one of the four Pontifical Mission Societies. Under the direction of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Rome, Italy) and the bishops, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith seeks to foster an ever-deeper spirit of universal mission, to inform Catholics of the life and the needs of the Catholic Church in the Missions, and to encourage prayer and financial help for those mission churches.
Through the offerings from Catholics worldwide, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith provides ongoing support for the pastoral and evangelizing programs of the Catholic Church in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, and remote regions of Latin America. This includes aid for the education and support of seminarians, religious novices, and lay catechists; for the work of religious communities in education, health care and social services; for communication and transportation needs and for disaster and emergency relief when necessary.
Venerable Pauline Jaricot
January 9, 2012 marked the 150th anniversary of the death of the founder of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, Pauline Marie Jaricot.
Pauline’s Story Begins
Baptized Marie Pauline Jaricot on the day of her birth (July 22, 1799), she was the last child born to Antoine and Jeanne Jaricot in Lyons, France. The couple had seven children, including son, Phileas, who had arrived two years earlier, on February 2, 1797. Pauline’s older brother would be very influential in her life – nurturing her love for the Missions. Pauline wrote of her parents: “Happy are those who have received from their parents the first seeds of faith… Be praised Lord, for giving me a just man for a father and a virtuous and charitable woman as a mother.”
Lyons, Pauline’s hometown, was an industrial city that became famous for its silk factories. Her family were silk merchants, bourgeoisies of that French city. While the early years of her childhood were marked by the exclusive society life of Lyons, something would happen as a teenager that would open her heart to the whole world.
A Vision for the Missions
At the age of 15, Pauline suffered a bad fall. Not long after that, her beloved mother died. It took Pauline many months to recover, emotionally and physically. When she did, she resumed her social life, but with less delight than before. Her heart, she wrote at this time, was “made for the whole world if only I could love without measure,” she observed, “without end.”
She began to long to help the Missions – China and the United States – a desire nurtured by her brother Phileas, who was preparing for the priesthood and who told Pauline all about the work and witness of missionaries.
Pauline saw this as her vocation – to become a missionary of the love of God. She came to believe that “to truly help others is to bring them to God.”
One day while at prayer, 18-year-old Pauline had a vision of two lamps. One had no oil; the other was overflowing and from its abundance poured oil into the empty lamp. To Pauline, the drained lamp signified the faith in her native France, still reeling from the turbulence of the French Revolution. The full lamp was the great faith of Catholics in the Missions – especially in the New World. By aiding the faith of the young new country of the United States of America, Pauline knew that seeds planted would grow and bear much fruit.
So, she came up with a plan to support missionaries. She gathered workers from her family’s silk factory into “circles of 10.” Everyone in the group pledged to pray daily for the Missions and to offer each week a sou, the equivalent of a penny. Each member of the group then found 10 friends to do the same.
Even in the face of opposition from parish priests in Lyons, Pauline remained steadfast. Within a year, she had 500 workers enrolled; soon there would be 2,000.
As a child, Pauline had in fact dreamed of building such support for the Missions: “Oh! I’d love to have a well of gold to give some to all the unfortunate, so that there would not be any more poor people at all and that no one would cry anymore.”
Pauline’s successful efforts – where clearly not isolated or unique – were the main thrust behind the formation of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. She was “the match that lit the fire.” But there was a struggle – like with all new initiatives – to control what was quickly becoming a source of strength and hope for the missionary Church. At one point, Pauline was sidelined, and she struggled to ensure that what the Lord had inspired her to set in motion, would come fully to life. In 1963, 100 years after her death, Pope John XXIII signed the decree which proclaimed her virtues, declaring her “Venerable.” He wrote: “It was she who thought of the society, who conceived it, and made it an organized reality.” And Pauline’s vision of two lamps is also still valid, as the vibrant faith in mission countries inspires and deepens our own faith here at home.
Purpose of Mission Circle
In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Mission Circle is a practical way for Catholic men and women to stimulate, spiritualize, and systematize mission aid in a personal and concrete manner.
The purpose of the Mission Circles is threefold:
• Personal spiritual development
• Giving direct spiritual and material support to a missionary
• Creating, here at home, an interest in all things missionary
Brief meetings are held each month at a place and hour agreed upon by the members. A Mission Circle is, wherever possible, parochial and formed with the pastor’s knowledge. Each member offers daily prayers and spiritual offering to aid the adopted missionary’s work.
Join a Mission Circle
Have you ever thought of helping a missionary? Have you ever wanted to write to a missionary and receive letters from him or her telling about missionary experiences, progress and problems? Have you ever wanted to involve yourself in a mission so that you can solve its problems and further its progress? There is a way. You and others can give both spiritual and material assistance to your adopted missionary either in foreign or home missions. If you would like to join a Mission Circle, please contact our office.
Form a Mission Circle
A Mission Circle, made up of six or more people, is a dynamic means of participating in the mission of the Church by offering both spiritual and material support to a missionary. By virtue of Baptism, all Christians are called to mission. As members of the Church each one of us is given the responsibility to make Jesus known to all and to work to alleviate human suffering. As members of the Church, we recognize that we bring the love, compassion, and mercy to others. We make Christ present in the world that longs for the presence of God. The Mission Circle is a positive way to be involved in mission and helps you to grow spiritually.
If you would like to start a Mission Circle in your parish, download and review the ByLaws as well as the information form. After reviewing the ByLaws, you will then need to submit the ‘New Mission Circle’ information form to our office.
Download and Submit Forms Below
Download English Mission Circle Bylaws
Download English Fillable Mission Circle Application
Download Spanish Mission Circle Bylaws
Download Spanish Fillable Mission Circle Application
For any inquiries or for more information regarding Mass Stipends or Mass Cards please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (213) 637-7223.