Largest Catholic Missionary Society to Relaunch with New Name

The missionary society of the Catholic Church in England and Wales announced its commitment to "faith and mission" by relaunching it as "Missio" in September.

The announcement of the new name 'Missio in England and Wales,' earlier known as the Pontifical Mission Societies in England & Wales was made after a mass celebrated by Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, at their London headquarters on Tuesday 9 June.

"The Apostolic Nuncio's presence demonstrated the importance of mission to Pope Benedict XVI and the Church as a whole," the statement made by Missio stated.

The new name 'Missio' symbolises unity in faith and mission, overseeing the support given to every one of the 1,069 mission dioceses in the world through an effective collection of funds and support according to their specific needs, it added.

These include supporting 194,855 schools, 5,246 hospitals, 17,530 dispensaries, 577 leprosy centres and 80,560 social and pastoral projects worldwide. Funds collected in each diocese of England & Wales are sent directly to local bishops in the mission territories.

Despite the name change, Missio said its mission of the last 70 years - "To be a Christian is to be a missionary" - remains unchanged.

Drawing the inspiration from Pope Benedict XVI, it said the Catholic head drew attention to the importance of mission and the work of Missio in his message for World Mission Sunday last year, expressing his appreciation of the agency's work.

In England and Wales, the Pontifical Mission Societies are best known through the activities of the Association for the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of St Peter the Apostle and Mission Together (Holy Childhood).

According to Monsignor John Dale, National Director of Missio in England & Wales, "As a symbol of unity in faith and mission, several of the European offices have chosen to share a single name – Missio - a word that is simple and easily recognisable in many languages."

"Missio, from the Latin 'sending out', also expresses commitment to the God-given mission of the Church.

The new motto 'Sharing faith, giving life' expresses Missio's vital commitment to serving the Church, especially where the Church is young or poor."

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