Originally Published in the October 23, 2016 Joyful News
In preparation for mission Sunday, which is October 23, and to answer the questions that many of you have asked me, here is a brief explanation about the PIME Missionaries. The PIME Missionaries is an international Society of priests and lay brothers who minister in the foreign missions in the work of primary evangelization. The 1800’s was a busy century for missionaries coming from Europe. The Society of the Precious Blood was founded in 1815; The Foreign Missionaries of Paris were founded in the 1830’s; The Society of the Divine Word, in 1875, to name a few. In 1850 in the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy, a small group of diocesan priests gathered together to form the Foreign Missionaries of Milan. Later, in 1872, a similar group started in the diocese of Rome. They both labored in the foreign missionaries until 1926, when Pope Pius XI brought them together and they received the name PIME (Pontificium Institutum pro Missionibus Exteris). Maryknoll, which is the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, was founded in 1911.
The Institute began as an Italian Mission sending society and became international in 1947 when Cardinal Mooney of Detroit invited them to come to the Archdiocese. He had seen the work of the missionaries in India and was impressed by their missionary spirit. Knowing that Italy was devastated after WWII, he thought they could set a foothold here in the States to raise funds and recruit missionaries.
We are not a Religious Order, we are a Society of Apostolic Life. We do not take religious vows as do religious order priests. We are, basically, just like our diocesan brother priests. Our mission is simple: the mission Ad Gentes, a Latin phrase meaning “to the nations”. That means that we preach and live the Gospel to those who do not yet know Christ. Our emphasis has always been in Asia, where the seeds of the faith have been sown for many centuries. At present we are located in 18 various countries: Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Guinea Bissau in Africa; Brazil, Mexico and the US in the Americas; Papua New Guinea in the Pacific; India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong/China, Myanmar, Japan and Cambodia in Asia; and Italy. Our Headquarters are in Rome, Italy and the US Headquarters are here in Detroit. We have never been a large Institute, and even in most of the countries where we are present, we have a small
community of members.
Presently we have just under 500 members worldwide. In the States we staff a few parishes, mostly among the immigrant communities. In the Archdiocese of New York we are at St. Anne Parish in Harlem; in the diocese of Brooklyn, we are at St. Rosalia-Regina Pacis parish. In the Archdiocese of Detroit we are present at San Francesco in Clinton Township (formerly an Italian immigrant parish), All Saints in Detroit and now here, at St. Mary, Cause of our Joy. Our Headquarters are in the University District neighborhood of Detroit, near the University of Detroit Mercy. You can find out more about us at www.pimeusa.org and at our international website: www.pime.org.