Pope Francis praises courage of 23-year-old lay founder of missionary society – Catholic World Report

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Detail of a portrait of Pauline Jaricot (1799-1862). / Photo by the Pontifical Mission Societies of France via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Vatican City, May 16, 2022 / 9:55 a.m. (CNA).

Pope Francis on Monday saluted the courage of Pauline Jaricot, the laywoman who founded the Society for the Propagation of the Faith when she was just 23 years old.

Jaricot will beatified in Lyon, in central-eastern France, on May 22. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagleprefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peopleswill preside over the ceremony.

The Society for the Propagation of the Faith is the oldest of the four Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), an umbrella group of Catholic missionary societies under the authority of the pope. The first three bodies received the title “Pontifical” 100 years ago.

The PMS holds its general assembly from May 16 to 23 in Lyon in a year with several significant missionary anniversaries.

“So you are gathered in Lyon because there, 200 years ago, a 23-year-old young woman, Pauline Marie Jaricot, had the courage to found a work to support the missionary activity of the Church,” said Pope Francis in his speech on May 16. message.

“A few years later,” he noted, “she started the ‘living rosary‘, an organization dedicated to prayer and the sharing of offerings.

“Coming from a wealthy family, she died in poverty: with her beatification, the Church attests that she knew how to accumulate treasures in heaven,” he said.

Jaricot established the Association for the Propagation of the Faith in 1822 as a way for all Catholics to help missions through prayer and small donations.

“Pauline Jaricot liked to say that the Church is missionary by nature and therefore everyone who is baptized has a mission; indeed, is a mission,” the pope said.

He underlined that “the evangelizing impulse has never weakened in the Church and always remains its fundamental dynamism”, explaining that this is why he has given a “special role” to the new Dicastery for Evangelization in the new apostolic constitution, predicate evangelium.

When the constitution comes into full effect on June 5, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization will merge with the Dicastery for Evangelization, chaired directly by the pope.

Francis highlighted three aspects of PMS that he says have contributed to the success of missions over time, as well as the working of the Holy Spirit.

“First of all, missionary conversion: the goodness of the mission depends on the way out of oneself, on the desire not to center life on oneself, but on Jesus, on Jesus who came to serve and not to be served “, he said.

“In this sense, Pauline Jaricot saw her existence as a response to the compassionate and tender mercy of God: from her youth, she sought identification with her Lord, even in the sufferings she went through, in order to kindle the flame of his love in every man. ,” he said.

“Therein lies the source of the mission, in the ardor of a faith which is not satisfied and which, through conversion, becomes day by day an imitation, in order to channel the mercy of God in the streets of the world”.

The second aspect, prayer, makes the first aspect possible, the pope said.

“It is not by chance that Pauline placed the Work of the Propagation of the Faith next to the Living Rosary, as if to reiterate that the mission begins with prayer and cannot be accomplished without it”, he said. -he says.

“Yes, for it is the Spirit of the Lord who precedes and enables all our good works: the primacy is always at his grace. Otherwise, the mission would become a race in vain.

The final aspect is charity, Pope Francis said.

“Together with the prayer network, Pauline initiated a large-scale collection of offerings in a creative form, accompanying it with information on the life and activities of missionaries,” he said.

“The offerings of so many simple people have been providential for the history of the missions.”

The year 2022 is also the fourth centenary of the founding of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide, which oversaw the dramatic expansion of the Catholic world after its founding by Pope Gregory XV. The organization is known today as the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.


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