In many countries across the world January 6th not only marks the solemnity of the Epiphany, but also Missionary Childhood Day. Introduced by Pope Pius XII, Missionary Childhood Day aims to encourage children to share God’s love with their contemporaries in need around the world and to give greater attention to the Pontifical Missionary Childhood Society, known in England and Wales as Mission Together, the children’s branch of Missio.
Mission Together (or Holy Childhood as it is was initially called and still is known in parts of the world) began in the 1843 by French Bishop Charles de Forbin-Janson who began to ask children in France for a prayer a day and a penny a month, to assist infants living in poverty overseas. One early supporter was a young French girl called Thérèse Martin – known later to the world as St Thérèse of Lisieux, patron of missionaries. Read more about St Thérèse’ links with Mission Together here.
Holy Childhood empowered its young members by entrusting them with the success of its mission. As the current Secretary General of the Pontifical Missionary Childhood Society, Sr Roberta Tremarelli explains, “For centuries the child remained only the recipient of attention; now it is they who gave a contribution. In this way Holy Childhood began to educate children to the missionary spirit, to be attentive to the needs of others”.
176 years since its foundation, the Pontifical Missionary Childhood Society, receives requests for aid and subsidies from all over the world. In addition to the crucial field of education, the society intervenes in areas such as health care, nutrition, general welfare. The image above illustrates a Mission Together health and welfare project in Sri Lanka. Read more about this project here.
In 2016 the Missionary Childhood Society granted subsidies to 2,621 projects, in five continents, totalling 15.6 million dollars. This great work is only possible due to our supporters. On behalf of millions of children worldwide – thank you!