On October 14, Msgr. Oscar Romero and Pope Paul VI will be canonized. “Without these two saints, Catholic mission work would be so different,” asserted Msgr. James Moloney, Mission Director of the Propagation of the Faith for the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Pope Paul VI helped define the word evangelization in 1975 in his encyclical Evangelii nuntiandi. In it he instructed Catholics to renew the Church through sharing the Gospel throughout the world.
The Society of the Propagation of the Faith is an international association to coordinate assistance for Catholic missionary religious; a living sign of Pope Paul VI’s call for evangelization around the world. It is the oldest of the four pontifical mission societies, founded in 1822. Its first collection was to support missions in the eastern United States as well as China.
Today Propagation of the Faith provides financial support to mission bishops for day-to-day expenses and special projects. It supports pastoral and evangelizing programs, catechetical work, building churches and chapels, the work of religious communities in health care and education, and communication and transportation needs.
Msgr. Moloney has directed the Archdiocesan efforts of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith since 1963. He remembers praying for and raising funds for Catholic missions even while in high school. “Fr. Larry, a family member of mine, inspired me to go the missions. He came home from serving in China and I would sit and listen in awe to his stories,” Msgr. Moloney shared.
From 1963 to 1978 Msgr. Moloney visited 58 mission countries to help him become closely aware of the conditions in the missions. “I love when I meet a missionary or a person from countries like Ghana or Nigeria. They cannot believe I know who their president is or that I am familiar with their current events. After living there, how can I not care?” Msgr. Moloney reflected.
Msgr. Moloney’s dedication to mission work and directing local efforts to support the Propagation of the Faith for nearly 60 years inspired him to create an endowment with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan to support the Society of the Propagation of the Faith of the Archdiocese of Detroit. He began the fund with his own contribution.
When asked why he was inspired to create the endowment, Msgr. Moloney said, “Dioceses all over the world still need financial aid. Missions today are so different; digital technology is used to share information. But what remains consistent is that missioners speak from the heart and have personal experience to share. That is the Gospel."