Based in Falls Church, Virgina, USA, the Arlington Mission Office leads the coordination of missionary efforts for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, VA. From our offices in St. James Parish, our little team works with both local missions and with missionaries from all over the world.
To empower and enable the people of God to spread the Gospel message of Jesus Christ to the whole world.
The Catholic Diocese of Arlington Mission Office oversees the Arlington Diocesan Mission in the Dominican Republic, supports the global missionary efforts of the Pontifical Mission Societies, and promotes the missionary work of religious communities and approved Catholic lay organizations.
Role of the Arlington Mission Office
Simply put, we have two major roles:
- We coordinate missionary work for the Pontifical Mission Societies;
- We coordinate missionary work for our Diocese’s own mission in the Dominican Republic, the Bánica Mission.
On a more day-to-day basis, we handle a variety of tasks that include, but of course are not limited to, the following activities. These activities are not presented in any particular order as they are all important aspects of our work.
- Raising money for the Bánica Mission;
- Managing the Mission Cooperative Plan (MCP), on an annual basis;
- Connecting clergy, missionaries, religious communities, educators, youth groups, and individual students to mission trips to both the Bánica Mission and other missions.
Our team of dedicated staff is small indeed: We have only a Director and a Program and Development Coordinator. To speak directly with our team, please contact us.
Pontifical Mission Societies
The Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) are a group of Catholic missionaries that are directly under the jurisdiction of the Papacy. Unlike other missions which report to their order’s superior (for example, the Redemptorists), the Pontifical Mission Societies report direct to the Pope. They are independent of each other, were founded at different times, serve different goals, and work separately of each other. What connects them is that they have all been charged by the Pope (different popes over the years) with bringing the message of Christ to all ends of the earth.
Given the title Pontifical in 1922 by Pope Pius XI, the PMS operate under the direct canonical jurisdiction of the Pope, and together with the entire body of Bishops, inform Catholics about the Mission Office's worldwide missionary work and encourage their active participation.
The Society for the Propagation of the Faith (SPOF)
Founded in 1822 in France by Venerable Pauline Jaricot, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith offers support for pastoral and evangelizing programs, assists with building churches, and assists religious communities with health care, education, transportation, and communication needs. A primary source of funding for the SPOF is the annual World Mission Sunday collection in October.
The Missionary Childhood Association (MCA)
The Missionary Childhood Association was founded by Bishop Charles de Forbin Jansen in 1842 in France. The MCA is dedicated to fostering missionary awareness in children and young people. It can be considered the "children's version" of the SPOF.
The Society of St. Peter Apostle (SPA)
The Society of St. Peter Apostle supports the education of Catholic priests in the missions, as well as the formation of men and women for religious life. It was founded in Cain, France in 1889 by two laywomen, Stephanie Bigard and her daughter, Jeanne. They formed the SPA originally to support seminarians in Nagasaki, Japan. In 1922, Pope Pius XI placed the society under papal patronage and dedicated it to supporting seminarians in the missions around the world.
The Missionary Union of Priests and Religious
The Missionary Union of Priests and Religious was founded in 1916 by Fr. Paolo Manna, an Italian missionary serving in Myanmar. Fr. Manna sought to develop and nurture the missionary spirit of priests, religious, seminarians, and lay people working in the missions and to inspire others to undertake missionary work.
Funding for the Arlington Mission Office
The Arlington Mission Office is funded by a combination of private donations and proceeds from two annual diocesan collections which are held at every parish in the diocese. The two collections are the Mission Cooperative Plan, which is held annually across the summer months, and World Mission Sunday, which is held the penultimate Sunday in October.
The Mission Cooperative Plan (MCP)
As part of the MCP, missionaries from around the world are invited to the Arlington Diocese to appeal for funds in diocesan parishes for their respective missions. For the appeal campaign, each mission is paired with a specific parish. As part of the appeal, each mission will send a representative – typically a priest or religious person – to spend one weekend in summer in their paired parish, sharing an appeal request at each Mass on a given weekend.
Given the support the Diocese focuses upon its own mission, the Bánica Mission, just over one-third of our parishes are paired with that mission. Correspondingly, slightly less than half of all of our parishes are paired with religious communities in residence (missions who have an agreement with our bishop to operate within the diocese) in the Diocese of Arlington and the home dioceses of extern priests ministering in Arlington. The remaining parishes within the Diocese are paired with a mission selected by the Bishop's office.
The money that is raised in parish collections, typically in second or special collections, is forwarded to the Arlington Mission Office. Our office then distributes the funds to the respective missions based on the amounts raised at their paired parish. To fund our own internal operational costs, the Arlington Mission Office retains 20% of the donated totals.
World Mission Sunday
World Mission Sunday is a world-wide observance dedicated to prayer and support for Catholic missions. In connection with World Mission Sunday, every parish in the Diocese of Arlington takes up a second collection at every Mass on the second to last Sunday of October. The Arlington Mission Office sends the donations, minus our office’s administrative expenses, to the National Office of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith (SPOF), which is based in New York City. In turn, the SPOF distributes the donations to missions all over the world.
In addition to the funding sources explained above, the Arlington Mission Office welcomes private donations at any point throughout the year. Private donations can either be project or cause-specific, or unrestricted. To discuss private donation opportunities with the Arlington Mission Office, please contact Roberto Bacalski at (703) 532-8815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.