The Archdiocese of Birmingham - The Parish of the Immaculate Conception

Missio ~ Association for the Propagation of the Faith

Go into many Catholic homes and among the various bits and pieces that make up twenty-first century life you may espy a small red rectangular box similar to the one illustrated. This belongs to the Association for the Propagation of the Faith, or APF for short, the official mission funding society for the Catholic Church. The APF was founded in Lyons, in France in 1822, by a young French woman, Pauline-Marie Jaricot. She began by persuading local working people to support overseas missions by giving a farthing a week. A century later the organisation was established in almost every country of the world. Pope Pius XI made it the official mission funding society for the Catholic Church. Members have a collection box in their homes into which they put whatever change they wish. They are usually emptied quarterly – members are asked to bring them to the parish office. Members also receive a magazine, Mission Today, detailing the work of the APF, building on the work of the late Alfred Smith, who ran the Bicester branch of the APF and was a stalwart of the choir for many years. It is estimated that there are 200,000 APF members in England and Wales where the APF works collaboratively with the Mill Hill Missionary Society, the only major missionary society to have been formed in England. Mill Hill missionaries are sent to the most remote parts of the world where they bring the love of the Lord Jesus Christ to those in need, both spiritually and materially. At the time of writing, the parish is seeking a volunteer to take on co-ordinating and the administration of the APF in Bicester.