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Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions

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The Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (from the Latin Pontificium Institutum Missionum Exterarum) is a society of secular priests and lay people who dedicate their lives to missionary activities in: Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Hong Kong, India, Ivory Coast, Japan, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Thailand.

Independently founded in Milan in 1850 and Rome in 1874 as a group of missionary-style diocesan priests and seminarians, these two seminaries were merged and officially recognized as PIME in 1926 by Pope Pius XI. PIME supports more than 500 missionaries in 17 countries and is headquartered in Rome. The institute opened its North American Regional headquarters in Detroit in 1947 at the invitation of then Detroit Archbishop Edward Cardinal Mooney.

The North American Region focuses its efforts by being at the service of the Church, both locally and globally. The members of PIME minister in local parishes, fostering vocations, mission awareness and financial assistance to their missions and missionaries around the World. PIME priests are sent to Detroit usually as a sort of last resort after failures of health and effort while in the mission field.

PIME has built more than 2,000 churches and chapels and either operates or supports many hospitals and clinics, schools, orphanages and shelters. However, it should be noted the Detroit headquarters were renovated at a cost of $8 million. This was the number given when courting benefactors. The actual number was about half that amount. Among the programs offered by PIME are:

  • Foster Parents - Adoptions at a Distance[1]
  • Native Seminarians Program
  • Missionary Medical Relief
  • Chapel Building
  • Vocations
  • Masses
  • Special Projects
  • Special Appeals



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