Founded by Bishop Angelo Ramazzotti in 1850 as the Lombard Seminary for Foreign Missions, the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) was the first missionary institute to originate from Italy. The PIME missionaries are a society of apostolic life; a community of priests (who do not take vows, much like diocesan priests), brothers and lay people who dedicate their lives entirely to the proclamation of the Gospel and to humanitarian aid for people from different countries, with a preference for people who are marginalized both geographically and socially.
PIME missionaries dedicate themselves to a variety of activities, depending on the environment of their mission, the needs of the local Church and their own talents, all with a common objective: to bear witness to Christ and the building of God’s Kingdom.
In the century and a half of its existence, PIME has sent more than 2,000 missionaries to different continents. PIME can count 70 bishops, apostolic prefects and vicars among their missionaries. The Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions currently has 425 members with three associate members operating in missions located in 19 countries.
Most members are of Italian origin, however vocations in recent decades have come almost exclusively from the mission countries where PIME has historically worked. All PIME communities in the world today are multi-ethnic and multicultural.
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