Missio Scotland operates through the international structure of the Catholic Church and is part of the international Catholic network known as the Pontifical Mission Societies. Missio respects the principle of ‘local initiative’ and ‘self-determination’ as all project funding requests originate from an existing community or work, often from a parish community or a religious congregation.

Missio has three sources of funding for different types of church works:

—Funding projects for children less than 15 years of age. These most commonly are schools, orphanages, rehabilitation centres, health and nutrition programs, and care for pregnant mothers.

—Funding projects that assist the whole parish community in their pastoral work. These projects are often constructions of parishes and meeting rooms, presbyteries or living stipends of priests and religious. A large portion is for the training of local “catechists” in mission stations, far from parish centres, who are the mainstay in the faith formation of the community.

—Funding projects for the training of priests and religious brothers and sisters in their initial years of training, or novitiate.

The application process for funds passes through the local bishop of each diocese. Though the requests come from parishes or groups within the diocese, they must communicate with the local bishop and inform him of their request. All funding requests must be made on Pontifical Mission Societies’ application forms, and obtain the approval and signature of the diocesan bishop. The bishop sends these applications to our headquarters in Rome according to the type of project above, before December 15.

The following year in May, all the National Directors of the 160 countries where the Pontifical Mission Societies exist meet for a week to approve which projects will receive funding, and how much they will receive. Due to there being greater need than funds available, projects usually receive only approximately half of what they request. The approval process is democratic where each National Director has an equal vote. The National Directors come to the meeting aware of the many needs in their countries and the types of project requests.

Following the May meeting Missio Scotland is advised to which particular projects we are to send our money directly. Then in August we transfer our funds directly to each individual country. The bishops in those countries then pass on the funding to each individual project.