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The old adage, ‘catch them young’, applies to Holy Childhood Association with its maxim: “Children Helping Children”. It inculcates in every child a deep sense of mission by instruments of Prayer, Sacrifice and Financial Aid. The thirst for evangelization and the spirit of charity and comradeship is instilled in the minds of the children. It, perhaps, recommends an effective and efficacious prayer: ‘Lord, keep me burning like Jesus with zeal for the mission to alleviate and ameliorate the pitiable conditions of the poor in Society.’

History: Bishop Charles de Forbin Janson, Bishop of the Diocese of Nancy in France stated this Holy Childhood Association in 1843. In his childhood, he was imbued with the missionary spirit. He was an active member of the Legion of Mary and the Missionary Union in France. He was ordained a priest in 1811 and he exhibited special interest in the poor and the needy. He was consecrated Bishop at the age of 38. He sold all his possessions and helped the poor children in China. He visited several dioceses in Europe and America and collected money for them. His missionary work of charity took roots in all countries throughout the world and placed under the responsibility of the General Secretary with headquarters in Rome. Pope Pius XI recognized this work of mission as “pontifical” in his Encyclical letter on February 28, 1926. Pope Pius XII in his apostolic letter of December 4, 1950 instituted the Annual Holy Childhood Day. The Society of Holy Childhood organizes a Worldwide Day every year to foster children’s attention to the spiritual and material needs of children throughout the world. Children are exhorted to offer in terms of prayers, sacrifices and offerings to discover in them the face of Jesus.

Presently, the Holy Childhood Association is active in 150 countries across all the continents in the world. There are 115 National Directors, hundreds of Regional and Diocesan Directors and thousands of animators. Millions of children are involved either as members or as beneficiaries of the projects, it funds.

The Guidelines and Principles, as propounded in the Statute Book of the Pontifical Mission Societies (particularly for Holy Childhood) — Congregatio Pro Gentium Evangelizatione 2005—are appended, in brief, as under:

Art 13. The Society provides funds to particular Churches with the following objectives:
(a) To assist educators to awaken and gradually develop in both children and adolescents a worldwide missionary consciousness, in order to guide them towards a spiritual communion and material sharing of their resources with children of other Churches, in difficulty. It signifies something to give and to receive and their motto is: Children Helping Children.

(b) To contribute towards promotion and development of missionary vocations,

(c) To prepare missionary animators who will accompany children in their journey towards a more mature missionary consciousness. They will directly involve in ways suitable for each country, so that the children will become missionaries in their way. Hence, structures are established at both local and regional level to evolve suitable activities for their realization.

Art 14. The Society must take into account, both in its methods of missionary formation and in its appeals to generosity, those intuitive principles best suited to awaken the missionary awareness of children. Its educational activity must be appropriate to their age, mentality, environment and abilities. Hence, the Society should always be integrated into the general pastoral work of Christian education, to which it brings a missionary dimension.

Art. 15. Every year the Society organizes a Worldwide Day, on which it brings children’s attention to the spiritual and material needs of children throughout the world. Children are encouraged to offer to other children of the world their assistance in terms of prayers, sacrifices and offerings and are encouraged to discover in them the face of Jesus. In doing so, one should not overlook the spiritual riches of the poor who are being helped. By opening themselves to one and another, children will come to know and love each other as brothers and sisters.

Art. 16. In educating the children through methods suited to them, it is imperative to know the competence of those at the National and Diocesan level, responsible for the Society, with regard to their knowledge of theology and catechism.

Art. 17. The age of the children and adolescents, addressed by the Society is established by the National Council, with the consent of the Episcopal Conference.

Art.18. The subscriptions and contributions of children from the various Continents together constitute the Universal Solidarity Fund of the Holy Childhood to assist Institutions and activities for the benefit of children in the mission territories.

Objectives:
1. To awaken in the children the awareness of the mission work of the Church.
2. To participate in the mission through prayer, sacrifices and offerings. (Children Love Children)
3. To share their faith and material means with the children of the neediest Church. (Children Help Children)
4. To inculcate in the children esteem and love for missionary vocations.
5. To motivate: “Try to give even as you receive”.
6. To live faithfully and share joyfully.


Membership
1. A baptized catholic, aging from the day of baptism until the end of the 12th year of age.
2. Willing to observe the obligations set by the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood Association.
3. Has an orientation on the Spirituality and Obligations of the Holy Childhood Association

Obligations of Members
1. Recite daily one Hail Mary with the invocation, “St Francis Xavier and St. Therese of the Child Jesus, pray for us and for all the children of the world”.

2. Offer to other children of the world their assistance in terms of sacrifices and offerings. Parents should fulfill the obligations of the children while they are unable to do so.

3. Celebrate the feast days of the Holy Childhood patron saints.

4. Pay yearly membership dues to the National Office of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

5. Recruit other children to become members of the Holy Childhood Association.

Note: As a member you will receive membership cards and formation materials from the National Office of the Pontifical Mission Societies. You share in the prayers and sacrifices of those whom you assist and share in the merits of the Holy Masses, offered daily in the Mission for all members.