In 1843 French Bishop Charles de Forbin-Janson shared his longtime dream, to help the children of the Catholic missions, with his friend Pauline Jaricot. She had already founded the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, which helped to support the Church’s missionary efforts. Bishop Charles was convinced that children rich in faith and love could play their own part in the Church’s mission and even stir adults to the same generous missionary spirit. Thus the Missionary Childhood Association (MCA) was born!
Originally Bishop Forbin-Janson appealed to the children of France to reach out and help the children of the missions in the North America and China. Back then the United States was mission territory! He asked them to say a Hail Mary every day and give a small coin every month to help feed the children in the missions. The motto was “children helping children.”
The French children took up this great work and from then on the work of missionary kids has spread across the world. Today it is in 140 countries and helps make Jesus known to children all over the world. Look down below for logos and images from MCA in many different countries today.
The funds raised by MCA members are directed towards health and nutrition programs, building and maintaining orphanages and secure homes for children in need, the building of schools, educational supplies, and catechesis and learning resources.
In its history, the Missionary Childhood Association became well-known in the United States for offering Christmas Seals each year as a fundraiser to support the children in the missions. At the time, MCA was called the Holy Childhood Association. Some years ago there was also a program that allowed US children to “adopt” babies in mission dioceses through their prayer and donations. They were also encouraged to name their adoptive babies. Over the years MCA has gone through many changes, but it has kept the same missionary spirit.
Today the Missionary Childhood Association in the US continues to follow the vision of Bishop Charles: after learning about the great needs of the world’s children living in struggle and poverty, young people are invited to pray and offer financial support so that children in the missions may know Christ and experience His love and care. In the process, MCA members will better know Christ themselves and are empowered to build the Kingdom of God every day!