PIME (an Italian acronym for Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) is
a community of priests and consecrated lay men who dedicate
their lives to announcing the Gospel. It was founded in Italy in 1850.
The first PIME missionaries arrived in Hong Kong in 1858. A new mission was opened in Central China 12 years later. Since then, around 250 of them have worked in China (Guangdong, Henan and Shaanxi Provinces) before political developments forced the last of them to leave by 1954.
At present PIME performs its missionary activity in Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Guinea Bissau, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Mexico, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and the U.S.A. In the course of the years, 18 PIME missionaries have laid down their lives in Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, Myanmar, the Philippines and Oceania. At the peak of its expansion the diocese of Hong Kong included the territory of the then colony of Hong Kong and the districts of Bao'an, Huiyang and Haifeng in Guangdong Province.
For a century PIME was responsible for the development of missionary work and establishment of the local Church, in cooperation with the Chinese clergy and members of other religious societies.
In 1968, Lorenzo Bianchi, the last PIME bishop of Hong Kong, handed the management of the diocese over to bishop Francis Hsu and the Chinese clergy. Since then PIME has been one of the various religious communities which help the diocese, now confined to the sole territory of Hong Kong SAR, to carry out its pastoral and missionary activity.
At present, about 35 PIME members fulfill their missionary vocation through pastoral, educational and social ministries.
PIME missionaries commit themselves to bringing the Good News of salvation to all people.
They fulfil their mission by leaving their own country and culture and consecrating themselves to the work of evangelization for their whole lives. For many years PIME membership had been reserved to Italians, because the Institute was founded as a missionary expression of the Italian Church. Its aim was to establish local Churches, therefore for a long time PIME missionaries addressed all candidates to the priesthood to local seminaries.
Now that local clergy can fully take up the responsibility and the leadership of their own dioceses, PIME has become an international society.
PIME missionaries welcome generous and enthusiastic young men of any nation and culture who feel the call of the Lord to leave their land and go out to share the joy of the Gospel with other people.