Each year monies are collected from individual donations people make, and through the efforts of children and young people in grade and high schools. This money is kept here in the United States. Each year requests for funds are sent to Rome, from the Bishops around the world, for the needs of their particular areas. These requests are directed to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, whose function it is to oversee the mission areas of the world and their needs.
The requests are then compiled and copies are sent to the National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies all around the world, who are asked to study them.
In May of each year about 90 of these directors meet in Rome and after careful discussion, decide which requests can be fulfilled. The decisions depend on the monies available and the relative necessities in each area of the world. The national directors from the different countries, proportion the funds from their respective countries.
All monies available are distributed. There is no big amount left in the banks for a rainy day! The national directors meet again in November to disburse any funds that may have accumulated since May, honoring some of the requests that could not be fulfilled at that time.
As you can see this is a very equitable manner of distributing what is known as the General Fund. Having representatives from the different countries present at this meeting allows these representatives to speak about their needs right there, and come to decisions in a way that a select group without knowledge of the particular situations could never otherwise do.
The Catholics of our country contribute substantially to the General Fund of the Propagation of the Faith and to the Society for St. Peter the Apostle.
This is a non-exhaustive list of beneficiaries of donations:
For daily pastoral care of Catholics and for outreach programs to others
For chapels, churches and parish centers
For local communities of Sisters and Brothers who serve as teachers, nurses, social workers, leaders of faith communities
For the social and lay apostolate: for the spiritual development of lay leaders and support of self-help projects
For the communications apostolate through which people hear the Gospel message by radio, television, print and film
For transportation and relief
For the work of Bishops’ Conferences
For the education of mission seminarians
For the missionary activity of the Eastern Rite churches
For pastoral work of the Church in Latin America
Annual Collections from Parishes
World Mission Sunday (always the next to the last Sunday in October)
Missionary Cooperation Appeal