Fides News Agency (Fides) was created on 5 June, 1927, by order of the Council Superior General of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, as the first Missionary Agency of the Church and among the first agencies in the world, at the service of informing and promoting missionary activity.
The Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, at the Assembly of its Supreme Council in April 1927, decided to establish Fides “to raise awareness of missions” to the People of God via the press, with the intention to arouse missionary cooperation through vocations, spiritual communion and material resources.
Fides was therefore to provide current news and images not only for publication in missionary magazines, but also for other press in all countries. Tasks entrusted to the Agency were also to prepare studies on the situation of missions and on religious and social matters in the mission territories. The Congregation “de Propaganda Fide” approved the decision and gave notice to the Ordinaries working for the Congregation with a letter circulated on 5 June, 1927. Fides began operating in December of that year, immediately following the Feast of St Francis Xavier, on 3 December, Patron of Missions, one of the major protagonists for missionary information. The Fides project was blessed by Pope Pius XI.
Since its inception, Fides has become a great centre for the collection and production of material information on the missionary world, through current news and photographs, studies on the missions and on the work of missionaries. Before the Second World War about 2000 missionary bulletins and magazines around the world sourced news from Fides.
After the first editions printed in English, French and Polish (Polish for a short period) followed those in Italian (1929), Spanish (1930) and German (1932). With the advent of the internet, the consequent updating of technology, the new and instant possibilities of communication channels, the Fides website was inaugurated in 1998. Online editions were also added in Chinese (1998), Portuguese (2002) and Arabic (2008). Having abandoned the print edition, today Fides is entirely online in eight languages.
The news diffused by Fides in over 80 years of activity is an accurate documentation of the work of evangelization during decisive times for the birth and development of many young Churches. Fides has also edited documentary texts on special studies and the guide to “Catholic Missions 1950”, collaborating on future editions.
The Photographic Archives, suspended in 1970 and now largely digitized, include about 10,000 photographs which form a priceless missionary heritage, particularly the oldest part, documenting the history of Catholic missions.
In the recent reorganization of Fides, the focal point that has guided every decision has been to achieve the ends for which Fides was established, as evidenced by its statutes: the diffusion of news about Missio ad Gentes with all related aspects (news, inter-religious dialogue, human development in its economic, social and cultural aspects, missionary cooperation among the Churches, religious freedom...) while maintaining a focus on the Churches' missionary journeys and on the specially missionary Magisterium of the Holy Father.