Princeps pastorum

Princeps pastorum (Latin for 'Prince of the shepherds') is the title of an encyclical letter promulgated by Pope John XXIII on 28 November 1959.[1][2] It is derived from a biblical passage: I Peter 5:4. In its English translation the letter opens with the phrase On the day when "the Prince of the shepherds" entrusted to Us His lambs and sheep. It refers to Jesus Christ.

Princeps pastorum
Latin for 'Prince of the Shepherds'
Encyclical of Pope John XXIII
Coat of arms of Pope John XXIII
Signature date 28 November 1959
SubjectAbout the missionary apostolate
Number4 of 8 of the pontificate

It celebrates the success of Roman Catholic missions to promote the faith, encourages the fostering of native clergy in the countries to which the missions extended[3] and emphasises the importance of lay Catholics as representatives of the church in non-Catholic countries.[4] The encyclical points out that while social welfare initiatives are to be supported, the primary task of missions should be to spread Catholic doctrine.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Millot, René Pierre (1961). Missions in the world today. Hawthorn Books. p. 25.
  2. ^ Ebelebe, Charles A. (2009). Africa and the New Face of Mission: A Critical Assessment of the Legacy of the Irish Spiritans Among the Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria. University Press of America. p. 79. ISBN 9780761845966.
  3. ^ Patterson, Colin (2019). "What has eschatology to do with the gospel? An analysis of papal documents on mission ad gentes". Missiology: An International Review. 47 (3): 285–299. doi:10.1177/0091829619854549.
  4. ^ Kanjamala, Augustine (2014). The Future of Christian Mission in India: Toward a New Paradigm for the Third Millennium. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 296. ISBN 9781630874858.
  5. ^ Keating, Kevin T. (2018). Papal Teaching in the Age of Infallibility, 1870 to the Present: A Critical Evaluation with Historical Illustrations. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 327. ISBN 9781532635540.