The foundation of the MSP dates back to the year 1965, during which the Catholic Church of the Philippines had celebrated its 400 years of Christianity. At that time, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (then Catholic Welfare Organization) had thought of establishing a missionary society which became a "living memorial" of the Church's gratitude to God for the gift of faith that the Philippine Church received from its early missionaries. The bishops assessed that the Philippine Catholic Church had already come of age and thus, assumed its full commitment to "share with others the faith we have so bountifully received."
This plan to establish the MSP was captured in the Statement of the Philippine Hierarchy on the Formation of the Foreign Mission Society. The following is an excerpt of the document which was signed by H.E. Archbishop JULIO R. ROSALES, DD, then President of the Catholic Welfare Organization:
"Desirous to fulfill our divine commission to preach the Gospel to every creature, we, the Catholic Hierarchy of the Philippines, herewith declare our firm determination to share the light of the Faith with our less fortunate neighbors. It is our conviction that we, as a Christian nation, have reached a mature stage in our four centuries of development and that we are prepared to assume the responsibilities of such maturity. We, therefore, proclaim officially our intention to undertake a national effort to orient our people to the missions. To achieve this and to express in the concrete our gratitude to God for the gift of our Faith, we will organize the Foreign Mission Society of the Philippines.
Simultaneous with the Fourth Centennial Calebration of our birth as a Christian nation in 1965, we will found this Society and lay the cornerstone of its seminary in Cebu. Its official patron will be the same Child Jesus whose image will be canonically crowned during the celebration. To be composed, first of all, of diocesan priests, the Foreign Mission Society of the Philippines will eventually embrace, we hope, a brotherhood, a sisterhood, and a lay missionary counterpart. The Society will accept "full members" and "associate members", these latter to be loaned and aided for a time by a diocese. Mindful of the particular needs and traits of our people, we will adopt a mode of missionary formation and a Constitution expressive of the genius of the Christian Filipino soul.
The founding of a Mission Society of the Philippines is a serious step in our history as a Christian country. It deserves the best of our generosity, our dedication, and our zeal. We appeal to our clergy and faithful to cooperate with this missionary movement of ours and, if it be the Divine will, to consider volunteering for the foreign missions."