The Agenzia Fides was founded in 1927 as the first Church’s missionary news agency and one of the first news agencies in the world, serving mission information and promotion. It was founded on a proposal of the Supreme Council of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of Faith, who desired the Missions to be known through the press, to promote missionary work and to arise cooperation to the Catholic Church’s missionary work through spiritual and material aid.
The Fides News Agency project was blessed by Pope Pius XI. The first editions in English, French and Polish (the latter for a short period), were soon followed by those in Italian (1929), Spanish (1930) and German (1932). In more recent times new languages have been added: Chinese (1998) and Portuguese (2002). Formed by hundreds of volumes containing articles in different languages, this archival fund constitutes a true information patrimony regarding the Church’s missionary evangelization during the 20th Century: one of the key periods for the development of the young churches, with the rapid evolution of territorial structures, local clergy formation and erection of the indigenous hierarchy. The first director of the Fides News Agency was Fr. John Considine, from the American Maryknoll Missionaries.
The Agenzia Fides documentary fund preserves not only the articles’ drafts, but also a photographical fund of an enormous ecclesial, historical and ethnological value, consisting of over 10,000 glass plate negatives with images (taken in many cases by the same missionaries) from all mission territories.