Founder of the Pontifical Missionary Union of the Clergy, mission author, b. Avellino, Italy, 1872, d. 1952. He was a member of the Missionaries of SS. Peter and Paul who served in Burma between 1895 and 1907. Upon his return to Italy, he published several books over the next years to promote the missionary vocation and to encourage the cooperation of missionary clergy. The latter was achieved when, with the approval of the Congregation for the Propagation of Faith, Manna inaugurated the Missionary Union of the Clergy in 1916. By 1934, eighty-four percent of Italian clergy were members.
At the time Manna wrote Operarii autem pauci (The Workers Are Few, 1908), most of Catholic mission literature was written in German and Italian. Translations and adaptations of this book and The Conversion of the Pagan World (1921) provided English-speaking audiences with a popularized form of mission theology and practice and encouraged missionary vocations for clergy, women religious, and the laity. In the United States, the adaptations of Manna's two books were done by Father Joseph P. McGlinchey, the director of the Boston Archdiocesan Office of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. McGlinchey was the successor in that office to James A. Walsh, co-founder of the Catholic Society of Foreign Missions (Maryknoll), who had decried the dearth of mission materials in English. Manna's works in Italian and, especially the English translations, alerted Catholics not formally engaged as missionaries, to the centrality of mission in the life of the Church.
Bibliography: p. manna and n. maestrini, Forward with Christ: Thoughts and Reflections on Vocations to the Foreign Missions (Westminster, MD 1954); j. f. mcglinchey, Conversion of the Pagan World: A Treatise upon Catholic Foreign Missions. adapted from p. manna (Boston 1921); j. f. mcglinchey, The Workers Are Few, translation and adaptation of p. manna (Boston 1912); f. germani, P. Paolo Manna, vol. 1, Da Avellino alla Birmania, (1872–1907) (Rome 1989), vol. 2, L'Unione Missionaria del Clero e il. Seminario Meridionale per le Missione Estere (1907–1924) (Rome 1990), vol. 3, Superiore Generale (1924–34) (1992), Paolo Manna maestro di spiritualita missionarie (Rome 1993).