Apostleship of Prayer

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A spiritual association of Catholics who are not only concerned for their own salvation but also intent on spreading the Kingdom of Christ. They work for this by prayer and sacrifice in the spirit of apostles, mainly through three practices: (1) the daily offering of all their prayers, works, joys, and sufferings to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or to God the Father through Him, (2) the uniting of their offering with the sacrifice of Christ renewed in the Mass and reception of Communion in reparation at least once a month, (3) the daily recitation of the Rosary, or at least one decade of it.

Although it was started in 1844 by Francis X. Gautrelet, SJ, in Vals, France, Henri Ramière, SJ, is credited with making it a world movement by giving it a definite structure; by publishing in 1861 his book, The Apostleship of Prayer, the Holy League of Hearts United to the Heart of Jesus; and the Messenger of the Sacred Heart.

Theological Basis. The Apostleship of Prayer strives to enroll and continually remind all Catholics, as members of Christ's Mystical Body enjoined to love others as He has loved them, that they should make everything they do every day a prayer and sacrifice for the salvation of souls. It promotes devotion to the Sacred Heart, the soul of the Apostleship, through consecration, reparation, and other practices.

Organization. The head of the Apostleship of Prayer is the father general of the jesuits. His delegate directs it from Rome with the assistance of national, regional, and diocesan directors. He appoints the diocesan directors nominated by their bishops. Diocesan directors establish local centers in parishes, schools, institutions, and societies and appoint pastors, chaplains, or other priests to serve as local directors of these centers. The faithful who have the intention of making the daily offering may become members for life by enrolling in any center. The national office of the Apostleship of Prayer is in New York.

Bibliography: p. arrupe, The Apostleship of Prayer in the Church and in the World of Today (Rome 1974); The Apostleship of Prayer Twenty Years after the Council: Documents of the World Congress of the National Secretaries of the Apostleship of Prayer, Rome, 814 April 1985 (Rome 1985).

[f. schoberg/eds.]