Apostleship of Prayer, The
Pious association otherwise known as a league of prayer in union with the Heart of Jesus
Apostleship of Prayer, the, a pious association otherwise known as a league of prayer in union with the Heart of Jesus. It was founded at Vals, France, in 1844 by Francis X. Gautrelet. It owes its popularity largely to the Reverend Henry Ramiere, S.J., who, in 1861, adapted its organization for parishes and various Catholic institutions, and made it known by his book “The Apostleship of Prayer”, which has been translated into many languages. In 1879 the association received its first statutes, approved by Pius IX, and in 1896 these were revised and approved by Leo XIII. These statutes set forth the nature, the constitution, and the organization of the Apostleship, as follows: Its object is to promote the practice of prayer for the mutual intentions of the members, in union with the intercession of Christ in heaven. There are three practices which constitute three degrees of membership. The first consists of a daily offering of one’s prayers, good works, and sufferings, the second, of daily recitation of a decade of beads for the special intentions of the Holy Father recommended to the members every month, and the third, of the reception of Holy Communion with the motive of reparation, monthly or weekly, on days assigned. The members are also urged to observe the practice of the Holy Hour, spent in meditation on the Passion. The moderator general of the association is the General of the Society of Jesus, who usually deputes his power to an assistant. At present the Reverend A. Drive, S.J., editor of the “Messenger of the Sacred Heart”, is the deputy. He controls the organization by the aid of the editors of the “Messenger of the Sacred Heart”, in different parts of the world. At present they number thirty. In each country diocesan directors are appointed who attend to the aggregation of new centers of the League and promote its interests in their respective territories. A center may be a parish, a pious society, a religious community, a college, academy, school, or any religious or charitable institution. The priest, usually the pastor or chaplain, in charge of a center is known as the Local Director. In order to organize a center, he appoints promoters, usually one for every ten or fifteen members, who with him hold special meetings, canvass for new members, and circulate the mystery leaflets containing the monthly practices for the members. To erect a center it is necessary to obtain a diploma of aggregation which the deputy moderator issues through the editors of the “Messengers of the Sacred Heart” in their respective countries. To be a member it is sufficient to have one’s name inscribed in the register of some local center. There are now over 62,500 local centers in various parts of the world, about 6,685 of which are in the United States, 1,800 in Canada, 1,600 in England, 2,000 in Ireland, 200 in Scotland, and 400 in Australia. The Association numbers over 25,000,000 members, about 4,000,000 of whom are in the United States. In schools and academies it is usually conducted in a form suitable for the pupils, known as the pope’s militia. The members are entitled to many Indulgences.
JOHN J. WYNNE