Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Apostles for Today
May 2014

Mary, Star of the New Evangelization
    Pope Francis, in Evangelii Gaudium, begins with the call to share this “joy of the Gospel” and ultimately the joy of knowing Jesus Christ. He ends the exhortation with the place that Mary has as Star of the New Evangelization and as the Mother of the Church which evangelizes. Like Vincent Pallotti, the Pope sees Mary as central to the spirit and understanding of the new evangelization. As members of the Union of Catholic Apostolate, we recognize the same call given to us by God, Infinite Love, through the charism bestowed on our Founder .

    At the time of St. Vincent Pallotti, the challenges in the area of faith matched our own. Although there was no talk of a global society or a technological age, the widespread lack of faith was a fact both in the internal life of the Church and in the societal attitude. It went far beyond the boundaries of the Vatican and of Rome. So like us, Pallotti had to confront what existed then and there. The inspiration that God gave him included a response to the times : real people and real situations. Similar to the period of Pallotti’s call, the concrete world around us is crying out to us for a witness to the presence of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, who not only walks among us, but who walks with us in life’s journey. The task in 2014 is not different from the one that Founder faced in the 1800’s:

    -- To give new life to faith
    -- To ignite a new spark to love
    -- To launch a new thrust to unity in Christ Jesus

    Vincent envisions all of this happening with the presence of Mary in the Church, the Body of Christ, and therefore, within in our hearts as members of that Body. It is the Mary who is mother to Jesus and who now “mothers us” according to the image of her Son. It is the same Mary of Evangelii Gaudium (no. 287)who is the woman of faith and who lives and advances in faith. She is the one who with her Son walks at our side, shares our struggles and constantly surrounds us with God’s love (cf. EG no. 286).

    With the challenge before us to proclaim Jesus to the world , Mary continues to be the guiding light that points to the Holy Spirit on a journey of faith towards a destiny of service and fruitfulness (EG 287).
    Vincent presents that same light to us in the Marian icon of Nazareth as the place of the preparation of Jesus for his mission where both she and Joseph help lay the solid foundation to acquire the “true value of things” [Cf. OOCC VII, p. 112]. We live with Jesus of Nazareth in humility and in obedience to the Heavenly Father in this experience of the Holy Family – in submission to the Virgin Mother Mary and to St. Joseph his foster father [OOCC XIII, p. 129]. We seek a relationship with other apostles as members of the same Pallottine family – a family on an apostolic mission.

    With the reality of a global society that is has lost a sense of God, Mary, Queen of Apostles invites us once again to receive the Holy Spirit as on the day of Pentecost and Pallotti invites us to be with her and with the Spirit in the same Cenacle of Jerusalem – a place of divine power -- right where we are.

“Wherever I shall be, I intend to imagine myself to be
    together with all creatures in the Cenacle in Jerusalem
    where the apostles received the Holy spirit. I shall remind
    myself to renew this desire often. As the apostles were with Mary, so will I be in spirit with my beloved Mother and          Jesus. As they are my special intercessors, I am confident     that they will help me and all other creatures to receive the   abundance of the Holy Spirit.
    [OOCC X, p. 86]

    So Mary, Star of the New Evangelization, leads us as a Pallottine family to the following:

•   To say “Yes” in a Cenacle atmosphere to proclaiming Jesus to our world
•   To be present in the Cenacle of today’s Jerusalem so as to receive power
•   To join Mary at the Crucifixion within today’s society for the salvation of the world

    Finally, in our brief reflection, we come together with both Pope Francis and our Founder to take on Pallotti’s inspiration – with the help of Mary, Queen of Apostles, -- to collaborate with everyone for the greater glory of God and in every work like an evangelical trumpet calling all, inviting all, reawakening the zeal and charity of all […], so that in proportion to the various needs of the Church of Jesus Christ in all times, present and future, all may co-operate constantly and effectively with every greater zeal […] with all those evangelical undertakings of Catholic Apostolate [OOCC I, pp. 4-5].

Sr. Carmel Therese Favazzo, CSAC
Rome, Italy

Questions for personal and community reflection:

Ø   What are the similarities in the above reflection between Vincent Pallotti’s image of Mary as apostle and that of Pope Francis’ references to Mary as star of the new evangelization?
Ø   How do these images help us renew our own vocation to be apostles in the call of the Church to New Evangelization?
Ø   In what ways can we join St. Vincent’s view of Mary, Queen of Apostles with that of Pope Francis’ view of Mary as Star of the New Evangelization? What kind of action do they call for on our part to “give new life to faith, a new spark to love and a new thrust to unity” so that Jesus Christ may be known and loved by all?

Prayer [cf. Evangelii Gaudium No. 288]:

    Mary, Queen of Apostles
And Star of the New Evangelization,
Help us to bear radiant witness to communion,
Service, ardent and generous faith,
Justice and love of the poor,
that the joy of the Gospel
may reach to the ends of the earth,
illuminating even the fringes of our world.

Mother of the living Gospel,
Wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones,
Pray for us. Amen. Alleluia.

Segretariato Generale, Unione dell’Apostolato Cattolico
Piazza San Vincenzo Pallotti 204, Roma, Italia

      Dear sisters and brothers in the Union, we are happy to present to you in this newsletter a sharing about the South American Institute of Pallottine Studies, Santa Maria, Brazil, prepared by Fr. Ângelo Lôndero SAC, along with other news from the Union.


The South American Institute of Pallottine Studies was founded on February 1st 1992 in the city of Cascavel, PR, Brazil, with representatives of the Provinces/Regions of the Pallottine Priests and Brothers in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay and of the Provinces of the Pallottine Sisters in Brazil.
Given that hardly any people can go to Rome to study Vincent Pallotti and his foundation more deeply, the General Assembly of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (SAC) of 1989, the theme of which was "Together we journey: together we serve" insisted that the Provinces/Regions of the SAC establish a common programme of Pallottine formation. A centre of studies in Brazil would offer the possibility of greater participation. During the Assembly of the Santa Maria Province, held in January 1992, there was a consensus regarding the foundation of the aforementioned Institute: ISEP.
The course is run in the Colegio Maximo Palotino (Major Seminary), of Santa Maria, RS, Brazil.
The general objective of the courses in ISEP is to offer to all members of the Union of Catholic Apostolate present in South America a lived experience and a deepening of their knowledge of the life, the work, the foundation, the charism and spirituality of St. Vincent Pallotti.
Beyond the general objective, there are specific objects, such as:
1.         To facilitate direct contact with the Pallottine sources in order better to understand our mission in the Church and in the world of today.
2.         To foster reflection on and lived experience of the mission of continuers of the work of Vincent Pallotti.
3.         To promote communication and communion between members of the Union of Catholic Apostolate in Latin America.
4.         To put into practice the "return to the sources" proposed by the Second Vatican Council, to better understand the original inspiration of Vincent Pallotti.
5.         To stimulate and continue the process of conversion to the evangelical life, to pastoral conversion, which requires changes in the way of living and of carrying out pastoral work.
6.         To form multipliers of this knowledge in order to spread the charism and the spirituality of St. Vincent Pallotti.
The Institute is open to all members and supporters of the Union of Catholic Apostolate. It is a centre of Pallottine formation and of community living which aims to help in the formation of evangelisers according to the charism and spirituality of St. Vincent Pallotti.
The courses offered by ISEP are of fundamental importance for the progress of the Union of Catholic Apostolate in Latin America, according to the testimony of different participants.
The courses offered are in three stages, during the month of July. The length of the courses is from 10 to 25 days. More than 1000 people have already participated in ISEP, between lay people, sisters, brothers and priests, young people and adults, of 12 nationalities, coming from different countries and from many regions of Brazil.
Witness of participants: “The days during which I participated in the ISEP Course were, for me, inspirational and provocative, because the words which came out of the mouths of the speakers regarding St. Vincent Pallotti were so deep that my heart beat more strongly, my being became more luminous and light, and my eyes brighter. By this I want to say that Pallotti was a person totally united to God, to Jesus Christ and to Mary, as also to the poor and the sick. Now this light of Pallotti remains alight in heart, motivating me too to follow Jesus Christ, Apostle of the Eternal Father”.
“I see in the ISEP courses an effective instrument for concretising the Pallottin charism: awaken in all the consciousness that they are apostles”.
“We were challenged to bring the infinite love of God to all communities, with determination and faith. Participation in the ISEP courses has enriched us as people and as Christians, and helped us to be missionary disciples, with the apostolic zeal of St. Vincent Pallotti”.
“Through my work as an educator, ISEP has made me learn more about Vincent Pallotti and allowed a revision and an awareness of human and Christian education. What values ​​should I pass on to my students? What examples of faith, love and life are necessary in the pursuit of my highest goal, in order that the life of Jesus Christ be my fundamental rule? It was through ISEP that I could review these questions, and understand that these challenges “Education is also Evangelisation”.


In a letter dated February 25th 2014, Pope Francis appointed Fr. Jacob Nampudakam SAC to be a member of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life for a period of five years. This nomination is particularly significant since the Holy Father has dedicated 2015 as a “Year of Consecrated Life”. This significant and historical event is certainly another sign of the recognition of the Pallottine charism by the Universal Church and, at the same time, is a challenge to the entire Pallottine Family “to revive faith and rekindle charity” in our own lives as well as in the entire Church, always in the spirit of the Gospel. The Pallottine Family expresses its joy and congratulations to the Rector General and assures him of our prayerful support for his new responsibility in service of the Universal Church.


On 21 April 2014, the birthday of St. Vincent Pallotti, the new Indian "Holy Family" Province of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate was born. Fr. Jacob Nampudakam SAC led a solemn Eucharistic celebration in SS. Salvatore in Onda in gratitude to God for the new Province which was attended by a large number of members of the Pallottine Family. The General Superior, Sr. Ivete Garlet CSAC, thanked the Provincial Superior of the “Queen of Apostles” Mother Province, Sr. Sara Carfagna CSAC, and all the members in Italy for all they have done in leading the community in India with much care and vision to this day. In his homily, the Rector General emphasised the importance of maintaining the international and universal Pallottine spirit in the new Province and called on the members to remain always open to the Holy Spirit in its future development. We wish every blessing to the new Provincial, Sr M. Ligi Tottakath CSAC, to her Councillors and to all members of the new Province.


In a letter dated 3 April 2014, Pope Francis appointed Fr. Bruno Ateba Edo SAC, Regional Rector of the Most Holy Trinity Region of Cameroon and Nigeria, Bishop of the diocese of Maroua-Mokolo, Cameroon. Fr. Bruno was elected the first Regional Rector of the new Region in 2008 and is currently in his second term of office. 2014 is particularly significant for the Pallottines in Cameroon with the celebration of about 125 years of the foundation of the Catholic Church there by the Pallottines, the 100th anniversary of the death of Bishop Heinrich Vieter, founder of the Pallottine mission there, and 50 years of the return of the German Pallottines to the country. It is also the 100th anniversary of the consecration of the second Pallottine Bishop in Cameroon, Msgr Franz Henemann. The appointment of Fr. Bruno as Bishop in Cameroon can be considered a special gift of the Holy Father to the Society and to the entire Pallottine Family on this occasion. However, it will also be a very challenging responsibility, with news that two Italian priests and one Canadian religious sister were kidnapped on April 5th from that very diocese, probably by the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram which has committed atrocities in Nigeria against church goers and schoolchildren among others. We pray for their safe return and ask Mary, Queen of Apostles, Patroness of Cameroon as well as of the Union of Catholic Apostolate, and our holy Founder, St. Vincent Pallotti to accompany and guide Fr. Bruno in the exercise of his ministry as Bishop.


The annual retreat of the Union in Italy took place in the “San Vincenzo Pallotti” Spirituality Centre, Grottaferrata, outside Rome, from April 24-27, 2014. The retreat was organised by Sr. Stella Marotta CSAC and the Formation Team, with different LCCs taking turns to animate the various times of prayer and Eucharistic celebrations, and the meditations given by Fr. Reinaldo Baggio SAC of the Brazilian Sao Paolo Province, who is in charge of retreats at the centre.