By Brian Harper
April 4, 2017 — When the pope kneels to pray, who does he ask God to bless?
For more than 170 years, the Apostleship of Prayer has answered that question, inviting people of faith across the globe to pray along with the Bishop of Rome. Recently renamed The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – Apostleship of Prayer, this global ministry has been a trailblazer in using the latest technology to carry out its mission.
In January 2016, the Vatican began producing videos featuring Pope Francis’ monthly prayer intentions. “The Pope Video” beautifully depicts each month’s intention — such as interreligious dialogue, care for creation, journalists, and an end to child soldiers — with the pope narrating and calling on all people of good will to join him in prayer.
Since 2003, Fr. James Kubicki, SJ, has served as U.S. director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – Apostleship of Prayer. Soon, a new U.S. director will be named to succeed Fr. Kubicki, who will become the next president of St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Reservation in western South Dakota this summer.
The following is an edited conversation with Fr. Kubicki.
Could you give an overview of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – Apostleship of Prayer’s history?
Back in 1844 in a seminary in France, Jesuit scholastics would read letters from Jesuit missionaries in India to be inspired in their studies. The scholastics began thinking, "What am I doing here in this seminary, studying philosophy, wasting my time, when I could be out there helping in the work of the Church?" Their spiritual director challenged them. He said, “Don’t wait to be an apostle. Be an apostle of prayer. Make an offering of your whole day with the prayers you’re going to pray, the Mass you participate in, your homework, your papers, the frustrations you have living with 60 other guys in a community.”
By the 1860s, one of those Jesuit students wrote a book called "The Apostleship of Prayer in League with the Sacred Heart of Jesus," combining this spirituality of daily offering with devotion to the heart of Jesus. By the 1880s, the pope saw a great resource for himself in the Apostleship of Prayer and began approving monthly prayer intentions that would go throughout the world so millions of people could pray together for one particular intention every month.
What does membership in the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network involve?
The commitment is simply to pray the daily offering and try to live it. There are various ways of making a daily offering. There are traditional prayers people like to use, that they grew up with, or new prayers. There’s no required formula that has to be followed.
And there’s no membership fee. Our hope is that as people begin praying for the pope’s intentions, they will want to be more involved in our work and help other people learn about it.
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network is also behind the Click to Pray app. How does the app work?
At the beginning of the day, a message will come with a prayer inviting you to offer your day to God and keep in mind the pope’s prayer intention for the month. In the midday period, another message comes, usually with an inspirational quote to remind you about the offering you have made. Then, at the end of the day, there’s a review question to help you make an Examen. It’s available for free in both iPhone and Android platforms.
How can someone become a member of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network?
The easiest way is to go online and enroll via our website, www.apostleshipofprayer.org. Or they can just call us at 414-486-1152.
[Source: Midwest Jesuits]
|Fr. James Kubicki, SJ, in Rome||