Meeting of Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, formerly known as the Apostleship of Prayer, continues to thrive, going from strength to strength as it celebrates 175 years since its beginning. Our biennial meeting of European Directors and co-ordinators, comprising Jesuits and lay partners and convened by International Director Fr.Frederic Fornos SJ, has just concluded in Luxembourg. The Archbishop of Luxembourg, Mgr.Jean-Clause Hollerich SJ, invited us warmly to his city and diocese; we were, of course, able to congratulate him on his naming, just a few days before, as a Cardinal by Pope Francis.
Some of our packed agenda dealt with the implications of the ten-year process of “re-creation”, which has just concluded with the approval, by the Holy Father, of the Network’s new Statutes, confirming the work as a Pontifical Service, entrusted to the Jesuits. But the first full day was one of silent retreat and guided reflection, led by members of the International Team. We looked at and prayed with the new “Way of the Heart”, our new formation programme that finds new ways of presenting the devotion to the Heart of Christ, at the heart of the Apostleship of Prayer since the very beginning in 1844.
Colleagues and friends from across Europe shared consoling reports of the progress of our Network and there was particular pleasure at the presence of delegates from countries fairly new to PWPN, such as Lithuania and Croatia. Britain and Ireland were represented respectively by Fr.Donal Neary, editor of the Messenger magazine, there with Dublin writer and blogger Gavin T.Murphy, and Fr.David Stewart, Director in London. Others shared news of the youth branch, the Eucharistic Youth Movement, which does not currently operate in Britain owing to capacity restrictions. One of the highlights was a solemn liturgy at which Cardinal-Designate Hollerich, long a supporter of the AoP/Prayer Network, used the occasion of our meeting to dedicate Luxembourg to the Heart of Christ.
Frequently, we found ourselves reflecting on the purpose of our work, our Network – to promote availability for the mission, Christ’s mission. Our purpose is never devotion for its own sake but, whenever we pray the Morning Offering, follow the Prayer Pathway or log on to Click-to-Pray or, in a few months, we are opening our hearts in readiness for our mission. The Pope’s intentions are keys for our prayer and mission and the Way of the Heart our spiritual pathway.
All good conferences allow a little time away from the data-projectors and small-group sharing. Thus we piled onto coaches to take us into the stunning city of Luxembourg and a walk along the “Grund”, the ravine of the River Alzette, that strikes through the heart of this spectacular European city. This followed an informative visit to the birthplace house of Robert Schuman at Clausen, which was a poignant moment for the group’s one British passport-holder.
What next for the Pope’s own prayer-group and the largest in the Church? For us in the territory of the British Jesuit Province, we continue to invite a growing number of Catholics and people of goodwill to unite with the Pope in his monthly Intentions, mobilising us to respond to the challenges that face humanity and the Church’s mission. More and more people are following the Prayer Pathway that we propose, that includes the Morning Offering to the Heart of Christ, whether in the traditional or more recent format. Many more each month download the Click-to-Pray App for their daily prayer, making it the fastest-growing and busiest such offering on the internet. Each month, too, our Pope Video online broadcast, in which the Holy Father personally presents that month’s Intention, attracts more “hits”. Each month there is a reflection and a Prayer-Moment published on our websites, in Britain and in Ireland, republished by a number of Dioceses in their newspapers and websites. Our prayer-book, “Living Prayer 2020”, will be available shortly. It contains a brief thought from an expert writer on that month’s Intention, a suggested daily Offering Prayer, and a handy liturgical calendar for the month, all on perforated pages that can be usefully torn out for your diary or Missal. And in October, designated by the Pope and Bishops as the “Extraordinary Month of Mission”, we are partners with Missio, the Pontifical Mission Societies, in promoting the message of missionary discipleship to as many people as possible.
Further enquiries about the Network and orders for the 2020 Living Prayer booklet or any of our prayer-cards and leaflets, may be sent to [email protected] or by leaving voicemail (including a return address) on 020 8442 5232. Reflections and prayers about the Monthly Intentions can be found on www.popesglobalprayer.net and on www.jesuit.ie , also in several Diocesan newspapers and websites. Occasionally it is possible for a speaker to attend a parish or chaplaincy to promote the network – please enquire about availability. Join us as an apostle of prayer wherever you, pray with the Pope and hundreds of thousands of others around the world and, together, make this world better!