The International Meeting of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer) is marking the 175th anniversary of the organization on June 28-29, 2019, in Rome – and the 6,00o participants were joined on the 28th by Pope Francis.
“It is good, on this day of the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to remember the foundation of our mission…it is a mission of compassion for the world, we could say a ‘journey of the heart’, that is, a prayerful journey that transforms people’s lives,” Francis told the group. “The Heart of Christ is so great that it wishes to welcome us all into the revolution of tenderness. The closeness to the Heart of the Lord urges our hearts to approach their brother with love and helps to enter into this compassion for the world.
“We are called to be witnesses and messengers of God’s mercy, to offer the world a perspective of light where darkness is, of hope where despair reigns, of salvation where sin abounds. Entering into prayer means entering into the heart of Jesus with my heart, making a way into the heart of Jesus, what Jesus feels.”
This service of the Holy See, which includes the Eucharistic Youth Movement (EYM), celebrates not only the 175th anniversary of its founding but also the 10th anniversary of the beginning of its recreation process, approved by Pope Francis five years ago.
Fr. Frédéric Fornos, SJ, International Director of this institution, appointed by the Holy Father in 2016, has emphasized that beyond the foundation of the Apostleship of Prayer in 1844 – in his words, “an event of our history” – what is being celebrated is the present as the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, today a pontifical work, after 175 years. “Our birthday leads us to thank the Lord for his faithfulness, to look at how He acts today as well as yesterday, and to open ourselves even more to his mission of compassion for the world”.
From the organizational team of the event, each national team was invited to accompany the celebration from their own countries during these two days in June or to come to Rome to unite with all the faithful in prayer and joy. More than 6,000 people from 52 delegations from Europe, America, Africa, and Asia-Oceania are in Rome to celebrate.
As indicated in its statutes, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer) reinforces its mission to mobilize Catholics through prayer and action in the face of the challenges of humanity and the mission of the Church, making their own the joys and hopes, the sorrows and anxieties of the People of God and of all humanity.
“I renew my sincere thanks to each of you for your precious activity, which flows from a heart that is truly attentive to others,” Pope Francis said. “The Apostolate of Prayer, with its worldwide network of prayer for the Pope and in communion with him, reminds us that the heart of the Church’s mission is prayer.
“Be careful: the heart of the Church’s mission is prayer. We can do many things, but without prayer, the thing is not right. The heart is prayer. I encourage you to continue with joy in the awareness of the importance and necessity of your work. You help people to have a spiritual look, a look of faith on the reality that surrounds them, to recognize what God himself works in them; it’s a great look of hope! Thank you very much!”
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network is a pontifical work. Its mission is to mobilize Catholics, through prayer and action for the challenges of humanity and the mission of the Church. These challenges, discerned by the Pope, are expressed under the form of prayer intentions which he entrusts to the entire Church. This mission is part of the dynamic of the Heart of Jesus, a mission of compassion for the world. It was founded in 1844 as the “Apostleship of Prayer”, and is present in 98 countries; it is made up of more than 35 million people. Its youth branch is EYM – the Eucharistic Youth Movement. The Pope approved new statutes in March 2018 and constituted this ecclesial service as a pontifical work. His International Director is Fr. Frédéric Fornos, S.J. More information at http://www.popesprayer.va