Goodbye Rome! I flew out Sunday morning and with the sun chasing me across the Atlantic I landed in Philadelphia Sunday afternoon. After a bit of a layover there, I got to Milwaukee by 10 P.M., just in time for a new snowfall.
To give an idea about the meeting of the newly formed international advisory council of the Apostleship of Prayer...
The Apostleship of Prayer exists in an official way in 61 countries. In two of those countries (Ethiopia and Kenya), the national directors are Religious Sisters; in two others (Switzerland and Belgium), they are lay people. In the rest, 57 countries, the national directors are Jesuits, half of whom are over 75 years old. Of the half who are under 75, only 17 have the Apostleship of Prayer as their full-time or primary ministry. Every diocese is supposed to have a Diocesan Director of the Apostleship of Prayer who is appointed by the Bishop, but in the U.S. there are only about 24 dioceses that have such Directors. When I go around the country giving retreats and missions it is not uncommon to meet with a Bishop who knows nothing about the Apostleship.
Thus our little group met in Rome with the International Delegate and our Director General to discuss the renewal of the Apostleship. It is not something that should die. From its beginning in 1844 it has offered to people a profoundly Eucharistic way of living. We "offer up" our entire day through the Daily Offering and in that way find meaning as well as God's will in the daily routines and sufferings of life.
Here in the U.S., I see a renewal of the Apostleship of Prayer going on. A lot of that is due to the Internet, as well as radio and other media. Where in the past people became a part of the Apostleship by enrolling through their parish, today people are finding us on the Internet and becoming part of our prayer community. I won't call it a "virtual community" because it is a very real community that is connected at the deepest level possible--at the level of the heart by means of prayer.