The Love of the Filipinos

Jubilant crowd cheers His Holiness Pope Francis as the Papal convoy arrives for the welcome ceremony at the Kalayaan Grounds of the Malacañan Palace for the State Visit and Apostolic Journey to the Republic of the Philippines on Friday, 16 January 2015.
Robert Viñas, Malacañang Photo Bureau, PD, Wikipedia Commons

Papa Francisco! MAHAL NG PILIPINO!
Papa Francisco! MAHAL NG PILIPINO!
Papa Francisco! MAHAL NG PILIPINO!

The rhythm of this energetic chant is stuck in my head. It's my own fault, really, since I keep playing videos of the Pope's visit to the Philippines last week. YouTube has hours and hours of "Pope in Philippines" footage, including a nearly three-hour video of Sunday Mass and a surplus of videos of joyous chanting.

My friend Rena says the best translation of the chant's second part is "Love of the Filipinos." Pope Francis, the love of the Filipinos. How beautiful, to be beloved by a country, an entire people. "I wish I could've been in the Philippines to see Papa Francisco," Rena told me. "Based on friends' Facebook posts and testimonies, he has renewed the faith of so many Filipinos, including mine." Another friend of mine invited me to peek at her news feed, "full of posts from all my relatives about the Pope's visit."

The BBC reported that an estimated six MILLION people attended the Pope's Mass in Manila Sunday, approximately six percent of the Philippine's one hundred million citizens. (Thank you, Philippines, for making math easy!) Where were the other 94% of Filipinos Sunday? Some of them, possibly, do not share their fellow citizens' enthusiasm for Pope Francis and avoided the crowds. But much of what I have been reading from Filipino sources suggests their country's love for Pope Francis is real, and powerful.

One site I came across yesterday--which calls itself "The Go-To Site for Filipinos Everywhere"--posted this charming article by Veronica Pulumbarit: "Having a ‘Pope-hangover?’ Ten ways to cope."

The author's top ten coping mechanisms for Pope withdrawal include engaging in acts of service, praying, and saving for a trip to Rome. Imagine my delight when I came across tip number seven on Pulumbarit's list:
7. Join the official prayer arm of the Pope: the Apostleship of Prayer. This worldwide organization, which has a special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, has been around since the 1800s.

In the Philippines, every parish church has an Apostleship of Prayer organization that prays for the intentions of the pontiff every day. You can ask your parish office about how to join this group which is open to everyone, young and old alike.
Amen! Since the 1800s, the Apostleship of Prayer has served the Church as the official prayer group of the Pope. Millions of Apostles of Prayer greet each day with a Morning Offering prayer, joining their hearts to the Heart of Jesus and remembering the prayer intentions of the Pope.

Pope Francis recently approved the "Re-creation documents" of the worldwide Apostleship of Prayer, which was launched by the Society of Jesus in 1844 and has been under the Jesuits’ care ever since.

In a letter to Jesuits on the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, Superior General, wrote that the process of writing the new document, entitled “Journeying with Jesus in Apostolic Availability,” was “accompanied by frequent consultation with the Holy Father.” The document and letter can be found on the U.S. Apostleship of Prayer web site here

According to Fr. Nicolas, “the Apostleship of Prayer proposes to the people of God that they consecrate the whole of their day to the Lord, starting from the first waking hour.” He goes on to say: “Its aim is to create a global network of prayer for the needs of the Church and the world. It is a simple and practical method for ‘thinking with the Church’ by means of prayer for the deep longings of the world with all its joys and sorrows. It makes prayer a true service and an aid to those who are striving daily to meet the world’s challenges.”

The document and recreation process, like the New Evangelization, seek to “speak a new language which will touch the hearts of people and help them unite with the heart of the Lord.”

The U.S. office, located in Milwaukee, WI, has been at the forefront of the renewal of what has been called “The Pope’s Prayer Group.” Through retreats, talks, and missions, along with many printed materials for people of all ages and a strong presence on social media and Catholic radio, the U.S. Apostleship of Prayer is considered a model of the re-creation.

AoP membership cards for children and for adults
Is it time for you to become a card-carrying member of the Apostleship of Prayer? Pray about it, naturally, then contact us! Other inspiring members of the AoP include Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, and Pope St. John Paul II. What a prayer group! 

1501 S. Layton Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53215-1924

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Twitter: @aposprayer