Communion, Collaboration, and Co-Responsibility within the Union and outside - Presentation to the 2nd United States National UAC Congress by Ms. Donatella Acerbi, President of the Union of Catholic Apostolate.
June 23, 2018
Dear Participants in the 2nd US National UAC Congress, brothers and sisters!
First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and joy to the NCC and its President, Fr. Greg Serwa, who wished, in their goodness, to invite me here and share a few thoughts on communion, collaboration, and co-responsibility within the Union and outside.
Also a special word of thanks to Duke and the Organizing Committee.
It’s an honour for me to be present on behalf of the global Pallottine Family. I see it as a sign that bears witness to the growth of communion among us, an enduring fruit that only the Spirit of God, through the intercession of St. Vincent Pallotti, can give.
And the awareness that in our Pallottine Family all its vocations, congregations, institutes, groups, individuals, communities and activities constitute a richness and are not a reason for fear or division, can become a sign of joyful hope for the universal Church.
Therefore I am also grateful to all those here in the States who worked and have been working for promoting the communion of all Pallottines in the charism of our Founder. In a special way we all here want to remember with gratitude Fr. Noel for being such a precious witness to Pallotti’s spirit.
Those people were and are being urged on by the convinction that it’s in unity that we can see more clearly our responsibility in facing the challenges of humanity, since - quoting Pope Francis’ words - “the Union of the Catholic Apostolate, is the bearer of the charism of Saint Vincent Pallotti” and this charism “opens new horizons for participation in the mission of the Church”  .
In recent months, since the General Assembly in January, the GCC in April and after various meetings and dialogues I’ve had with members of the Union in Rome and worldwide and also with the 3 Superior Generals, I reflected on what communion and co-responsibility really demands from me and from us, when it comes to communicate a lived-out experience.
Here are some aspects that stand out for me, and that I’d like to share with you:
1. Pallottine spirituality - that is the experience of the Holy Spirit in Pallotti – is our peculiar way of translating Christian faith into life, our peculiar way of living Christian life: all can be apostles/disciples, witnesses of Christ, all are called and are calling others to sanctity. And sanctity is to live our call to the full.
Pallottine spirituality puts vocations (married life, religious life, priesthood, lay consecration) in the right place. In fact our ideal is not to get married, not to be a priest, not to be a religious or a lay-consecrated.
Our ideal is God, and God is Love. We must be love as God is love. Vincent Pallotti did this: "My God I am without charity: You are charity in essence ... My Jesus destroy all of my Life. Give me your Charity, and make me live, and be transformed into your Charity".
If - in who I am and what I do - I give too much importance to my own vocation, if my Ideal is being a consecrated lay-woman, I will clothe myself with something that can deviate others from recognizing Christ as the Life of my and anyone else’s life.
So, at the centre of Pallotti’s charism there is always Love, infinite love and mercy, and it incarnates in every vocation.
In particular, when I met with the pallottine spirituality in 1974, I was fascinated by those words of his that can be read as the synthesis of all of his actions: the practical exercise of charity.
As an Italian, I grew up in a Catholic setting; I knew that the Gospel was read and meditated on in church, but this saint suggested that I put it into practice. I tried it out and, like you, made a discovery: living the Gospel meant to exercise charity practically, to let Jesus live within me. (in my case, I wanted to change society but the first surprise was that the Gospel was changing me.)
2. The second aspect concerns our fundamental attitude. We must make a distinction between God’s gift – which is the charism – and ourselves. We all know that the charism per se is God’s, it belongs to Him. It’s not ours, not even St. Vincent’s. He and we, his children, are its bearers.
Last July I was in Canada. While visiting the Museum in Calgary of the well-known Canadian Mounted Police with Maria Domke and Fr. Rosenbaum, I was struck by the words with which the Indian Chief, Little Crowfoot, opposed the colonizers who wanted his tribe to barter their pastures in exchange of alcohol and weapons.
He said: no, the land does not belong to us; we belong to the land.
We can say that too when speaking of the Pallottine charism. It belongs completely to everyone. So no one can say, “This part does not belong to me”, nor “This part belongs to me”. It belongs completely to everyone. The UAC is all just one heart, there are not two or more hearts. In Pope Francis’ language, those who are at the centre and those who are at the peripheries, form this one heart.
I think this is something really beautiful that pushes us with more courage to find the joy of going forth into the world, fully trusting in God, and be creative in the face of every present and future challenge. For love, in the words of Saint Vincent, is infinitely creative: “The pious Union does not have a new objective, but the eternal law of charity”.
This is very healthy because it enables communion amongst us and helps us to build up relationships grounded on mutual respect and recognition of each other’s gifts and dignity; it also helps us not to be discouraged when we see that we are not at the level of the charism.
It is very important to set off again with new trust in God’s gift. We will never reach it, but, nonetheless, God - through our Founder - has called us, and gave the charism to us.
This is the first idea, which is also important for all works in the Church after the death of their founder, because the dazzling light that came from the founder is absent and we see who we are. Personally my conviction is that as members of the Union we should be focusing on our responsibility to draw always on the “source” of the charism, which is Pallotti, his life, his words and all he did as founder of the UAC.
And also to be attentive to the issues of the world that require new understanding and new responses from us, with the courage to express that which is in the charism that has not yet been expressed.
3. A third aspect concerns our service to the Church and society. As you all know, from 2015 to today I’ve been to many countries where the Pallottine Family is present: Brazil and the Amazons, Poland, Ireland, Germany, Congo, Rwanda, Italy and London, India, USA, Ukraine, Canada, Australia.
Everywhere I’ve met persons (priests, brothers, sisters, laity, seminarians and candidates, sick, elderly) who live in an intense way their conviction and commitment to follow Jesus and attract others to Him, calling all and uniting the efforts of all in service of the Church, in service of humanity.
And they are not super-talented, nor are they born perfect. Imitating their Founder, St. Vincent Pallotti, they have recognized God’s infinite love and they have been following it and serving others ever since.
From them I’ve learnt that there is no other path for following Christ than living alongside the brother or sister that the Lord places beside us. Simply put, discipleship/evangelization is first and foremost about the other, not about the disciple/evangelizer.
This is ultimately what St. Vincent meant with the expression “being a co-founder” of his work. I gratefully acknowledge that the gift of the Holy Spirit is still at work here and today.
In all of those places, among many wonderful things, I’ve seen a much wounded humanity because of:
- war: in Ukraine, in Congo and in Rwanda;
- injustice and poverty: in the Amazons and in the Brazilian favelas;
- marginalization or abuses on minors: in Congo and in Italy; on the sick and disabled: in Poland and in the leprosarium in India;
- exploitation of indigenous populations: in Canada and in Australia;
- denial of quality life to refugees and asylum seekers: in Germany, USA, Australia, Italy.
This has meant to me to get to know the history of a people through the light of truth, to get to know from within the true causes of all unjustifiable suffering.
For example, on my first day in Keshero, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Fr. Eugène took me to the orphanage “La Flamme d’Amour” (“The Flame of Love). I can never forget the innumerable children that had found love in that extremely poor shelter. They welcomed me with their smiles, kisses, hugs, dances, songs and highly improbable musical instruments. When I saw them, I thought of a famous passage in a book describing a man in Auschwitz who had taken his life by hanging himself and had on him a piece of wood with these words written on it: where is God?
Looking in those children’s eyes I realized that question didn’t fit the scene I had before my eyes. It had to be rephrased. God was here and had made home at the Flame of Love and wherever there be an individual or a people that suffers as a living image of the crucifix.
The question therefore cannot be Where is God?, but: where is Man? where are we? where am I? Why does man - who is created in the image and likeness of God - make other human beings – them too, living images of God – live a life of poverty, injustice, starvation, despair?
Most certainly I’ve learnt that the true causes of every unjustifiable suffering are not habitually communicated through the official media. When listening to and seeing how the members of UAC are involved in these “peripheries” serving their neighbours, I realized two things:
a. Serving the needy, those who suffer means to serve the truth and “unveil” through the practical exercise of love the lies of the rich and powerful. This is the revolutionary courage of unselfish love;
b. Being an apostle/disciple means to become one with every neighbour’s suffering unreservedly, for their sake and for God’s sake.
4. Then the subject of co-responsibility in communion and for communion. What kind of co-responsibility today, or how to understand coresponsibility anew? We know that Pope Francis speaks frequently about the model of the Church as a polyhedron, where all the faces of the polyhedron have their own role and there is not a dogmatic uniformity imposed by central management.
I believe and I am convinced that reading st. Vincent Pallotti’s writings and seeing what he did, everything ... we are a Public Association particularly suited to this model. Because the model of communion is just that, as Pallotti always said. It is a trinitarian model, where every part is important. It is not that there is no leadership, or no centre, but it is not a centre that makes everything uniform.
And Pallotti did a great many things of this kind, which were polyhedric. The plurality of missions, vocations and commitments in our Union often brings a rich and unexpected new understanding of particular aspects of our charism.
5. The centrality of collaboration from the beginning. This is certainly a priority of our Founder and one of the key words in his writings. For our Founder, all are called to collaboration, not just like-minded people.
On 9 April 1835, he made the first list of members of the new Foundation. From the beginning, the composition of the list itself gives us an interesting insight into the context of collaboration. There were 10 priests (diocesan and religious) and 6 lay faithful. Altogether there were 12 Italians, 1 English, 1 French, 1 from Iraq, 1 Basilian Abbot from Armenia; there were three rites - a universal group that could only function in the spirit of collaboration and co-responsibility.
One can say that Pallotti's primary idea was God's call to all to collaborate with Him and with each other. His secondary idea was to apply this ideal to any concrete apostolate. He did not mean us to cling to structures. In Novo Millennio Ineunte - At the Beginning of the New Millennium - (2001) St. John Paul II concludes n. 43 with a relevant warning: “Let us have no illusions: unless we follow this spiritual path, external structures of communion will serve very little purpose. They would become mechanisms without a soul, ‘masks ’ of communion rather than its means of expression and growth”.
There are clear echoes of our Founder here: “...love, and if love is missing, the entire moral body, which was founded through divine mercy for the good of people and for the greater glory of God, will collapse” (OOCC VI, 438).
Furthermore, collaboration is a cardinal point we need in order to offset a long history of the separate development of Institutes, communities, vocations in the UAC. In the General Statutes, collaboration is set out as one of the key priorities of the Local, National and General Coordination Councils.
In this regard the General Statutes encompass a unifying vision of all the faces of our polyhedric Union and enable us to discover new insights on our charism. No one Institute, community, or person, can fully define our charism. This in turn leads us to think of all others, and of our entities “as integral part of me”.
6. Two final aspects: one on formation and the other on creative faithfulness.
- Regarding formation, it is important to form and be formed to use the three languages of the mind, of the heart and of the hands together. It is necessary to learn to think well, to listen well and to work well. Work too, because work is not only a means of living, but is something inherent to our being human persons, and therefore also a means for knowing reality, understanding life.
From the Enlightenment we have inherited this unhealthy idea that formation means filling the head with concepts. And the more you know, the better you will be. No, formation must touch the mind, the heart and the hands.
Forming ourservels and others to think well, not just to learn concepts, but to think well; forming ourservels and others to empathize well; forming ourservels and others to do good. In such a way that these three languages are interconnected.
- Creative faithfulness enatils the challenge of being faithful to the original inspiration and together being open to the breath of the Holy Spirit and setting out on the new paths that he inspires. And this requires humility, openness, a synodal attitude (as Pope Francis would say), a capacity to risk.
But how can we meet and follow the Holy Spirit as Union at the local, national, international level? By practicing discernment as a community. That is, by gathering in the spirit of the Cenacle to hear what the Spirit tells us today as a Christian community (cf. Rev 2:7) and to discover together, in this atmosphere, the call that God lets us hear in the historical situation in which we are living the Gospel.
Francis invites us today to become artisans of community discernment. It is not easy to do this, but we must do so if we wish to have this creative faithfulness to Pallotti’s charism and if we wish to be docile to the Spirit for the service of the Church and of society.
We, Pallottine Family, are still at the beginning of our journey, at the start of everything. This being at the start means that we must look ahead, that we must do something to move forward.
We must get together to beat the challenge of this world which needs the Gospel, which is in extreme need of seeds of Gospel life that then grow and transform it. And we can do it by handing on to others our experience of communion.
Our charism is a powerful help and encouragement for us. The charism is a gift of God, so we mustn’t feel proud about having received this charism, but with humility we must be aware of the charism and do all we can to hand it on to the Church and the society around us.
I think that for the Union at this time the irreversible path to faithfully follow Pallotti’s experience of the Spirit is to renew our personal and communal commitment to be united as brothers and sisters, and to love one another as Jesus loved us to the end.
Mary will intercede for us and accompany us on the journey to be united with God and among us so that we may find Him always in our brothers and sisters.
Thank you for listening.
 cf. Pope Francis, Address to Participants in the General Chapter of the SAC, 10 October 2016
 OOCC X, 674-5
 OOCC IV, 317
 “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches”
On 31 May, Fr. Jacob Nampudakam celebrated his 40th Pallottine Consecration Anniversary.
1. Matthew 4:1-3a: Jesus spent 40 days in the dessert: What have been some of your greatest trials in 40 years?
Two main trials:
First, I am always in favour of life. Following Deuteronomy 30, 19-20, I had to make a choice between blessing or curse, life or death. God challenges us to choose life.
In life we find hope; the ability to live in wonder, nurture in love, and not despair. Hence when members show a spirit of defeatism and negativity- without making efforts to create life- it is challenging. Nothing is achieved by being chronically negative. “Rather, the one who loves Christ is full of joy and radiates joy,” as Pope Francis reminds us.
Second, when members become instruments of disunity rather than unity; allowing themselves to be guided by worldliness instead of the Spirit. This is the antithesis of Jesus Christ, who tells us that His Kingdom is not of this world. Following anything other than the Spirit will lead to confusion and destruction; a problem which then takes root in the afflicted person’s heart. Thus, internal problems become external situations, which are very difficult to handle.
2. Joshua 5:6 The Israelites walked 40 years in the desert: What has been your greatest moment of trusting the Lord?
“Abandon yourself to God,” St. Vincent tells us, “with perfect confidence and do not fear.” In breathing these words, we are graced with the bravery God willingly gives to go forth and proclaim the Gospel to all creation. We can also use such words to explain two of our missions, Peru and Vietnam. If we lived in the world, we would say such ambitions were impossible, as they were taken up by entities with very few members. Yet instead they are flourishing; for in our steadfast courage and faith, the Lord blessed us in a hundredfold.
The moral of the story is this: trust the Gospel. Take no purse, no haversack. He is with you.
Another element of surprise was my election as Rector General. It’s not easy to break the frontiers and boundaries set by International Congregations, but when the fresh air of the Spirit blows through the windows, thy will be done.
3. Jesus remained on earth 40 days after his Resurrection: What is your hope and mission, father, for the remainder of your term as Rector General, as well as the remainder of your time as Jesus' anointed one on his earthly pilgrimage?
First goal: Make our holy founder known and loved by as many as possible; to offer his charism of the Union of the Catholic Apostolate in service of the Church’s mission.
Second goal: Give the compass to God, listen to the cries of His people, and “be led forth with peace” (Isaiah 55:12) to the peripheries. May we be the soul that God brings to their feet, so that they may have the life in abundance He has promised.
In all my journeys, what my eyes have seen cannot leave me unaffected. But in each, the open wound of my heart remains the same: for the innocent children who are deprived of love, laughter, family, medicine, education… human dignities that no person on this earth should be denied. We all have equal rights for the blessings given to us by the Creator. To live in luxury disregarding the poor around us- like the parable of the rich man and Lazarus- would be the greatest sin of a Christian.
We are all poor before God.
4. 40 is seen as a generation in the Bible. What has changed in the Society and Missions? What has been made better/worse?
Everything changes. We try to discern and respond to the signs of the times. Yes, the Society has grown. We have reached out to as many as 56 countries around the world. There are about 2400 members in the Society, and then, of course, the entire Pallottine Family.
The scenario in the Church and all the religious Congregations is changing; and it’s moving south.
Though this makes no difference; I believe it matters little where we are growing or diminishing in any part of the world. The Church is one body of Christ. Through the consecration we make, we become members of the Society. As so often said by me on visitations, we may be Italians, Germans, Polish, Brazilians, Indians etc., but we are all Pallottines, and one family.
I do not believe in lamenting over the decline in one part of the world or rejoicing too much about the growth elsewhere. Such things happened in the past and continue to happen today. Tomorrow has not yet come. The Spirit moves where it wills! Success or failure – let history judge us.
5. As this generation ends, God makes another anew, just as the papacy of Francis is evermore on target with the teachings of Pallotti in Gaudete. How will you lead us in following his papal mission?
The greatness of any Christian must be measured by his or her fidelity to the life of Jesus as we encounter him in the Gospel. For me, Pope Francis is someone who lives the Gospel in its radicality. The will of God is our sanctification.
There are 3 similarities between our holy founder and Francis:
1. The life of Jesus as the fundamental rule of life and apostolate;
2. A poor Church for the poor;
3. Go forth to the peripheries of human life.
These three steps are only possible when the first is achieved: Encounter the person of Jesus in the Gospel on a daily basis.
6. India: You are the first non-European Rector General. What have been the changes over 40 years you have seen in your country?
While India as a country is slowly coming of age, what strikes me is the tremendous contribution that the minority Church- 2% of the Catholic population- is making to the Universal Church. In our Society- and the Pallottine Family as a whole- the growth in India is tremendous. No doubt, we are not talking about a perfect situation in all areas, just as in any other part of the world.
The unique contributions of the Indian Pallottines are most fruitful where we are able to be faithful to our rich, spiritual traditions and work zealously to be instruments of peace and communal harmony. The 58 schools run by the Pallottines, with thousands of teachers and students from all religions, could serve as the best instrument to promote unity and peace in a world divided by religious disharmony.
The One Almighty and Loving God is the Creator of every human person created in His own image and likeness. The ability to respect and love every human being, regardless of his nationality, culture or creed, and be able to see the face of God on each person, will make us universal human beings. The future of the Society, the Church, and the world itself will depend much on this ability to go to the most profound ontological and existential level and be universal persons.
Building walls is a sign of innate fear and insecurity. Having grown up in a multi-religious context in India, where we played and grew up with Hindu, Muslim and Sikh youngsters, it does not frighten me to deal with one of a different faith. Experiences mould us. Let’s open up as a Society and work for the common good. But firstly, let’s open up our hearts. That is exactly the work of the Holy Spirit; who opened up the newly founded Church on the day of Pentecost.
Fr. Judinei Vanzeto SAC
In the Year of the Laity, around 200 Pallottines from various regions of the country participated in the IV National Meeting of the Union of Catholic Apostolate (UAC). It was held from May 31- 3 June, in the parish of St. Judas Tadeu in Campo Grande (MS), following the theme "Pallottines: Church in Mission", promoted by the National Coordination Council of AUC.
According to Fr. Gilberto Orsolin, the UAC National Coordinator, the meeting’s objective was deepening the fraternal coexistence of the members through formation, spirituality, deepening and sharing of the experience of the Pallottine charism.
During the program, the following discussions took place:
Promotion of the social doctrine of the Church (Fr. Denilson Geraldo)
Value of silence for personal integration (Fr. Valdeci de Almeida)
Theology of the Cenacle in Saint Vincent Pallotti (Edgar Xavier Ertl),
Christian's motivation for living and witnessing to the faith (Mr. Daniel Godri)
Jesus Christ, Apostle of the Eternal Father (Father Angelo Londero)
UAC an apostolic family - foundation linked to the experience of Christ (Jos. Giuliani)
Mission of the Church and Pallottine mission (Fr. Daniel Rocchetti)
The celebration on the third day was presided by Dimas Lara Barbosa, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Campo Grande.
Fr. Denilson Geraldo, the General Councilor, brought a greeting from the General Council of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate.
"We want the charism of St. Vincent Pallotti to shine like a light in a world marked by darkness, hatred and divisions. We see the charism of our founder, as experienced by members of the UAC, a work of the Holy Spirit and light for today’s world.” He also read a message from UAC president Ms. Donatella Accerbi, Rome.
The Pallottine Bishop of the Diocese of Palmas / Francisco Beltrão (PR), Rev. Edgar Xavier Ertl, spoke on Cenacle theology, and stated that the foundation of St. Vincent Pallotti has a specific starting point.
"The Church was born in the Upper Room, where the Lord breathed the Holy Spirit and the disciples went out into the world. Our founder developed a theology from the Cenacle and placed his foundation under the patronage of Our Lady Queen of Apostles, which promotes the unity of prayer and the derivation the entirety of our mission," he explained.
For laywoman Maria Antonia Pereira de Souza, from Teresina (PI), the distance was a great challenge, but her experience surpassed all expectations. "Due to the distance, we wondered if it would be worth participating. We feel it has certainly paid off regarding the renewal of our faith, as well as the knowledge and conviction that the charism of Saint Vincent Pallotti is also ours. This fills us with joy, and leads us to spread love and leave our post,"she shared.
According to Father Gilberto, the preparation time for the meeting was over one year; organized by the National Council, Local Councils, parishes and communities. "The Meeting was excellent for the content, experiences, prayers, celebrations, sharing, learning and fulfilled with its objective. In the lectures we raised several aspects that we must emphasize from now on. For example, to dedicate ourselves more in the Pastoral Care of the Family, youth, caring for the elderly, children, and especially the poor. We feel a great lack of Christian formation. Pallotti did not form Pallottines. He wanted us to have an experience with Jesus Christ to witness it. Being a witness of Jesus Christ is the great message we carry, "Orsolin said.
At the closing Eucharistic celebration, presided over by Fr Gilberto Orsolin, 11 lay and lay people made the Apostolic Commitment to the UAC. Furthermore, a large number renewed their commitment. This act consists in the awareness of living his/her baptism better with his/her family, the community and- above all- in society, according to St. Vincent Pallotti’s spirituality. In the concluding homily, Orsolin highlighted only one point as a practical commitment: caring for the elderly. "The elderly are disregarded and invisible in society. Let's take on an elderly and sick person. It is a great concrete gesture that enriches us in humanity. We will invite young people to have an experience with the elderly,” he said with strong hope.
On 1 June, the Catholic Apostolate Center and our Director, Fr. Frank Donio, S.A.C., were honored with the Gaudium et Spes Award from the National Association for Lay Ministry (NALM) at an awards luncheon jointly hosted by NALM and National Conference of Catechetical Leadership (NCCL).
The award recognizes an outstanding individual or organization for promoting understanding of the Church in the world according to the vision of Vatican II. It is the highest honor that the association can bestow. Although the award has been given eighteen times since its inception in 1989, NALM has only recognized an individual and an organization together once before.
Fr. Frank and the Center were chosen for this award because of the extensive collaboration they engage in through his ministry as a Pallottine priest and the work of the Center. The Center was recognized for its ability to provide extensive resources to individuals and ministries so that many can revive faith, rekindle charity, and form apostles.
National Association for Lay Ministry
Gaudium et Spes Award
Catholic Apostolate Center
and Fr. Frank Donio, S.A.C.
June 1, 2018
On behalf of the entire Catholic Apostolate Center team working on three continents, I wish to thank Deacon Keith Davis, his predecessor as Board Chair, Mark Erdosy, the National Association for Lay Ministry Board of Directors and the members of NALM for this Gaudium et Spes Award.
In recognizing the Center and me, you are also recognizing the charism of St. Vincent Pallotti. He believed that all are called to be apostles and created in Rome in 1835 a co-responsible and collaborative association of lay people, religious, and clergy called the Union of Catholic Apostolate; whose mission was and is to be what he called “an evangelical trumpet, perpetually calling everyone and awakening the zeal and charity of all the faithful” (OOCC I, 4-5). You are also recognizing my fellow members of the Immaculate Conception Province of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, the Pallottine Fathers and Brothers, who as a Province have an almost seventy-year commitment to lay apostolate and after Vatican II to lay ministry as well, including founding the Catholic Apostolate Center in 2011 as an official ministry of the Province. Finally, and very importantly, you are recognizing the team of mostly young adults who comprise the staff of the Catholic Apostolate Center.
The Center, while not a young adult organization, is an organization that is open and welcoming to young adults. We provide accompaniment and mentorship and show how that can be done not only with peers, but with all in Church leadership. We welcome and utilize the creativity of young adults and provide leadership opportunities. All of this is also done in collaboration with many Church entities such as the USCCB, various national Catholic organizations, including all the sponsoring groups of this conference, dioceses, movements, and associations as well long-serving professionals in ministry.
We use collaborative and technological means to accomplish our mission to provide formative evangelization resources for active Catholics to help them become apostles or missionary disciples sent to assist others in encountering Jesus Christ and the Church. We develop greater collaboration and co-responsibility among Catholic leaders. We do this through living our vision that comes to us from St. Vincent Pallotti – reviving faith, rekindling charity, and forming apostles. Our hope is that our model of a Catholic organization, ever open to the initiative of the Holy Spirit, can assist others in moving beyond “We have always done it this way” (Evangelii Gaudium, 33), while at the same time keeping continuity with the tradition and teachings of the Church.
Again, many thanks to the National Association for Lay Ministry for this recognition. We promise to deepen our efforts to assist the Church in its “duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel” (Gaudium et Spes, 4).
May the Charity of Christ urge us on!
Annual Meeting of the General Coordination Council of the Union
Rome, April 21st ˗ 25th, 2018.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
We, the members of the General Coordination Council of the Union of Catholic Apostolate, meeting at the Casa La Salle, Fratelli delle Scuole Cristiane, Rome, from April 21st to 25th, 2018, send you our warm greetings in the spirit of Saint Vincent Pallotti.
We are happy to share this message with you, a fruit of communion and coresponsibility in the Pallottine charism.
Our meeting began on the very significant date of April 21st, the birthday of our Founder who accompanied us during the meeting.
The Holy Spirit gathered this Council in service of the Union, and we recognise that, before all else, the Union is a gift received from God; the task of each one of us today is to live this gift with responsibility and commitment, by reaching out to and serving the people of God.
Pope Francis invites all of us to get our hands dirty in serving others.
We wish to remain close and attentive to people, walking with them in their lived social, family, personal and faith experience. We want to touch their hearts in order to help them to fully perceive and live out their call, the place prepared for them by God in the Church and the world.
In order to accomplish all of this, it is necessary to live with the same passion which Jesus had, as did Saint Vincent Pallotti in his time with the first companions of our Union and with those from every existential periphery.
We are all invited, in communion, to renew our sense of belonging to the Union every day.
This will lead us to grow in collaboration and unity in order to give credible and effective witness in our life and mission.
On April 23rd, the birthday of Elisabetta Sanna, the first lay member of the Union to be beatified, the General Coordination Council re-elected Ms. Donatella Acerbi President of the Union and elected Fr. Gilberto Orsolin Vice President. We assure them of our closeness, our collaboration and our prayers.
The succeeding days saw the renewing of the International Commissions which are tasked with helping all members and collaborators of the Union in their particular mission.
This week dedicated to the Good Shepherd made clear to us once more the need to invest in interpersonal relationships, taking on His very gaze and care, especially towards the least and most needy of all.
During this meeting, the enduring timeliness and spiritual richness of our Founder once again came to light, which are reflected in the Apostolic Exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate” on the universal call to holiness.
Our Pallottine charism, today, is in fact seen to be a model in the Church and opens new horizons, in particular between charismatic families (cf. Pope Francis, Letter to All Consecrated People, III, November 1st, 2014).
In this way, we are invited to live the charism as a gift for the Church, being in the Union and for the Union. This is our path to being disciples of Jesus Christ in the Church and the world.
We would like to conclude our message with the words of Pope Francis, quoted in the homily of Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, SAC, Ecclesiastical Assistant of the Union, during the opening Mass:
“Being poor of heart: that is holiness .
Reacting with meekness and humility: that is holiness .
Knowing how to mourn with others: that is holiness .
Hungering and thirsting for righteousness: that is holiness .
Seeing and acting with mercy: that is holiness .
Keeping a heart free of all that tarnishes love: that is holiness .
Sowing peace all around us: that is holiness .
Accepting daily the path of the Gospel, even though it may cause us problems: that is holiness ”.
(Gaudete et Exsultate, In the light of the Master).
To all of the members, collaborators, friends and benefactors of the Union of Catholic Apostolate:
Heartfelt greetings from Rome!
The new General Coordination Council of the Union is holding its first annual meeting in the Casa La Salle, Fratelli Scuole Cristiane, Via Aurelia 476, 00165 Rome, from the 21st to the 25th of April 2018.
On Monday April 23rd, this Council re-elected Ms. Donatella Acerbi as President, and elected Fr. Gilberto Orsolin, SAC, as Vice President. The re-election of Donatella was confirmed today, April 24th, by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, as required by the General Statutes (Art. 82 §2).
Through the intercession St. Vincent Pallotti, we ask God's blessing on Donatella and Fr. Gilberto so that guided by the Holy Spirit they may work together fruitfully and joyfully to build up the Kingdom of Christ in the Church and the world. Heartfelt thanks and every blessing to the outgoing Vice President, Fr. Frank Donio SAC for his years of dedicated service on the GCC and as Vice President.
Fr. Rory Hanly SAC
April 21-25, 2018
Lord God, we pray for the annual meeting of the General Coordination Council.
May it be a true experience of the Cenacle, of being united with You and with one
another in the love and power of the Spirit of Jesus, Your Risen Son, sustained by
the accompaniment of Our Lady Queen of Apostles, of St. Vincent Pallotti, of
Blessed Elisabetta Sanna, Józef Stanek and Józef Jankowski.
Help us to grow in faithfulness to Jesus' prayer that we be one, as He and You,
Father, are one, and to live ever more generously his new commandment to love
one another as He loves us.
We ask You to free us from any blindness, so that we may see and love each other
with Your eyes and Your heart, as brothers and sisters, each created in the image
and likeness of God and continually recreated in the image and likeness of God-
with-us, Emmanuel, Jesus Christ Your Son.
Give us hearts capable of reading deeply the signs of the times concerning the
Union at this point in its history, and of responding generously, courageously and
creatively to the issues and concerns that our Pallottine Family is facing in its
mission to be of true and humble service to the universal and local Church and
Grant us the spirit of discernment, so that all that we do may be guided by You,
that our decisions may be the expression of nothing other than Your Will for the
Union at this time for the building up of Your Kingdom in the Church and the wider
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit,
through the intercession of Mary, Queen of Apostles, and of St. Vincent Pallotti.
Cenacle Sisters Bilaspur
This congregation is a Pious Association founded by Rev. Fr. Tomy Churathil SAC and Rev. Mother Chandrika, on September 8, 2002; following the spirituality and life of St. Vincent Pallotti. The best source to find out more about this young yet thriving community is from Mother herself.
Our Motto: “Burning with love to heal the brokenhearted”; in the same magnitude of St. Vincent Pallotti. The Cenacle always leads us to the mission of spiritual animation and of communion with the Church, the body of Christ, and the whole creation.
Our Charism: Our charism is to strive towards one’s own renewal and to work for the perennial renewal of the people of God, especially the clergy, religious and laity, after the example of Mary, Queen of the Cenacle.
Our Vision: Led and directed by the Holy Spirit to build up cenacle communities of faith and love which heal, renew, and sustain individual persons, families and groups. Jesus is the Apostle of the Eternal Father and every baptized person is an apostle of Jesus Christ. The CSSH want to promote this co-responsibility of all the baptized to be apostles of Jesus the Apostle to carry on the mission He has entrusted to His Church.
Being in the Cenacle: To be in the Cenacle means to be in union- we want to be together, to be one heart and mind, to be like Mary, an extraordinary apostle, and to be an apostle of Jesus Christ. Every baptized person is called to be an apostle. Remaining in the Cenacle we experience the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, which in turn helps us to go out as empowered apostles to make more to build up communities of faith and love, bringing out more co-operation and collaboration in the Church, in order to carry out the work of the Catholic Apostolate.
At present, four of our Sisters are at the service of the Peruvian people in collaboration with the Immaculate Conception Province, USA, and St. Paul Province, Brazil, and other Sisters in six provinces in India. We have 17 perpetually professed Sisters, 24 Junior Sisters, 15 pre-novices 10 Postulants and 24 candidates at different levels of their formation.
There is also much communion and co-responsibility with Priests and Religious, families, and the young people of our time. We preach a 40 day retreat for religious, and the Sisters are involved in regular visits to families. In most of our communities we also have 24/7 Adoration.
As the days pass by, the Cenacle spirituality and the spirituality of St. Vincent Pallotti become more and more clear to us. We learn that the whole universe is waiting to become one with the Blessed Trinity.
“If there is one thing to be said about Jesus,” Pope Francis says, “it is precisely His capacity to welcome.” What happens, though, when the one that stems from wealth is undeservedly on the receiving end? When the one who is well nourished is given tea with milk, while the bones of the little ones running around have a far greater need for the calcium? When the one who visits for ten minutes can do nothing but wrap her arm around the child, praying he is shielded with his innocence for as long as the Lord deems it possible?
With all of my heart, I can tell you that it is a most painful humility; for it was I who was that stranger, and they- your Pallottine Fathers and UAC members in Delhi- welcomed me into their homes. At Mary Queen of the Apostles Church, under the pastoral care of Fr. George Thattamparambil SAC and Fr. Bibin Sebastian SAC of the Epiphany Province, they are the very Church that Pope Francis seeks to intensify; “a field hospital after battle,” with “the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful.” The UAC flock they shepherd “allows us to meet Jesus; not so much with words but [their] whole life. And [they] bear witness to the importance of small gestures, within everyone’s reach, that help to build peace, reminding us that we are brothers and sisters, and God is the Father of us all.”
As our founder writes, “it is Jesus who brings love to wherever there is want and need,” which is precisely why He carried the Pallottine Fathers to Sangam VIhar, Delhi, in July 1997. On September 7 of that year Mass was publicly celebrated for the first time in a two room house, where over 70 people came to receive the Eucharist; the following Sunday, even more. These heavenly fruits from the Holy Spirit continued to multiply each time bread was broke, and in 1998 a larger structure was quickly built to accommodate its needs. However, the structure now seen today was only recently blessed on November 5, 2016.
Though perhaps what truly allows Fr. George and Fr. Bibin to press their fingers to the “flesh of Christ” is the St. Vincent Pallotti School they run. Its classrooms house 385 of God’s most precious children, who though come from the slums, are a gift from above. They ran into my arms as if I was Pallotti himself, offering me their extra pencils and hair clips, anything in their capable and immediate grasp to shower upon me. How many times- I thought to myself- did I refuse the brother of my own blood a piece of my food, a taste of my ice cream?! St. John Paul II said it himself: “Is not Jesus pointing to children even as models for grownups?”
Maybe it is indeed this saint’s model that our Pallottine Fathers follow; for their work at the school is nothing short of inconceivable and remarkable in Delhi’s largest unrecognized slum. Even above the physical needs of the children, they promote an atmosphere of peace; not an easy feat when religious tensions under Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, continue to rise. Yes, our Fathers feel this strain in their ministries, yet they continue their work with even greater strength and force. It is now our job as a Pallottine family to pray that they may be sustained.
“O priest, who are you?” St. Vincent Pallotti asks. “You do not serve yourself, because you are the bridegroom of the Church. You do not belong to yourself, because you are the servant of all.” How vividly our fathers live these truths in Delhi! Truths which Rector General Fr. Jacob Nampudakam writes, “express the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd,” in whose “heart we see that His love is boundless; it never tires and never gives up. We see that it continuously gives of self, without limits, and we rediscover its humble love ‘right to the very end’ (John 13.1).” 
 ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE PILGRIMAGE OF POOR FROM THE DIOCESES OF THE FRENCH PROVINCE OF LYONS
 Interview with Pope Francis by Fr. Antonio Spadaro
 ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE PILGRIMAGE OF POOR FROM THE DIOCESES OF THE FRENCH PROVINCE OF LYONS
 “The Spirit of the Priesthood According to St. Vincent Pallotti,” Nampudakam, Jacob 2017, pg 24
 The Spirit of the Priesthood According to St. Vincent Pallotti,” Nampudakam, Jacob 2017, pg 28
Fr. Thomas Uzhunnalil- held captive for 557- speaks at St. Vincent Pallotti Church in Bangalore, India
On March 4, 2016, Fr. Thomas Uzhunnalil- a priest hailing from Kerala, India- was captured by terrorists when working for a home for the aged with the Missionaries of Charity in Yemen. Exactly two years later, he celebrated Mass at St. Vincent Pallotti Church in Bangalore, India, a part of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province. 10 Pallottine priests and one decaon were alongside him.
Uzhunnalil was somehow spared in Yemen attack, which killed 4 Missionary sisters and 12 others. He was held in captivity for 557 days, kept alive by asking God to spiritually grace him with bread and wine as he peacefully celebrated the Eucharist by memory.
He shared his harrowing experience during the sermon, which many members of the UAC community were blessed to hear first-hand. Member Leena James said that he “emphasized on how God protected him from the terrorist, and that the terrorists never tortured him.” Though he witnessed first-hand the martyrdom of his fellow sisters, he never had “nightmares about the incident because he knew that they were in Heaven with God.” And while he was praying for the very mercy of their souls, so too did he ask “god to have mercy on the terrorists”.
Teresa Kattukaran, vice-president of the Local Coordination Council, also seconded his testimony as a true force of “the boundless mercy of God. It emphasized the immense power of prayer; for hundreds of thousands of people had been praying for his safety and release during all those 557 days he was in custody.”
St. Vincent Pallotti Church, under the care of parish priest Fr. Manohar Noronha, partakes unceasing ministry activities and acts of charity in the spirit of our founder. Members of their UAC group meet weekly to promote these works of charity, whether it be administering Communion to the sick or medicine and food to the poor.
Its community as a parish is thriving, with the Church filled each evening, and celebrates Mass in 6 different languages on Sundays. Their activities are a testimony that it is through our missionary actions infused by the Holy Spirit that allow the heart of our Pallottine family to beat.
The administration of the Province of the Assumption of the BVM is currently entrusted to Fr. Pedro Camilo, Provincial, as well as Councilors Fr. Arockiasamy Santhiago, Fr. Victor Prasanna Martis, Fr. Sahaya Anand Clement, Fr. Joji Reddy, and Mission Secretariat Fr. Manuel Raj.
The province is home to 6 schools, all of which continue to grow and thrive due to the passion and dedication of the Pallottine Fathers and Sisters.
Link to photos: