When I was in grade school at St. Aloysius and Immaculate Heart of Mary, the best moment of each month was when the teacher passed out the Apostleship of Prayer leaflet.
It always had a great holy picture on the front, a little story about a saint and the pope’s prayer intention. As a class, we prayed the Morning Offering at the start of each day because of it.
Something so simple helped me establish as a child a habit of daily prayer and deepened my relationship with Jesus. So, I was happy to hear that the Morning Offering is coming back to Milwaukee’s Catholic schools, thanks to a great collaboration between the Apostleship of Prayer and our school superintendent, Kathleen Cepelka.
Recently, I visited the national office of the Apostleship of Prayer, which is located in Milwaukee, and met with Jesuit Fr. Jim Kubicki, the national director, and some of his very dedicated staff.
Their mission is to encourage Catholics to make a daily offering of themselves to God for the salvation of the world, the good of the church and the pope’s prayer intentions. Many Apostles of Prayer also practice a personal devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as they seek to serve the needs of others with the loving heart of Christ.
My own family consecrated our home to the Sacred Heart, something the apostleship still promotes. When I was at the office, I picked up 20 copies of the picture, which brought back a flood of childhood memories.
Founded in France in 1844 in a Jesuit seminary, this simple profound spirituality of the Apostleship of Prayer rapidly spread throughout the world. Almost 200 years later, it remains a Jesuit ministry to the whole church.
The Holy Father entrusts his monthly prayer intentions in Italian to the Apostleship of Prayer each year. The U.S. office translates them into English and sends them to the Vatican to be posted for the entire English-speaking world. Fifty million Catholics unite in prayer each day to make the Morning Offering.
The U.S. office has big plans to reintroduce the Morning Offering to Catholic children, in parochial schools and religious education throughout the country.
Grace Urbanski, the children’s ministry director, is leading this great effort, starting with our own Archdiocese of Milwaukee. She has already spoken with school principals to explain the program and to give them the prayer cards. This card is also a cling that can be pressed onto a mirror or other glass surface.
Each of the 27,000 children in our Catholic grade schools will receive this prayer and be taught how to pray the Morning Offering.
What can you do to promote this easy and effective movement of prayer? Encourage the people around you to make a Morning Offering. Encourage teachers to pray it with their classes. Remember the pope’s monthly intentions in your prayer. Consecrate your home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Visit the Apostleship of Prayer website for prayer resources for adults and children. www.apostleshipofprayer.org
The children’s reflections and activities seem especially useful for parents and teachers, and you can download them each month for free.
When I begin the day by consecrating it to the Lord and his purposes, everything goes better. I have more energy and joy, the obstacles and difficulties do not seem as bad, the grace of every conversation and meeting is more apparent, my day has more purpose and definition, all because I have consciously given it all to God as a self-offering and I want to give the best that I can to the One who has given me everything.
In his letter to the Colossians, Paul reminds us that we fill up in our own flesh what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his body, the church. This vision of union with Christ in the details of the day makes our joys more acutely felt and our sufferings deeper in purpose and meaning.
In Jesus Christ, God completely offers himself to us in every moment and in every experience. The Morning Offering is a simple and mindful way for us to offer ourselves in return.