Dear lay apostles,
I write to you today with the briefest of updates regarding the work we are accomplishing together as an Apostolate.
First, as we prepare to take possession of the property known as the abbey, we continue to wish the very best to our Norbertine brothers as they prepare for their own next phase. Please keep them in your prayers during their period of transition.
We, ourselves, are looking at the grounds. Father Darragh is working with our architect and board members to develop a four phase plan for the buildings at the property. More on that as it develops.
Thanks to the effort of Ryan, we have increased presence on social media. Patrick, Colleen and Sarah are working away in the Chicago office. Additionally, thanks to the leadership of Tom Harkin, we distributed literally double the amount of materials last year as the year before. Good job to everyone involved.
In the meantime, I, myself, am totally immersed, with Emma, Margaret, Jane and Pam in the development of the teachings according to the four necessary pillars of formation we identify as Human, Spiritual, Academic and Pastoral. A co-responsible laity will not just happen. We will need formation and it is that which we will be offering at the new property. We are providing pilots in a few places to gather information about learning styles and how to group the information.
Do not worry if you cannot get to a pilot. We hope to offer the material as an on-line course in the future.
Clearly, our commitment is to assist people in the development of a contemplative prayer life as an antidote for the general ‘silence poverty’ and over activity of the times. Also, we must have good Human Development as a basis for becoming thoughtful men and women of God who do not wound others in our attempt to share the Gospel message. And, if we are to become compassionate listeners, we will have to limit our words and learn to offer people space to share grief and suffering without being judged.
Lay apostles, it is such wonderful and exciting work that words fail to communicate my gratitude to God. He is so merciful in giving us absolute clarity about both our Way and our way forward. We have offered considerable time, for example, to the development and piloting of a program for secondary schools (high schools), in our diocese. The fruits have been humbling, as always in the work. It is painful to see the extent of the need and yet glorious at the same time to know that we can help. And the need is profound. And the workers are few. And yet, we are filled with hope.
Father Darragh is writing to you tomorrow to ask that you share in our work by helping with a small daily contribution. We began this mission with little and while much has changed, that part has not. We continue to be stretched, even while, through providence, we advance steadily. The prison work, for example, seemed impossible but because we work as a team, with all lay apostles, all prison orders get filled. Additionally, I was blessed to be able to visit men, women and juveniles in prison this past year and pilot our teachings for prisoners, also. Oh my goodness! God is so good. And again, the need is so great.
Our gratitude to you, lay apostles, is immense. Without you none of our work would have proceeded. I thank God every day for you and for the progress we have made in our prayer lives and spiritual works. Through your partnership, we have audio CD’s, a movie about purgatory, one coming up about Heaven, children’s books, a calendar, a prison ministry, booklet display cases in a myriad of locations, translations in 18 languages in progress, many parish outreach programs, clergy support, a recording studio, a sound booth, and a new image of Our Lady, Queen of the Church. Most of this occurred before the Imprimatur was granted. Lord, how quickly and efficiently we have all moved. Only God, Himself could manage this Rescue Mission.
So, help us if you can, in a small ongoing way. This will take the pressure off those who are trying to keep up with the ever-expanding work. As you know, we are a small staff with a big job.
In publishing news, we have just released the latest book called Transforming Grace. I believe you will like it as it gives a more extensive treatment on the Contemplative Prayer Structure and much more as well.
Lay apostles, remember that Jesus asked us to form prayer groups. Well done to you who have remained faithful to His request. If you are not in a prayer group, perhaps you might consider starting one, if only with your spouse, friend or children. We take such strength from our prayer group here in Bailieborough. We also have a teen prayer group and a young adult prayer group at our headquarters at the Hague Building in Ireland.
I think you now have some of the news. In summary, we are all grateful to each of you and consider ourselves one team, together with our Queen, serving the Returning King.
All my love is yours and I ask for your prayers of protection on our progress with our work in the Church. We will be praying for all of your intentions throughout Advent.
Your sister in service,
Anne, a lay apostle