What Does It Mean, Apostolate?

I remember when I was going through the Postulancy courses for the Dominican Laity and it was the last lesson that always bugged me. Bugged me, how? Well, the last lesson focused on Apostolate. What is an Apostolate? An Apostolate is defined as such:

Brings together in harmonious balance the charisms of prayer, study, contemplation, and community, transforming what could be simply participation in prayer groups, study circles, or communal associations into a true vocational commitment.

In ‘lame man’ terms it is where one who is a part of certain order feels the call to put something together that follows what calls them to the order they joined. Simple enough, right? Well, that is what I thought until well I learned about my group apostolate.

First, I will say I am not bashing the good intentions and wonderful work that has been done with this “apostolate” but for me it has never felt from the definition as an apostolate for a Dominican Laity. It was when I read a particular part of pamphlet given to me as I became a novice (back in 2010) that caused me to begin to contemplate more of the meaning of apostolate.

Apostolate cannot be confused with ministry, as apostolate by its very meaning, requires being sent to those individuals existing in a world seeming bereft of human dignity, justice, peace, or hope.

I feel it should be added that the apostolate not only be required as mentioned above, but also fulfill the charisms of the order. So, I knew what my problem was with the suppose “apostolate” it felt more like a ministry and not an apostolate. I would also like to add that from my understanding of apostolates it is also is a way to deepen one’s self within God’s infinite love through the path of the Order you are discern or in.

I never spoke out saying the “apostolate” was in my consideration a ministry and not a true “apostolate”. Now that I am a military spouse I feel out of the loop with my chapter’s on-goings, so they might have done something. I just pray for them. Yet, just yesterday my new friend, Cristina also a Dominican Laysister tagged me on twitter posing a question:

What is your group’s apostolate? 

I answered I had no idea if my chapter’s apostolate was still the same or changed, but Em (my best friend and another Dominican Laysister) might know; but it was the other ones who answered that got me thinking about what an apostolate is. Mind you, I am not bashing, just expressing my opinions (this all happened right before I went to sleep, actually kept me awake for a while).

One of my main answers was praying a community Rosary, while it is an amazing and wonderful thing to pray the Rosary together, that is required (in a way) by the Rules and Constitution of the Order (especially the laity). I would think that how it could be an apostolate would be thus:

  1. Starting a Community Rosary at your local parish (for many Laypeople of the Order do not go to the same parish as where their chapter is located).
  2. Talk to the Pastor about having a monthly talk on the importance of the Rosary or even a weekly talk on one of the mysteries. (Either you or the Pastor or a group could be created.)

This is more of an apostolate, for you are not just saying the Rosary in the Dominican Community you are in fact spreading the importance of the Rosary.

Cristina, in sense helped me think of a good apostolate that I think either a chapter or an individual (Cristina already does this) can do: Participate in RCIA. This truly in my opinion fulfills our charisms in the Order. We do not have to teach, but we can be sponsors or god-parents, and even the Chapter could have little meetings for the people thinking of becoming Catholic with little talks about the Traditions and traditions of the Church. Even making a little meeting focusing on a topic that they learned in RCIA more in-depth and in turn inviting all in the parish.

Certainly, I know people will disagree with or claim I have no idea what I am talking, but truly as a Dominican Laywoman I am called to study the Truth, contemplate the Truth, pray on the greatest of the Truth, and then send it out to world like St. Dominic did or as St. Catherine of Siena says,

Set the World on Fire!

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5 thoughts on “What Does It Mean, Apostolate?

  1. You scare me. In a good way…I had no idea that RCIA could be considered a group apostolate. There is a community rosary said at my parish – wondering if I could get the Hours said!!! OOOOH now there’s something.

    Thanks for your reflections, application and attention to the word apostolate. I will share with my chapter tomorrow evening.

    You down with #3op? Yeah you know me!

    In St. Dominic,
    Cristina

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