THE HOST APOSTOLATE
AN ASSOCIATION OF LAY FAITHFUL
The Apostolate is placed under the Spiritual protection of Mary, Mother of Tenderness, and the guardianship of St. Joseph and All Holy Husbands and Wives.
To witness to the sacrament of Marriage and its God-given charism in the life of the Church
- As 'COUPLE' (S) to lead a life of prayer and apostolic work, and to encourage others to do likewise.
A>) To live the sacrificial and unitive aspects of the Mass, and to encourage the Adoration of Jesus, wholly present in the Eucharist, and to promote contemplative prayer as 'call' and a path to holiness.
B>) To encourage all to become holy and perfect through the living out of the 'Rosebuds', 'Flowers of Surrender of the Crucified Jesus.' To proclaim the importance of the Virtues as a means of attaining holiness.
C>) To have in our vision the Gospel simplicity of life that encompasses the Evangelical virtues,especially Poverty.
D>) To become truly like Our Mother Mary, that is, to become Hosts to the King of kings.
E>) To be willing to engage in the spiritual formation of others.
F>) To be transfigured to the image of Jesus, and to be witnesses to an unbelieving world through evangelisation.
G>) Finally to be aware of and always treasure our membership of the Mystical Body, the People of God, the Church and to respect all its precepts and obey all its laws. To encourage Christians to unite so that we become one flock under one shepherd.
Full Membership is open to........
- All Baptised Catholic couples who are sacramentally married and who totally accept the aims of the Apostolate.
- Those who as full members become widowed.
Discretionary Membership is open to..........
- Those sacramentally married couples where one spouse is not a Catholic but a Baptised Christian .
- Those who live out their marriage in a state of Separation.
- Those who are engaged to be married and/or feel called to marriage and Full Membership.
- Any couple unable to make a full commitment can become Auxilliary Members.
- Priests. As the apostolate is Eucharistic at its core, Priests will be invited to join as affiliate Members of the prayerful household or as guides, spiritual directors or chaplains.
Those priests who cannot fulfil a full -time, active ministry elsewhere will be particularly welcome.
- Single People called to consecrated life may be affiliated with the Apostolate by becoming associates of a Home/Base either as helpers or friends, or be involved in the work of evangelisation or the prayer life of the house.
All members whether 'core household' or affiliates are deemed to be actively involved in the apostolate and considered Donors rather than Recipients.
Each prayerful house will form an independent base (i.e. Their own home).
Each household will serve as a centre of prayer, hospitality and outreach.
Communal prayer and evangelisation will be a means of mutual upbuilding and essential to the life of the Apostolate.
Although not essential, couples may decide to form small corporate units (i.e. Two generations, friends, etc.).
Where a household has the obligations of family and children their needs will be central to the life of that home and part of their witness.
While respecting the individual graced-growth, each couple will be required to attend Mass daily, when and where possible.
Spend at least half-an-hour daily in silent Eucharistic Adoration.
Pray the Office jointly or as part of local church community.
Pray and meditate on the Mysteries of the Rosary.
Reflect and contemplate the Passion of Jesus at Three-o-clock, When possible pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
To observe the Paschal events by fasting, holy hours, vigils, Stations of the Cross, Devotions and sacrificial acts and at other times as called for by The Spirit.
Silent prayer and space for silent reflection must be made available to all members of the household.
Longer periods of prayer and solitude ( Poustinia) will also be encouraged.
Any and all prayer of the members will be a means to develop a personal relationship with Jesus leading to union with the most Holy Trinity.
The Apostolate will seek the patronage of a Bishop who will act as 'advisor visitor'.
MALE AND FEMALE HE MADE THEM
From the very start of creation God created 'Man' and He made them in His image. Men and women bear the mark of the Creators intentions and that the 'two' should become 'one' flesh. The sacramentalising of this intention is seen in Marriage. The unfolding of this plan can be seen throughout the Bible and the wondrous references to the interplay of men and women in the plan of salvation, Abraham and Sarah being but one.
The birth of Jesus marks a 'new 'and dynamic representation of the promise made to the chosen people to be with them to the end of time. Jesus is born into a family, to Mary and with a foster father Joseph. Marriage is thereby brought to the fore. |Indeed His first public miracle is in the context of a wedding at Cana in Galilee . References to the marital status of many abound in the Gospel.
The Church itself is referred to as the Bride of Christ. The spiritual journey to holiness as one of union.
From the earliest church history there are examples of couples who died together rather than betray their faith, or those who stood firm under persecution and who were married. Many of the Korean martyrs were married and died with their children.
The history of these lands too bears witness to those who were married and latter became the founders of monasteries or convents. (St. Etheldreda. St Sexburger. St Edwin, St David of Scotland to name but a few.)
Whether King or Queens (Saints. Margaret of Scotland, Elisabeth of Portugal, Elisabeth of Hungary, St Louis of France, Kazimir of Poland,) or ordinary men and women their lives bear witness to the holiness of the vocation of Marriage.
Some had difficult and troubled marriages and persevered, Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, through poverty, Dorothy wife of St. Nicholas of Flue because of his sudden departure to a eremitical life.
Others were the source of conversion to husband/wives and children. The life of St Monica and her famous son St Augustine is well known but less is known of the struggles of St Rita of Cascia, with a violent husband and sons. Likewise St.Frances of Rome.
Many of these holy people had diverse calls and apostolates continuing to serve as widows and widowers often as founders, their marriages thereby serving as good preparatory ground for further service.
The co-operation in grace between men and women has led to some of the greatest movements in the Church. Although not married there friendships were graced with charisms too often forgotten. Through consecrated chastity, they too became the sign of Gods Kingdom. Well known are Saints Francis and Clare, but there is also bother and sister, ,indeed twins Sts.. Benedict and Scholastica, graced friends Sts Francis de Sales and Jane FrancesFremot de Chantal (who had been wife mother and widow) Founders of the Visitandines, St. Vincent de Paul and St Louise de Murillac. Where would Saint Margaret Mary be without her spiritual director St Claude de la Colombiere. More recently the Friars and Sisters of the Atonement were founded by the dynamic duo of Lurana Mary White and Paul Wattson of Graymoor.
In the last twenty years many other couples have been elevated to the ranks of the beatified and canonised. Some are still in the process of their 'cause' being examined but they are worthy of special mention. The Martin family, Zelie and Louis, parents of wonderful daughters and of course St. Therese are exemplars as too are Catherine and Eddie Doherty founders of The Madonna House Apostolate. Neither of these had an easy road in life and bear witness to the great call to evangelisation and sacrifice. Catherine is now a Servant of God.
Finally , recently we have the beatification of the Quattrocchis an Italian couple whose commitment to family and the world about them was an example of the call to holiness lived as lay faithful in the every day of their lives and in their professional work. So too as a Saint of the unborn Gianna Molla wife, mother and doctor stand as witness to the sanctity of marriage and life. Blessed Peter To Rot, husband and father was martyred 1945. Peter of Papua New Guinea opposed the legitimisation of poligamy and opposed the restriction placed on Catholics. He was a catechist and leader of the local community. Refusing to concede on Catholic issues and knowing that he has to witness he paid the price of death by lethal injection, ironically as his country was being liberated by the allies. Beatified in 1995 he is a shining example of faithful and faith filled holiness.
The list of married saints is not in any way exhausted here. They are simply placed in order to encourage and call married people to holiness. In today's world where marriage ,while popular is seen often as transient and not 'a calling 'they serve to remind us of the exact opposite, that it is a permanent bond which can lead all to be holy, a call to all lay faithful.