Following a century-and-a-half tradition, Pope Francis has entrusted his monthly prayer requests for 2014 to the Apostleship of Prayer for dissemination. Over 50 million Catholics worldwide unite in spirit to pray for those prayer intentions every day.

The Pope proposes two prayer intentions each month, one universal or general and the other related to evangelization. The universal and evangelization prayer intentions for January are economic development and Christian unity, respectively. Other universal intentions for 2014 include the elderly, respect for women, the media, the unemployed, refugees, and the lonely. The intentions for evangelization include vocations to religious life, rediscovery of faith in Europe, service to the poor, and parents.

The Apostleship of Prayer, sometimes known as the Pope’s Prayer Group, is a Jesuit service to the whole Church with an office in Rome and national offices in countries on every continent. The U.S. office is located in Milwaukee, WI, headed by Fr. James Kubicki, SJ.

“December is a busy time for us,” said Fr. Kubicki, “because many people are contacting us to request leaflets listing the Pope’s prayer intentions for the new year. Lots of people send them out with their Christmas cards.”

Apostles of Prayer pray in a particular way, though not with any particular prayer. They make a daily offering of themselves to God—all the “prayers, works, joys, and sufferings” of their day—for the needs of the world, the Church, and the specific monthly prayer intentions of the Pope.

Fr. Kubicki is a frequent guest on Catholic radio and television. He also gives retreats and parish missions throughout the country. Another Jesuit, Santiago Rodriguez, directs ministry to youth and young adults, and Grace Urbanski heads the outreach to children. The mission of the Apostleship is to encourage Christians of all ages to live out faith in their daily life through prayer and service.

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