Apostles Of Jesus Christ, Priest and Victim

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To seek to sanctify ourselves as diocesan priests by conforming ourselves to Jesus Christ, High Priest and Victim, in a mission of shared charity according to the norms of our Constitutions and the specific means of our apostolate, thereby fulfilling the intention of Christ to save the greatest number of souls.

Jesus drew near and spoke to them saying: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Me. 28:16-20). Our mission then is to fulfill this original intention of Jesus, and to do everything possible for the salvation of the greatest number of souls.

An Apostle is one who is sent by Jesus the Lord as He Himself was sent by the Eternal Father through the Incarnation in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Jesus sent His Apostles to teach and baptize in His Name so as to bring souls to the glory of Eternal Life, which consists primarily in the vision of the Most Holy Trinity. We, as diocesan priests, are sent by our Bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Successor to Peter and the Vicar of Christ on earth. Hence as Apostles of Christ, Priest and Victim, we always are called in light of the ultimate authority of the Bishop as the Successor to the Apostles. We must always understand ourselves as servants and sons of our Bishop, our spiritual father, acting under his direction and according to his discernment of where our charism can serve most effectively. This is always the intention of our apostolic endeavors: to do nothing without the approval of our Bishop. We pray daily for him, striving to remain always in union with him.

We also recognize that a true Apostle of Jesus Christ is one who is formed by Mary, just the first Apostles were formed by her. Our Catholic Tradition recognizes that the Blessed Virgin, who “kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk. 2:19), communicated to the Apostles the secrets which she held within her Heart and bosom; i.e., all the intimate facts she knew about her Son, and all that the Holy Spirit had revealed to her in the Scriptures and otherwise. She rightly deserves to be called “the Evangelist of the Evangelists”[1] and the “teacher of the teachers.”[2] We therefore realize that while we are Apostles of Jesus Christ, High Priest and Victim, we are also Apostles of Mary,[3] who with and through the Holy Spirit forms Christ in us[4] in the school of her Heart.[5]

I. Spiritual Mission in Shared Charity We are here to fulfill a mission which requires ongoing formation, intense prayer, penance, study, and obedience to the Bishops under whom we serve. It is our belief that this ongoing study and formation can be best accomplished in an apostolic society where we encourage each other and hold each other accountable for fulfilling our basic mission according to the intentions of Christ and His Church: to go out two by two and re-evangelize North America. Our aim is to be a band of brothers who serve the Lord. Our charity, which always flows from the Heart of Christ, must be directed first to each other so that we can effectively bring the Gospel to others, knowing that “there is more virtue in combating ourselves than in battling against all the vices of the world.”[ ] We will strive to become a society of apostolic life in which we support each other and all other priests in ordinary parish work. Our study, our prayer, and our community life will be focused on our mission to renew modern parish life. We will stress the universal call to holiness and help people to open themselves to contemplation. Elements of priestly spirituality of our Apostolic Society:

  1. Rediscover and live out the original intentions of Christ for His priests
  2. Each member must strive for a deeper contemplative union with Christ
  3. Thirty-day retreat in solitude (e.g., an isolated hermitage) once in a lifetime
  4. Eight-day silent retreat once a year
  5. Each member must have a spiritual director with whom he meets monthly
  6. Mutual recognition of the need for humility and the development of each member’s charisms and gifts
  7. Cultivation of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus & the Immaculate Heart of Mary

II. Common Way of Life and House Norms:

The members of our society are dedicated to parish work and will normally live in parish rectories in groups of two or three. We will try to live a fraternal life in support of the parish apostolate.

Spiritual Norms:

  1. We will have a house chapel, whenever possible in each house of the society
  2. Daily holy hour: either continuous or two half-hour periods, preferably in common
  3. Lauds, followed by Daily Consecration Prayer, and Vespers in common
  4. Communal Rosary on Saturdays and Marian Feast Days
  5. Fridays: a common penance according to the Church’s norms for fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and some form of individual or common meditation on the Passion
  6. Members should be encouraged to doing more personal penance for the salvation of souls with the consent of their spiritual director
  7. Monthly day of recollection open to fellow clergy
  8. A Chapter of Faults will be held once a month, preceded by a Holy Hour with Eucharistic Adoration
  9. Our house will always be open to other priests for prayer, study and fraternity
  10. Weekly day of rest; with overnight stays the house superior should be informed
  11. Four weeks of vacation permitted under canon law; Apostles are encouraged to spend some vacation time together

Temporal Norms:

  1. Simple rooms and house furniture, clean and not cluttered
  2. Limited vehicles depending upon apostolate
  3. No television (one VCR or DVD player)
  4. No pets
  5. No smoking (an occasional pipe or cigar permitted)
  6. Healthy, simple foods, eat leftovers, prudence and temperance when eating out
  7. Temperance in use of alcohol: one alcoholic drink per day, but abstain during Lent and on all Fridays; two drinks for community days of celebration and days of rest
  8. Daily exercise
  9. All personal items should fit in one car (excluding books, liturgical items, and necessary files and materials for the apostolate)
  10. Community recreation once a week
  11. Some form of manual labor once a week, preferably in common

Since community life is subordinated to our common apostolic goal, members will be responsible for keeping their own schedule in the service of a busy parish life, and the house superior will be flexible in scheduling meals and activities. At the same time, members will be held accountable by the superior for participation in the common life so as to support each other as brothers, and to forge real bonds of friendship in our common apostolate. We must be willing to lay down our lives for each other, and ready to intervene with fraternal correction if we see that a brother is in error or sin. We will embrace a simple lifestyle and strive to live a life of sacrifice appropriate for a parish priest. Brother priests in the diocese will always be welcome at our houses, day or night, and they will frequently be invited for meals and fellowship. We will also have a monthly day of recollection to which other diocesan priests will always be welcome.

III. Formation of Intelligence

Most of our members will come from the diocesan priesthood with their formation provided by the seminary they attend. However, as member of this apostolic society we will require ongoing intellectual formation. Weekly, each Apostle must first approach the Word of God in the study of Sacred Scripture, it being the “soul” of theology, understood in the traditional four-fold sense of the Fathers of the Church.[7] A weekly study period in common which will be devoted to the study of either St. Thomas Aquinas as the Church’s Common Doctor, or magisterial documents, especially the councils and encyclicals and other papal letters. We will also study Mariology, ascetical and mystical theology, spiritual direction, and realistic philosophy to enable us to analyze our contemporary culture and apply practical pastoral approaches.

IV. Canonical Status and Governance

Canonical Status

We intend to become with our Bishop’s blessing a Society of Apostolic Life. This is described in the new Code of Canon Law.[8] We will begin as a public association of the Christian faithful under the direction of the Diocesan Bishop.[9] Members would initially remain incardinated in their diocese of origin and would be simply loaned to our society for up to four years. This status could be renewed annually with the permission of the member’s own ordinary. If approved by the ordinary as a Society of Apostolic Life, the issue of permanent incardination in the society will be discussed with the sponsoring Bishop and the Holy See.


The leader of the society will be called the “Servant-Leader” (S-L), who will have a three-year term, renewable for one other three-year period. The S-L will strive for consensus, but has the last word after discussion amongst all the members, who are then bound to obey his decisions. Members see obedience as humble submission to Christ the King and as essential to personal sanctification.

The S-L will appoint house superiors as necessary. House members are to be obedient to him. The S-L should visit the houses periodically.

One-fourth of our priestly salary will go to the common fund, which will be accounted for quarterly. The S-L, after consulting with the other members, will decide how to use this fund.

Membership in the Society

  1. Composition. The Apostles of Jesus Christ, a clerical society that is seeking initially to become a public association of the faithful and eventually a society of apostolic life, is composed of members who are either clerics or aspiring to the clerical state. Clerics are loaned to the society by the permission of their ordinary.
  2. Admission of members. Any cleric in good standing with his diocese can apply for temporary incorporation in the society. In the event that a seminarian should desire membership, we will initiate discussion with his ordinary.
  3. Full incorporation in the society will take place by the public commitment to be faithful to the Constitutions.
  4. Temporary incorporation is granted for one year following upon a promise to faithfully and fully observe the Constitutions, after which one can apply for full incorporation. Temporary incorporation can be renewed annually for four years. At the end of the fourth year the candidate can either apply for full incorporation or should return to his diocese.
  5. Decisions about full incorporation will be made by the S-L after private consultation with each of the fully incorporated members.
  6. Associate membership is available for priests who are desirous of entering the Society but who are currently fulfilling the term of a present assignment. Such members are encouraged to attend days of recollection and retreats, participate in days of study, share meals, pray the Daily Consecration Prayer and pray for the intentions of the Society.
  7. Affilate membership is available for priests or laity who share in the goals of the Society, especially the authentic renewal of the priesthood, and who wish to contribute to the spiritual and temporal development of the Society through prayer, good works, monetary contributions and the offering of their sufferings. Once a month a priest of the Society will offer a Mass for the affiliate members.

V. Specific means to fulfill our apostolate:

  1. Understanding that the Eucharist is the Source and Summit of the Christian life, and that the faithful are formed primarily in and through the Sacred Liturgy (lex orandi, lex credendiz), the center of our day will be the prayerful and reverent celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with our people.
    1. By offering ourselves with and through Christ the High Priest we become victims with Him for the salvation of souls, and thereby fulfill the two-fold Commandment of love of God and neighbor.
    2. Realizing that the earthly liturgy is a share in the heavenly worship of God by Angels and Saints, we will strive to communicate the beauty and nobility of the liturgy according to the liturgical tradition of the Church.
  2. Recognizing the need to communicate the fullness of the truth to the faithful in order for them to be light and salt of the earth and thereby to extend the Kingship of Christ, we will emphasize:
    1. Zealous preaching in imitation of Our Lord and the Apostles.
    2. Catechetical formation for both adults and youth.
  3. Acknowledging the cultural crisis in regard to the family and the need to build up the domestic church, we will promote:
    1. Daily prayer, especially the family Rosary.
    2. Frequent Mass attendance, Holy Communion and Eucharistic adoration as a family, if possible.
    3. Devotion to Our Lady, and personal consecration to Jesus through Mary.
    4. Frequent recourse as a family to the Sacrament of Penance, in order that they experience God’s mercy and forgiveness on an ongoing basis. We will do all in our means to make the Sacrament of Penance available to people: on weekdays, Saturdays and before weekend Masses.
    5. Family consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
    6. Personal sanctification through offering up ordinary daily duties and sufferings.
  4. Recognizing a special need to foster the vocation of natural and spiritual fatherhood, including vocations to the priesthood we will emphasize the spiritual and intellectual formation of men through:
    1. Days of recollection and retreats
    2. Weekly study (Bible, CCC, papal teachings)
    3. Outdoor activities with fathers/sons and young men in order to be immersed in the splendor of nature: wilderness excursions and summer camps
    4. Volunteer work

VI. Patrons & Models


  1. Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary: for purity and perseverance to the end
  2. St. Joseph will be the special patron of our Society for fatherhood and in our apostolate to men
  3. St. Michael the Archangel: for protection against evil
  4. St. John the Beloved Disciple: for contemplation and his end times vision
  5. St. Peter: for fidelity to the papacy and bishops in governance
  6. SS. Paul and Patrick: for zeal in evangelizing
  7. SS. Francis and St. Dominic: for simplicity and poverty in preaching
  8. St. Thomas Aquinas: for the study of Divine Revelation/the Catholic Faith
  9. St. Catherine of Siena: for zeal in pursuing holiness in the Church
  10. SS. Isaac Jogues and John de Brébeuf: for courage and the implicit desire for martyrdom.
  11. SS. Louis de Montfort and Maximilian Kolbe: for true devotion and consecration to Mary.
  12. St. John Vianney: for the parish priesthood.
  13. SS. Therese of Lisieux and Faustina: for Divine Mercy.
  14. St. Maria Goretti and Bl. Peter Frassati: for ministry to youth and examples of purity
  15. St. Pius X: for renewal in the Sacred Liturgy
  16. Bl. Fra Angelico: for the restoration of beauty in churches


  1. Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: American model for preaching and teaching
  2. Bishop Frederic Baraga, missionary of the Great Lakes
  3. Aristotle: realistic philosophy


We have been given a great mission by Jesus to save souls, which we carry out in communion with the Successors to the Apostles, the Pope and the Bishops. The key to fulfilling this mission in our secularized world is to offer our lives and our sufferings in union with Jesus, High Priest and Victim, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. However, we can remain faithful at the Foot of the Cross only by remaining close to the Blessed Virgin Mary who is our Mother in the Order of Grace. By ourselves we can do nothing. If we totally consecrate ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union with St. Joseph and through the Holy Spirit, then we can live our lives totally for the glory of God the Father and bring the greatest number of souls to the vision of the Most Holy Trinity.


  1. William of Malmesbury (+ 1145), De quatuor virtutibus quae fuerunt in B. Maria: cap. III, De prudential . . . ; PL 159, 582B.
  2. Rupert of Deutz (+ 1129),In Cantica Cant., Lib. 1; PL 168, 850A.
  3. Bl. William Joseph Chaminade founded two religious societies, the Society of Mary (the Marianists) and the Daughters of Mary, so that their members would be consecrated “apostles” of Mary.
  4. Lumen Gentium no. 63: “The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first born among many brethren (Rom. 8:29), that is, the faithful, in whose generation and formation she cooperates with a mother’s love.” Cf. St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, nos. 20-21, 34-35. As St. Louis says: “The formation and the education of the great saints who will come at the end of the world are reserved to her, for only this singular and wondrous Virgin can produce in union with the Holy Spirit singular and wondrous things” (no. 35).
  5. Cf. Pope John Paul II, Angelus Address, Sept. 21, 2003, 1: Mary “has more insight than anyone into the profound intentions of Jesus. She knows Him ‘heart to heart,’ for from the outset she has cherished and pondered on His every act and His every word (cf. Lk. 2:19, 51),” and this is why “at her school we learn to contemplate the fact of the Lord, to internalize His sentiments and to accept His values with generous coherence”; and St. Bruno of Asti (+ 1123),Comm. In Luc, cap. II; PL 165, 355C: “O most wise mother . . . who collected in her heart all these words, kept them for us and confided them to her memory so that later under her teaching . . . they would be written, preached in all the world, announced to all the nations. The evangelists learned them at her school, they wrote them under her dictation.”
  6. St. Peter Julian Eymard.
  7. See CCC 115-119.
  8. Book II, section II, canons 731-46.
  9. Canons 312-320.