Spiritual Reflection 8/6/23

Irish Pallottine Fathers

The Pallottine Fathers and Brothers were founded by St. Vincent Pallotti in 1835. The name of our community is derived from the family name of the founder, but we are officially referred to as the Society of the Catholic Apostolate. St. Vincent was a priest in the Diocese of Rome. He founded our community to promote the revival of faith and charity in the world. He ardently believed that every Christian is called to be an apostle in virtue of one’s baptism. He placed great emphasis on developing the lay apostolate and the missionary outreach of the Church. His vision represents the particular charism of the Pallottine Fathers and Brothers to this day. The community now numbers over 2,400 members who are engaged in the works of the apostolate on all continents; we are currently present in 54 countries. St. Vincent Pallotti was canonized by St. John XXIII on January 20, 1963. The Irish Province has missions in East Africa and South America. The Irish Pallottines also work in the US, in two parishes in Detroit, at our Mission Promotion House in Wyandotte, Ml, and in two large parish communities in Texas where we work among the Mexican immigrants.

The Irish Pallottine Fathers were founded as a Missionary Province in 1909, working in Argentina and England, and we opened our first mission in Tanzania in 1940. This area later became a diocese, the Diocese of Mbulu, the first bishop being one of our Irish missionary priests.

Our missionary commitment was later extended to the Diocese of Singida, and successively to the Archdiocese of Nairobi in Kenya, and to the Archdiocese of Arusha in Tanzania. Thirty-six of our priests work in eleven parishes in East Africa; most of which cover extensive territories with several mission stations attached to each parish. The work is arduous and challenging. The growth of Islamic fundamentalism and the energetic advance of various Christian sects are amongst the new challenges we face.

We currently have twenty seminarians in formation in East Africa, one in Ireland, and one in Argentina. In addition to our pastoral work, we have two centers in Tanzania involved in the education and rehabilitation of children with special needs. We have helped in the establishment of three local hospitals, many parish dispensaries, and the building and refurbishment of schools at various levels, presently handed over to local management. Our priests are also involved in other areas of social development, famine relief (when necessary), water projects, AIDS prevention courses and other social services which benefit our deprived communities.

Our work and our missions are extensive and demanding in terms of the effort which is required and the financial burdens involved. While our primary mission is to preach the Gospel, we are also deeply conscious of our obligation to minister to the total person, body and soul. The prayers and support of many people of good will throughout the United States and Europe enable us to fulfill the mandate of Christ to “teach all nations” (Mt. 28: 19). We are immensely grateful to all who help us in our work and in our missions. Our benefactors are remembered every day in the prayers of our Pallottine communities.