The experience of the God of love and mercy opened St. Vincent Pallotti to the needs of the Church. In the signs of the times, he was able to read the will of God. On Jan. 9, 1835 he responded to the inspiration he received by founding the Union of Catholic Apostolate, in which the baptized participate in the mission of the Church as the realization of a common goal. Vincent Pallotti expresses the idea in the following words:
“The Catholic Apostolate, that is the universal apostolate, which is common to all classes of people, consists in doing all that one must and can do for the greater glory of God and for one’s own salvation and that of one’s neighbor.”
On April 4, 1835 the Cardinal-Vicar of Rome, Carlo Odescalchi gave “every blessing to the Pious Union of Catholic Apostolate”. In May of 1835, Vincent Pallotti issued his first appeal to the people of Rome, in which he presented the ideas of the foundation and invited priests and lay faithful to participate. On July 11th of the same year, Pope Gregory XVI gave his approval.
Today, the Union of Catholic Apostolate (Unio Apostolatus Catholici –UAC) understands itself as a “union of individual persons and of communities who, according to the charism of St. Vincent Pallotti awaken in all baptized their responsibility to revive faith and re-enkindle charity in the Church and in the world, thus bringing all to unity in Jesus Christ.”
The Union unites all who are inspired by the apostolic ideals of the founder: the communities founded by St. Vincent Pallotti himself and those who were founded more recently, as well as lay faithful, committed as individuals, or organized in groups or communities. All form one family with a common lifestyle and are dedicated to today’s challenges of the universal apostolate.
In order to bring to full realization the vision of St. Vincent Pallotti and to render this vision relevant to our times, the Union of Catholic Apostolate lives according to their General Statutes, which express the nature of Pallotti’ foundation, guarantee its unity and present guidelines for the spiritual and apostolic lifestyle. The members obligate themselves to grow in faith and love and to promote those initiatives which realize the mission entrusted to the Pallottine foundation. The Union of Catholic Apostolate is the expression of a new way to live and serve together. The Union offers to all, especially to the young, a way to live according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The General Statutes of the Union, first introduced ‘ad experimentum’ were officially approved in May of 2008 by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in Rome and makes the Union of Catholic Apostolate a pontifically approved organization for the faithful in the Catholic Church. The Patroness of the Union is “Mary, Queen of the Apostles”.
The SAC (Society of Catholic Apostolate) also called ’Pallottines’, is one of the communities Vincent Pallotti himself founded, together with the Congregation of the Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate, which later divided into the Congregation of the Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate and the Missionary Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate.
These build the core communities of the Union of the Catholic Apostolate. Pallotti wanted to ensure that the UAC would survive his death and that its work and mission would be carried into the future. He wanted a group to preserve care for and guard his vision and develop it.
He wanted to give his ideas some structure, and saw in the SAC, together with the Sisters congregations, a set of core communities around which other groups and individuals could gather in the spirit of the UAC. These communities were to offer spiritual guidance and direction to the UAC, and would serve to encourage and work with the UAC as an integral but not domineering part.
[Pallottine Fathers at the Pallottine Assembly, 2010]
It is the right of the Society to admit to the Union individuals and communities who share its spirit and who, in the forms proper to them and recognized by the Society, consent to it, and intend to cooperate in the realization of its aims. The Society extends to them participation in the spiritual benefits proper to the Union.
The Society prefers those works which best correspond to its aims, and for which it is most suited as a community of brothers and priests. Moreover, in selecting apostolic activities, it considers the more urgent needs of the Church, the conditions of the times and local circumstances. It will use whatever means are appropriate to promote, defend, and nourish Christian life.
The Society consists of ordained priests and non-ordained brothers. They are incorporated into the Society by their consecration according to the Laws of the Society. The consecration unites all members in fraternal community. Members are only differentiated by their talents and abilities, which they put to full use in the mission of the Society and the Church. The Society has about 2,200 members in all parts of the world.