St. Vincent’s new society was committed to addressing the many social needs of the day. He took a particular interest in the young girls orphaned by the political upheaval of the day and the cholera plague. In June of 1838 the Society opened a house of refuge and education, the “Pia Casa di Carita,”or “Pious House of Charity” for them and entrusted them to the care of several pious women. The Founder dressed them in the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis. The work was able to go forward with the assistance of committed laity. While the religious and civil education of young girls has always had a prominence in the apostolic works of the community, changing times required changing apostolates
Thus was born the Pious Society of the Catholic Apostolate which today is known as the Union of the Catholic Apostolate, an association of religious, clergy and laity. The main apostolic thrust of our religious communities today takes its tone from this original inspiration. We see our task as that of reviving faith, rekindling charity and fostering unity. We see that these ends are consistent with our understanding of Pope John Paul II’s call for a “new evangelization” in today’s Church.
The union of the catholic Apostolate was erected as a public international Association of the Faithfull by the pontifical council of the laity in a decree dated October 28th 2003, the General Statues of the Union were also approved for a five year period ‘ad experimentum’. The period between 2003 and 2008 was one of the enthusiasms, hope, formation and deep gratitude that the fullness of the charism entrusted to St Vincent Pallotti back in 1835 was recognized and reaffirmed by the church authority.
The definitive approval of the General Statues of the union of the catholic apostolate by a decree of October 28th 2008, which was consigned to a representative group of the members of the Union on November 7th 2008 at the offices of the Diacastery, was another milestone in the life and history of the union. The entire Union has seen the definitive approval as a gift of the Holy Spirit, an authentic gift for a new beginning which calls all to collaborate in the spiritual and apostolic mission of the church. We hope to live this gift in communion, the communion which has characterized our entire foundation from the very beginning.
In the period since 2003 the Union of Catholic Apostolate has strengthened the roots which stretch right back to the original inspiration received by St Vincent Pallotti on January 9th 1835. This period ‘ad experimentum’ approved the General statues gave the Union the opportunity to implement their realization in the various cultural, social and ecclesiastical contexts and to ascertain contexts and to ascertain the relevance and the breadth of the charism entrusted to our holy founder, St. Vincent Pallotti. The General coordination council of the UAC oversaw a consultation process among all the national coordination council and the communities of the UAC on the effectiveness of the statues and their adaptation to the concrete life of the UAC. The fruit of this initiative was the formulation of the draft of the definitive text of the statues which was approved by the members of an Extraordinary General Assembly of the Union.
The Union is present wherever there are communities of the Pallottine Families Present. The core communities, or the communities, which were founded by St. Vincent Pallotti, and which understand themselves as having been founded ‘in the Union and for the Union’ are:
There are currently Communities in 45 countries, these are: Italy, Germany, Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, the Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Belarus, Russia, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Belize, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, the Argentine, Bolivia, Australia, India, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Zambia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, the Philippines and Barbados.
In some countries the structures of the Union as envisaged in the General Statues of the Union are more fully developed than others. A total of 19 national Coordination Councils (NCCs) of the Union have been established and recognize by the General Coordination Council (GCC) of the Union, the cover 24 countries. The NCCs have been establish in Italy, Germany, Poland, Ireland, France, Switzerland, the USA, Canada Brazil, Uruguay, the Argentine, Colombia Venezuela, Belize, India, Australia, Rwanda-Congo, Tanzania-Kenya-Uganda, Cameroon-Nigeria and South Africa.
Membership of The Union
The professed members of the three communities founded by St. Vincent Pallotti are members of the Union. On 31th of December 2008 they numbered:
There are other communities which were founded subsequently and were either accepted as member communities of the Union or were formally admitted to the Union, they are:
There are many lay persons who are members of the UAC, an accurate account of the number of these members had not been recorded in the past however, since the Union has now become an international Association of the faithful, we are registering all members.
In the year 2008 a total of 155 persons, lay persons and three diocesan priests, were formally admitted to the Union in Colombia, Brazil, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Tanzania, Uganda, Canada and Argentina.
The Characteristics Of The Spiritual Life Of The Members
The characteristics of the spiritual life of the members vary according to the different culture of the country in which the Union is rooted. However, we can see the broad lines of the common characteristics of the spiritual lives of the members.
The personal and community spiritual life is based, first of all, on regular and frequent participation in the Eucharistic celebration of the church.
The second pillar of the spiritual life is Sacred Scripture; members read, study, reflect on and pray with the Word of God, many share Scripture study on a regular basis.
The third column is a life of prayer. The members pursue an active prayer life, alternating community prayers of the Union, the pallottine prayer, personal prayer, personal reflection, praying the rosary, both alone and with others. The members participate in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament both individually and in community in various churches and chapels. In the spiritual Center of the Union, the Churches of SS. Salvatore in Onda, in Rome, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed every day from 5 to 6pm. A Eucharistic celebration for the Union is celebrated each Wednesday at 6.30pm accompanied by vespers; this has become a regard feature in the life of the Union and a meeting point for the members from the entire world when they come to Rome on Pilgrimage.
Many members make an annual retreat; participate in days of retreat and recollection. In some areas of the world members participate in prayer vigils, pilgrimages, prayer meetings and especially in Marian pilgrimage which are often of the National Shrines dedicated to the Holy Mother of God. Members of the UAC animate the life and apostolate of the National Shrine of our Lady at Kibeho, Rwanda, and also in Basilica dedicated to Mary Queen of Apostle, at Yaounde, Cameroon; in some countries the members have chosen to make the act of Apostolic Commitment with which they become members of the UAC during a Eucharistic Celebration at the National Shrine. Members are invited to participate in the novenas in preparation for the celebration of our special events of the liturgical calendar, and also in the celebrations that are of special significance to the Pallottine Family of the UAC such as the feast of St. Vincent Pallotti on January 22nd, the anniversary of the birth of St. Vincent Pallotti on April 21st the feast of Mary Queen of Apostle, Pentecost, the Eucharistic celebration of thanksgiving on, or around, the anniversary of the erection of the Union in the universal church and the annual celebration of the renewal of the Act of Apostolic Commitment by the members.
A fourth mainstay of the UAC is life in the community. The members of the Union are invited and encourage to participate actively in the forms of common life be they in small communities, in the ‘cenacles’ which are established, or in the local coordinate councils as envisaged by the General Statues. The General Statues envisage the Local Coordination councils as been ‘centre which animate gatherings, prayer, formation and collaboration’; the National Coordination Councils are committed to the formation of such centres of animation for the good of the members and to foster more effectively the Apostolate of the Union.
In many and diverse areas and circumstances members of the Union organize, promote and animate celebration of the Octave of Epiphany, a celebration which was started by St. Vincent Pallotti in Rome in 1836. The form such celebration take is not uniform, it is adapted to express the spiritual significance of the feast in the life of the Union and of the local church according to the ecclesial reality of each area.
In other area of the Union the members organize and animate celebrations of the week of prayer from Christian Unity in January and invite other groups, communities and church organizations to take part in the celebrations.
The Election Of The National President And National Vice President Was Held On Saturday, 26th Of Mai 2012. It Was The Feast Of Mary, Queen Of The Apostle, The Patroness Of The Uac. The Holy Mass Was Celebrated By Rev. Fr. Peter Hillen Sac And Rev. Fr. Andre Sostene Abolo Sac. The Election Took Place After Mass, But Prior To The Election Fr. Peter Hillen Read The Modalities From The Statutes Of The Union Of Catholic Apostolate. Two candidates were nominated for the office of the National President. They are Lady Ngozi Anizoba from the Archdiocese of Onitsha and Mrs. Ngozi Ulogu from Awka diocese. Lady Ngozi Anizoba clicked the post of the National President. For the post of National Vice President was elected with majority Mr. Okeke Basil from the diocese of Awka. Congratulations and God’s blessing on both elected who with the Rector of the Pallottines in Nigeria, Fr. Peter Hillen SAC and the Chaplain of UAC, Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Geoffrey Onukwuli SAC form the team of leaders of UAC in Nigeria.
The Pallottine: Fr., Welcome. You are 27 years in Africa. You worked in Cameroon, in South Africa and now since five and a half years In Nigeria. How do you feel about your mission?
Fr Peter: Time is running very fast. I feel grateful and full of joy. I can see a lot of fruits of the mission especially in the formation of our African Pallottines. Cameroon, South Africa, Malawi, Nigeria… To see our young priests and brothers and many seminarians makes me proud and gives me hope for a brighter future in Africa. The people in general are very welcoming and generous. I am loved and accepted and received a lot of encouragement in my apostolate.
The Pallottine: What is your mission among the people in Nigeria?
Fr Peter: First of all I came to establish our community, the Society of the Catholic Apostolate of Saint Vincent Pallotti (S.A.C.), the Pallottines, in this part of the world. You know we took the first students from Nigeria in 2002 from St. Augustine Chaplaincy of the Polytechnic in Oko, under the then Chaplain, Rev. Fr. Martin Ezeokoli.