One of the conditions which must be met in seeking to obtain a plenary or partial indulgence is that the seeker prays for the intentions of the Holy Father. This might be confusing to some; what should one pray? By this requirement, we are not asked to pray for the person of the Pope, nor his office, nor for any of the many intentions for which he might personally be praying. There are two specific prayer intentions given for each month. There is usually one intention that is general and one that is missionary in scope. These intentions are published in advance each year and released monthly to the faithful, as well as to The Apostleship of Prayer, which has received the Pope’s intentions since Pope Leo XIII in the late 1800’s.
The Apostleship of Prayer http://www.apostleshipofprayer.org/
is an organization which has been active since 1844 in dedication to praying without ceasing for the Church and for the whole world. In 2006, the Apostleship board formed this mission statement, “The mission of the Apostleship of Prayer is to encourage Christians to make a daily offering of themselves to the Lord for the coming of God's Kingdom and for the Holy Father's monthly intentions. This habit of prayer encourages a Eucharistic spirituality of solidarity with the Body of Christ and loving service to others. Nourishing this spiritual program is the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” Anyone may become a member simply by committing to that offering of their daily prayers, works, joys and sufferings, and may formally enroll if they wish.
The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for August is: “That volunteers may give themselves generously to the service of the needy”. His intention for evangelization is: “That setting aside our very selves we may learn to be neighbors to those who find themselves on the margins of human life and society”.
And for September, the universal intention is: “That opportunities for education and employment may increase for all young people.” The mission intention is: “That catechists may give witness by living in a way consistent with the faith they proclaim.”
We do not need to wait until we are seeking an indulgence to pray for our Holy Father’s intentions. We can attach his intentions to our morning offering, our daily rosary, or even short ejaculatory prayers we offer throughout a busy day. In this way we join in the solidarity of the Church, united in prayer and service, with our very lives, wherever we may be.
August 1, 2015