On 28th September 2013, over 200 members of Apostolic Work from 14 dioceses gathered in St. Patrick’s College, Dublin, to celebrate 90 years of their work. They were welcomed by the National President, Mrs Anne Donaghy, who outlined how the organisation started in Belfast in 1923, and emphasised how the aims of the Apostolic had not changed over this period of time. Mrs Donaghy then introduced the guest speakers, Baroness Nuala O’Loan and Bishop Leo O’Reilly.
Baroness O’Loan spoke of the importance of Apostolic Work. She said we must be strong in our faith and look at new methods of evangelisation. In her many roles she had visited war-torn countries of Africa, she had sat in wreckages of churches and prayed. She also watched displaced people – young, old and disabled – coming to attend Mass said by a missionary priest. (Walk with others and gold will walk with us.) We find this hard to see but Apostolic Workers do this in their role of helping the missions.
Referring to the lack of young people joining Apostolic Work, we should not be discouraged. Many go out to missionary countries and work as volunteers and we should give our support. They will experience many aspects of work on the missions and in return this will be a great help to Apostolic Work.
Bishop O’Reilly spoke about missions going forward with reference to Church teaching. He asked us to engage with the young, who have an awareness of a world that is so different to ours. Through modern methods of communication, students in higher education are developing an interest in the missions, for example groups from schools are going out to the missions. Bishop O’Reilly finished with, ‘Do not be afraid to go with Christ to the peripheries, Jesus does not say go, make do, no, Jesus said, “Go, I am with you”. It was a very encouraging gathering, which we hope we can build on for the next 90 years.