Rome, during the years between 1795–1850, provides the frame for the life of St. Vincent Pallotti, our Founder. Today, about such a person, one would say: the man the institution, the unique individuality, the leader. Pallotti, the tireless apostle of Rome, as he was called,the apostle of the streets and salons, is getting to the most needy and outcast: the sick, the orphans, those marginalized by society, prisoners, and the poor.
Pallotti, was sought after as confessor of popes, cardinals, the elite of the Church, seminarians and many nuns. Above all, the most frequent penitents in the long queues to his confessional were the Jacks-of-all-trades, because Pallotti as a folk retreat-master attracted crowds of Romans. The ordinary individual person’s salvation was the passion that consumed him. Through service in the confessional he not only brought people closer to God, but also made them aware of their personal responsibility for the salvation of others. On the other hand, he thought of himself as of the most unworthy creature of God, the least of the least. The only way he could serve in his own nothingness was to worship God, the Infinite Love, in response to the Lord’s own infinite affection.
He was a mystic immersed ceasingly in God. Everything he did and everyone with whom he dealt felt the aura that flowed from his intimate personal relationship with God. Pallotti was fascinated by the Triune God, Infinite Love, who came to love this man infinitely. His ideal became the relationship between God the Father and his Son who while here, on earth, was an Apostle of the Eternal Father, “a spokesman” of the Father’slove for man, laying down his own life as witness. In this spirit Pallotti lived and worked: he wanted to be, similar to Christ for the Father, apostle of the love of God. He strove to promote the salvation of every single person in every recess of the world (strong missionary thrust) and wished to engage all believers in apostolate. This could happen only by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus he perceived the efficiency of all believers’ activity in the image of the Cenacle in Jerusalem, with Mary, Queen of Apostles, and the Apostles themselves. At that time, Pallotti spiritually invited every person, so that with them, he would experience the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Love and Power.
This zeal for things of God bore fruit in Pallotti with the precursor idea of the unification of the efforts of all people for the revival of faith, strengthening of hope and rekindling of Christian love. This innovative idea was the cooperation of laity and clergy: bishops and priests, monks and nuns, women and men, husbands, widows and single persons. Thus originated the idea of the Union of the Catholic Apostolate: by a common effort in the interest of the salvation of mankind and the world, because alone one can accomplish little. It appeared that Pallotti by his “exploration” – at that time unimaginable by the Church – was ahead of his time by more than a 100 years. Vatican Council II (1962-1965) accepted the cooperation of laity and clergy for the purpose of evangelization as a norm in the present Church.
St. Vincent for us as for the Church lifted the bar very high. At times, when rivalry,
“The Union is inserted into the dynamic process of the merciful love of the Holy Trinity: God gives himself to humankind and to all creatures in order to reconcile all things to himself and all things among themselves, thus bringing all of humanity and the entire creation to salvation and perfection in Christ. Like St. Vincent Pallotti the members of the Union wholeheartedly allow themselves to be permeated by God’s infinite love; they give themselves to a life of service and to fulfilling His will, revealed to them above all through the sacred Scriptures, the teaching of the Church and the signs of the times.”(General Statutes of the UAC, 18)