St. Paul Evangelization Society – SPES – is a spiritual association of Catholic laity and clergy whose members are passionately committed to the Great Commission delivered to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with his last words on earth (cf. Mt 28:18-20), and led by the bishops of the Catholic Church. SPES was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on December 8th, 2014 at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA.
As pilgrims in this post-modern, secular world, we are devoted to the New Evangelization, as described in such magisterial documents as Evangelii Nuntiandi (Pope Paul VI, 1975), Redemptoris Missio (St. Pope John Paul II, 1990), Porta Fidei (Pope Benedict XVI, 2011), Evangelii Gaudium (Pope Francis, 2013), as well as major documents of episcopal conferences such as Disciples Called to Witness: the New Evangelization (USCCB, 2012), and the Aparecida Document (Episcopal Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean, 2007).
Our hope (‘spes’, in Latin) is that all have a personal encounter with the Trinity through Jesus Christ that leads to lifelong missionary discipleship in communion with the Catholic Church. We are dedicated to supporting bishop-led evangelization, so that all the laity as well as the clergy of a diocese/archdiocese might embrace the call of the Great Commission.
Our personal circumstances are varied. Some are evangelizers sharing the Kerygma on college campuses, in neighborhoods and workplaces – even on the streets; some are catechists teaching the truth of the faith to those who have been evangelized; some are RCIA sponsors and companions walking with those who enter the faith; some are homebound senior citizens offering their sufferings and prayers for Mary’s intercession. But, regardless of our individual circumstances, as members of the Society, we are committed to living our lives as mature “missionary disciples” in a broken world. While we may be separated by age, ministry, and geography, we know that our Lord is calling us to be mature missionary disciples in communion with one another, not isolated individuals. Hence, the Society, a community that binds us together so that we can mutually support one another regardless of the exigencies of our individual lives.
Above all, the Society exists under the guidance and leadership of our apostolic fathers, our bishops. As a society, we seek to be their humble children and through filial love, assist them in fulfilling their calling to bring the Church into mission and evangelize the world. We do this through prayer for our bishops, by being faithful missionary disciples in our own diocese, by offering our services to bishops who are in need of missionary disciples and by bringing together our fellow faithful under the apostolic leadership of our local bishop.
In addition, members of the Society are committed to intercessory prayer for the conversion of the world – from our families and friends; to our local bishop and diocese; to the far corners of the earth. We are all called to offer back to God that which we have been given. Accordingly, we ask all members of the Society to make a minimal commitment to the following spiritual exercises:
- Daily prayer said with affection and respect for your own bishop and for the flourishing of the New Evangelization in your diocese
- Daily Chaplet of Divine Mercy or Rosary for the intention of the evangelization of the world
- Daily morning and evening prayers, even if they are brief
- Active participation in the sacraments
Finally, we require a reasonable demonstration of commitment via a formal application process. The application is not onerous, but it is designed to ensure that applicants are serious about their commitments. There are no financial requirements or membership dues.
To recap, the basic requirements for formal membership in the St. Paul Evangelization Society are: (1) a commitment to lead the life of a mature missionary disciple1; (2) a filial love and commitment to your ordinary bishop (3) a commitment to daily prayer and active sacramental participation, as described above, and; (4) acceptance of membership through an application process. Please click on Join SPES to initiate the application process.
Although it is not a requirement, members of the Society are invited to participate in the activities of the SPES apostolate. To learn more about our ministry, please click on The SPES Apostolate.
1 To learn more about what it means to be a mature missionary disciple, we would refer you to paragraphs 120 and 121 of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium). We also recommend reading part 1, chapters 1-8 of St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life for a discussion of spiritual practices that are appropriate to a person’s state of life.