This was previously known as the Apostleship of Prayer. It is the largest prayer-group in the church, active in 97 countries. We pray and work to meet the challenges of the world identified by the Pope in his monthly intentions, while walking a spiritual path called the “Way of the Heart.” Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ has been at the heart of our mission since our beginnings, over 175 years ago! Pope Benedict XVI began a review and renewal and it is now a “Pontifical Service” entrusted to the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) with canonical and Vatican legal status entity.
The service aims to share and spread the intentions of the Holy Father each month. As the largest prayer group in the Church, there is a Prayer Pathway, “a way of the heart, as a tool for shaping our hearts to become more like the heart of Christ, open in compassion for everyone and all of creation”.
Every First Friday, the network releases the monthly intention, presented by Pope Francis. There is a specific YouTube channel on which these are all available:
On the First Friday of each month the network releases a video in which Pope Francis personally presents his Intention for the month. https://www.youtube.com/c/thepopevideo
Intention for November 2021
Released in this month’s The Pope Video, prepared by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.
Pope Francis opened the video accompanying his prayer intention for November with a statement with which many will resonate.
“Overwork and work-related stress cause many people to experience extreme exhaustion —mental, emotional, affective, and physical exhaustion.”Pope Francis November 2021 Prayer intention
Pope Francis thus encouraged everyone to reach out to those around us who are depressed, desperate, or without hope. And he advised against comforting others with too many words. “Often,” he said, “we should just simply listen in silence, because we cannot go and tell someone, ‘No, life’s not like that. Listen to me, I’ll give you the solution.’”
Jesus’ offer of comfort
However, he continued, besides “indispensable psychological counselling”, Jesus’ words can help us and others to find solace: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
With that advice in mind, Pope Francis wrapped up his prayer intention video message with a renewed invitation to assist those around us.
The November edition of The Pope Video was created in conjunction with the Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers, which offers spiritual support for people suffering various forms of mental illness.
According to a press release accompanying the video, around 1 in 10 people worldwide lives with a mental health disorder, amounting to 792 million people or 11 percent of the population. Depression and anxiety account for around 3 and 4 percent, respectively, of those illnesses.
They can sometimes lead to suicide when left untreated or are severe and recurrent. Some 700,000 people commit suicide each year, making it the fourth leading cause of death in people aged 15 to 29.
As has been well-noted, the Covid-19 pandemic, and its associated restrictions on daily life, has led severely tested the mental and emotional resilience of many people.
Pope Francis’ call for us to pray and assist those who suffer from depression is therefore an important and timely invitation.