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Monday, 05 December 2022 11:49

Seven Sisters Apostolate in Pittsfield prays for pastor and bishop

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st mary adoration pittsfield for 7 sisters articleJesus, present in the monstrance, during adoration at St. Mary Parish in Pittsfield. The Seven Sisters Apostolate at the parish commits to praying for one hour before the Blessed Sacrament one day per week, for the sole purpose of praying for their pastor, Father Mark Schulte and Bishop Thomas John Paprocki.More parishes in diocese joining apostolate, as group encourages other parishes to start one

By ANDREW HANSEN 
Editor 

Recognizing that priests need our constant prayers, a group of women from St. Mary Parish in Pittsfield started a Seven Sisters Apostolate. The apostolate has hundreds of local groups in parishes throughout the world, including our diocese. Each of the seven women in the apostolate commits to praying for one hour before the Blessed Sacrament one day per week, for the sole purpose of praying for the priest or bishop her apostolate is praying for. In the case of St. Mary in Pittsfield, they have two groups for a total of 14 women (one woman being from St. Mark Parish in Winchester). One group of seven women prays for their pastor, Father Mark Schulte, and the other group prays for Bishop Thomas John Paprocki.   

“The action of taking time to go visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the powerhouse behind this ministry,” said Angela Lipcamon, anchoress and coordinator of The Seven Sisters Apostolate in Pittsfield. “There are no other obligations or meetings — just one hour per week with Jesus. It’s simple, beautiful, and abounding in graces for the priest and/or bishop and for the women praying the hour. It’s quite a gift!”

The Seven Sisters apostolate started at St. Mary in March of 2020 and the beginnings of the group has an interesting story. 

“When I called to enroll our group, I was informed of it being St. Margaret Clitherow’s feast day,” Lipcamon said. “I knew it was divine inspiration that I was enrolling on her feast day because she is one of the patron saints of the Seven Sisters Apostolate.”

St. Margaret Clitherow was martyred in 1586 in England under the rule of King Henry VIII’s persecution of Catholics, for supporting and harboring priests in her home and for organizing secret Masses. She was a convert, deeply devoted to the holy Eucharist, and to supporting the priesthood in prayer and action.

“This apostolate is important because of the power of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and because our priests and bishops are tremendously important to the life of the Church,” Lipcamon said. “They are a great gift to us from God, and our prayers are needed to help protect and sustain them. The most important gift we receive through them is the holy Eucharist, Jesus’ Body and Blood for the life of the world, along with providing us with the other sacraments that Jesus instituted for our wellbeing. Our priests and bishops lead us in the faith and are integral to the life of the Church.”

St. Mary’s apostolate added the Fasting Brothers men’s group as an adjunct ministry last year. Twelve men in the parish willingly accepted a call to fast one day per week in conjunction with the women’s prayer apostolate for Father Schulte and Bishop Paprocki.

“I believe there have been tremendous graces given through this ministry to our priest, the priesthood in general, our parishes, our bishop, the women dedicated to this ministry, and thus the diocese and Church at large, because we are one and intricately connected,” Lipcamon said. “Any time spent in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament brings immeasurable blessings and graces. It is impossible to know or measure the profound effect or gain from this ministry, but I believe it to be tremendous.”

The Seven Sisters apostolate is not the first one in our diocese, and it continues to grow. Lipcamon, in her capacity as president of the Quincy Deanery Council of Catholic Women, has promoted this eucharistic devotion and ministry to her deanery and the other deaneries of our diocese. 

Since starting this prayer ministry at St. Mary in Pittsfield, Lipcamon says several other parishes now have one or more of the Seven Sisters Apostolate, including parishes in Jacksonville, Jerseyville, Camp Point, Quincy, Arcola, and Edwardsville, with others embarking on starting an apostolate.   

“I encourage the spread of this devotion for the extreme graces involved in the rebuilding of Christ’s Church through the prayers and sacrificial offerings for our priests and bishop,” Lipcamon said. “Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is the key to the Eucharistic Revival. Through eucharistic adoration will come eucharistic revival! Anyone who fervently goes before Jesus in the Eucharist, never walks away empty. He fills you up. Be fervent in your commitment. One person can make a huge difference. Go forth with prayer and trust. It’s an easy, simple, humble, and sacrificial ministry with tremendous impact.  May God continue to bless our diocese in this endeavor.”

For more information, go to sevensistersapostolate.org

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