Pat can you briefly tell us the story of MCA and explain the link with the Vincentian Family? What is your charism and your purpose as MCA?
The Missionary Cenacle Apostolate (MCA) is an international association of the lay faithful comprising Catholic men and women from all walks of life who commit themselves to following in the footsteps of Jesus and the apostles in every aspect of their lives. In the words of Pope Francis, we are “missionary disciples!” The MCA was founded in 1909 in Brooklyn, NY by Fr. Thomas Augustine Judge, a Vincentian priest.
What does it mean to be part of the Cenacle? How many members are there today and where are you located?
Fr. Judge’s vision was that we would be apostles in what he called the “providence of daily life.” Our Rule of LIfe calls us to live our lives in such a way so as to seek first to glorify the Triune God. Our specific mission is preservation of the faith in those areas and among those people who are spiritually neglected and abandoned. Our chief effort is to develop a missionary spirit in other lay women and men. In our everyday lives, we look for opportunities to serve others, especially those who do not experience the love of God. We strive to live out Gospel teachings in our homes, our communities, and in our places of work and recreation as a way to build the kingdom of God and to give witness of the apostolic life to others. Today, the Missionary Cenacle Apostolate has more than 500 associates living throughout the United States and in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica and El Salvador.
In January 2020 you participated in the Rome meeting of all the Branches of the Vincentian Family: after almost two year what do you keep of that meeting?
Two years later, I still feel the grace of that special moment in time when the international leaders of the Vincentian Family gathered in Rome. Meeting men and women from all over the world who share a Vincentian spirituality was inspirational, to say the least! While each of our institutions is unique, we all embody the beautiful charism left to us by St. Vincent. I left that gathering with a renewed sense of gratitude that I have been called to live out my baptismal vocation in a lay association founded by a Vincentian priest who believed that every Catholic is called to be an “apostle in the providence of daily life.” That simple phrase has challenged me for the past 30 years and I hope it will continue to challenge me. I feel very blessed to know that I am part of something bigger than my own lay association — the Vincentian Family.