by Jessica Langdon
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — When the list of people to thank has been building for years, there’s always the risk of leaving someone out.
“If you feel left out, thank you, too,” said Father Vince Huber, a member of the Apostles of the Interior Life, adding levity to an already joyous — and historic — occasion.
On Aug. 22, the five priests who make up the male branch of the Apostles of the Interior Life achieved a milestone: The group became a clerical public association of the faithful.
A Mass at Savior Pastoral Center was the occasion for the elevation of the group to that status, celebrated on the feast of the Queenship of Mary.
Up until this point, the priests had been ministering as diocesan priests in the archdiocese, with permission from the archbishop to live according to the constitution of their community.
But with the decree issued by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, the male branch gained a new status under canon law, and the priests may now minister publicly as Apostles of the Interior Life.
“The archbishop has given us this recognition as a public association of Christ’s faithful, which means we operate publicly in the name of the church,” said Father Vince.
Their new status means they are free under canon law to live according to the ways spelled out in the Apostles’ constitution, he said.
Years in the making
The formation of the male branch stemmed from the female branch, which shares the same charism of spiritual direction and evangelization.
The female branch is a private association of the faithful, approved by the Diocese of Rome, Italy.
Father Salvatore Scorza founded both branches, with the idea for the female branch springing to life when he met Sister Susan Pieper — now the branch’s president — in California.
The provincial house is in Overland Park.
The male branch became a private foundation in 2007.
Growing in faith
Still in its formative stages, this association isn’t in a position to ordain priests and deacons for its own community, so the male branch needed a diocese where it would find welcome and support. It found just such an open door in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
Four men — Father Vince from Leawood, Father Edward Ahn from Chicago, Father Scott Kallal from Jerseyville, Ill., and Father Mirco Sosio from Semogo, Italy — were ordained to the priesthood in 2011.
Father Alessandro Borraccia from Milan, Italy, was ordained this summer.
During the Mass on Aug. 22, the men renewed their commitments.
In his homily, Archbishop Naumann described this “new expression of religious life” as a “beautiful outpouring of the Holy Spirit to help the church in this particular moment where there is this great spiritual hunger and longing in so many people’s hearts.”
Father Vince looked forward to the possibility of a house in the future where the men can live in community — and to the next steps toward the ultimate goal of becoming what is called a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right, in which the community would be responsible to the pope.
His list of people to thank was long, and included everyone who has persevered with them and prayed for them.
“As we’ve been going along, there have been these continual confirmations that we really are doing the work of God and the will of God, and that the church really thinks that what we are doing — and the charism that we are living — is worthwhile and that it’s important for the mission of the church,” he said.