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News Story

By Tracey Primrose

May 11, 2017 — Prayer is the “sea of the boundless love of
God” says Pope Francis, and one of the most important ways the Holy Father
communicates his prayer intentions is through The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer
Network (PWPN).

Founded as the Apostleship of Prayer and recently renamed by
Pope Francis, the network communicates the pope’s monthly intentions to 50
million members in 89 countries, seeking to mobilize people in prayer and
action. Its youth branch, the Eucharistic Youth Movement (EYM), is present in 56

In the U.S., the group has been led by its long-serving
national director, Fr. James Kubicki, SJ; next month the mantle will be handed
over to Fr. William Blazek, SJ.

PWPN traces its roots to France, where in 1844 a group of
Jesuit seminarians, anxious to hurry their studies so they could set out as
missionaries, were instructed by their spiritual director to use their time and
talents for the salvation of souls as “apostles of prayer.” In 1879, the group
received its first statutes, approved by Pope Pius IX. From the beginning, the
Apostleship of Prayer, also devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, has been
entrusted by the pope to the Jesuits.

In recent years, Fr. Kubicki is credited with helping the
PWPN broaden its outreach through digital communications and his support for
innovative programs, such as the Hearts on Fire retreats, which target young

Fr. James Kubicki, SJ, outgoing national director of the PWPN

Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, president of the Jesuit Conference,
the organization that represents the Society of Jesus in Canada and the U.S.,
said, “I wish to express my deep gratitude to Fr. Kubicki for his 14 years of
service. He has worked tirelessly and with great zeal to promote the PWPN throughout
the country. Among his many creative contributions was the encouragement and
support of Jesuits in formation offering ‘Hearts on Fire’ missions in parishes,
a deeply formative experience for some of our men who will be ordained this

The appointment of Fr. Blazek was made by Fr. Frédéric
Fornos, SJ, PWPN’s international director, headquartered in Rome. Fr. Blazek will
work from the U.S. headquarters in Milwaukee and will
simultaneously serve as the organization’s North American coordinator.

Fr. Frédéric Fornos, SJ, PWPN’s international director, greets Pope Francis during a centenary celebration for the Eucharistic Youth Movement in 2015.

Currently an associate director at the Manresa House of
Retreats in Convent, Louisiana,

Fr. Blazek served as an infantry officer for five years in Iraq before
attending medical school and becoming a doctor. After many years of discerning
a vocation, he entered the Jesuits in 2001 and was ordained to the priesthood
in 2012.

Membership in the PWPN, which is available online,
involves “a commitment to offer yourself to God for his purposes each day.” In
May, the pope’s prayer intentions are for Christians in Africa and for priestly

Last year, the PWPN launched “Click to Pray,” an app available in English,
Spanish, Portuguese, French and German. Click to Pray offers users a digital way to
accompany Pope Francis in his prayer intentions.

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