The Missionary Cenacle Apostolate is a great option for practicing Catholics who seek to live out their faith in a way that reaches out to others. This page will provide you with a bit of the history and spiritual themes found within the MCA.
A Growing and Active Faith
The Missionary Cenacle Apostolate (MCA) was founded by Fr. Thomas Augustine Judge. Fr. Judge pioneered this lay apostolate in the United States and founded additional missionary congregations of Religious: Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity (Sisters); Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity (priests and Brothers); and the Blessed Trinity Missionary Institute (vowed laity). Together with the religious congregations founded by Fr. Judge, the MCA maintains a dynamic and collaborative apostolate collectively known as the Missionary Cenacle Family (MCF).
The first meeting of the MCA was held with five members in the Church of St. John the Baptist, Brooklyn, New York, on April 11, 1909. Father judge outlined for them the good that could be done for souls by a highly spiritualized laity, alert and self-sacrificing in the interests of the Church.
With the permission of the pastors in parishes where he gave missions, Father judge organized similar groups. By 1915 the Cenacle lay apostolate was widespread.
Today the Missionary Cenacle Apostolate is established in dioceses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Colombia. It has approximately 1,200 members. To read the MCA Rule of Life, click here.
The General Purpose of the Missionary Cenacle Apostolate is to give honor and glory to the Triune God. First, in the sanctification of the Associates by means of the devotions and customs of the Missionary Cenacle; and secondly in an ardent Catholicity that manifests itself in a prudent and zealous interest in your neighbor’s welfare.
Membership in the Missionary Cenacle Apostolate is comprised of devout Catholics who desire greater personal sanctification and are willing to take an active part in its apostolate. Candidates must be at least seventeen years of age at the time of admission to membership. They must prove themselves for at least one year by faithful attendance at meetings, the annual retreat and days of recollection. They must also participate regularly in the activities of the Apostolate in so far as they are able.
The Missionary Cenacle Apostolate has a clearly defined plan of apostolic formation derived from the traditional spiritual writings of the Church, from papal documents, and from the conferences, sermons and letters of Father Judge.
Meetings are held once a month. These meetings are most important for it is here that the Associates receive their training in the work of the Apostolate, and to a great extent, their apostolic formation.
Many of our Associates step out upon the public stage to militate against immoral practices, such as abortion. Some are involved in various aspects of social justice work, such as clothing and feeding the poor; some work in Hospice organizations; some minister to those affected with AIDS; some bring comfort and consolation to shut-ins and those residing in nursing homes. Wherever possible our apostolates are carried out in collaboration with other members of the Missionary Cenacle Family.
As of 2009, Mrs. Alma Robles is the General Custodian of the MCA. Alma made a visit to NJ in the Spring of 2009 for a day of recollection at the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, NJ. Alma is aided by a council that is made up of six others from around the various regions in the Western Hemisphere. The council meets several times per year to plan, pray and discuss the issues facing the MCA. Above all things, the council exists to further the missionary charism of the MCA.