A Powerful Witness
The powerful witness offered by the manner of living of the members of Heralds of the Gospel has attracted numerous persons, not only to desire to be the passive recipients of the good example and other graces granted by Divine Providence through their ministry, but has led them to desire to become an active part of this ministry, each according to their respective profession and condition in life, by sharing in the particular spirituality and charism of the association and becoming harbingers of the Good News.
Out of this desire expressed by so many individuals in different cities and countries the new institution of “Companions” arose within Heralds of the Gospel in which they are able to participate in its evangelizing efforts.
According to the Statutes of the Heralds of the Gospel, these Companions are those who, “while they identify themselves with the spirit of the Association, due to their priestly duties, or because they belong to an institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life, or due to their professional or family obligations, cannot give themselves fully to the work of the Association” (Statute 9).
Therefore, as married or single lay people living in the world, priests, deacons, religious, lay people of consecrated life or members of other associations or ecclesiastical movements, the Companions of the Heralds of the Gospel, besides observing the precepts and duties proper to their state in life, make an effort to live in conformity with the charism and spirituality of the Association, dedicating their free time to it and committing themselves to fulfill certain obligations.
The Heralds of the Gospel are at the service of the Church. They proclaim the Gospel to all social classes, they work in parishes, homes and schools. They act in the most diverse social and cultural milieux, among professionals, among the working class, in the world of sports, in world of television and radio, in hospitals, in nursing homes, in slums, in prisons, in any place where they can bring consolation, encouragement and hope.
In as much as his obligations in life allow, a Companion also takes part in these activities, under the direction of those designated by the appropriate superior.
They desire to apply to their daily life — in their family circles, during social activities and in the workplace — the spirit and teaching of the Heralds of the Gospel, being witnesses of Christ to their neighbor by both word and example.
At the same time, like any herald of the Gospel, they know that all their efforts will be useless, if their hearts are not intimately united to Jesus and Mary, for the interior life is the soul of the apostolate.
To give witness to beauty, the splendour of virtue and of truth; to be a symbol of the infinite greatness and goodness of God, transmitting a note of solemnity and pulchritude, in all their manifestations, is the ideal of the Heralds of the Gospel.
It is in accordance with this charism that the Heralds of the Gospel — those who lead an entirely dedicated life, as well as the Companions — seek the perfection of charity in all things: “If I have not charity I account for nothing…if I have not charity, I am nothing… the greatest [of the three theological virtues] is charity” (1 Cor 13:2-3,13). They desire to attain sanctity itself.
As Blessed John Paul II alerted, sanctity “is a duty which concerns not only certain Christians: ‘All the Christian faithful, of whatever state or rank, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity’”(Lumen Gentium 40, Novo Millennio Inuente 30).
“The whole life of the Christian community and of Christian families must lead in this direction…. the paths to holiness are personal and call for a genuine ‘training in holiness’… This training must integrate the resources offered to everyone with both the traditional forms of individual and group assistance, as well as the more recent forms of support offered in associations and movements recognized by the Church” (Novo Millennio Inuente, 31).
“As the Council itself explained,” Blessed John Paul continues, “this ideal of perfection must not be misunderstood as if it involved some kind of extraordinary existence, possible only for a few ‘uncommon heroes’ of holiness. The ways of holiness are many, according to the vocation of each individual” (Novo Millennio Inuente, 31).
As any herald of the Gospel, the Companions participate in the special graces that God sends the Association. The Holy Father has granted them plenary indulgences in articulo mortis, on the day one is received into the Association, and on the feasts of the Chair of Peter (February 22nd), Our Lady of Good Counsel (April 26th) and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
They are grouped into Sodalities, organized in function of their parishes, or the proximity of a house of the Heralds of the Gospel.
To become a Companion, the candidate begins by making the preparation for the Consecration to Jesus Christ the Incarnate Wisdom, through the hands of Mary, according to the aforementioned method of St. Louis de Montfort. They are admitted afterwards, upon pronouncing the formula of the Consecration, during a ceremony in which they receive the Companion cloak, the insignia or pin by which they are identified, and Prayer Book.
The Prayer Book contains the prayers which Christians should pray at different times of the day, for example, upon awakening, before retiring, before and after meals, at the time of the Angelic Salutation, (Angelus), along with other prayers to increase the life of piety, obtain the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, and to please God.