Definition of apostolate in US English:



  • 1(chiefly in Roman Catholic contexts) the position or authority of an apostle or a religious leader.

    • ‘I suspect his bishop will still not be terribly happy to have him claiming to be a Catholic apostolate.’
    1. 1.1 A group of apostles or religious leaders.
      • ‘These were the recognition of global diversity within the church, religious ecumenism, an emphasis on lay apostolates, and the re-definition of the relation between the Church and non-Christian religions.’
      • ‘It is in this diversity that the Society is able to accomplish its work in schools, in parishes, in retreat houses, and in countless other apostolates: it leads not to degeneration but to generation.’
      • ‘New structures will have to be created because apostolates that rely primarily on the charisms of individuals will necessarily die with the individual.’
      • ‘But laypersons should not hesitate to involve themselves in the intellectual apostolate.’
      • ‘Well, we have to come out of here with a very clear, strong statement that we will take every step possible to make sure that children and young people are safe in all the church's ministries and apostolates.’
      • ‘The first Chapter to be established was in Albany, New York, where those who helped him in the earlier days of his apostolate have banded together to promote his Cause for Canonisation.’
      • ‘Nicholas of Lyra had allowed that Judas may have been good when he was first called to the apostolate.’
      • ‘Priests and seminarians who are 50 years of age or younger, in good health, physically fit, and are willing to serve in this missionary apostolate are encouraged to look into becoming an Army chaplain.’
    2. 1.2 Religious or evangelistic activity or works.
      ‘our apostolate of hospitality to the elderly’
      • ‘During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, project after project attempting to set on foot a crusade was made, and we refer to them merely to point out that the spirit of a militant apostolate continued to ferment in the soul of France.’
      • ‘I'm really grateful to all you folks who answered my bleat about financial support for Catholic apostolates yesterday!’
      • ‘In 1981 he returned to Khon Kaen and was entrusted with the apostolate for leprosy patients and their families.’
      • ‘A priest gifted for catechetics and communication with children from eleven to fourteen could carry on that apostolate by correspondence.’
      • ‘However, for some people sports is the closest thing to religion they have, so it makes sense to me that Rome would explore an apostolate there.’
      • ‘He praises the prelates who repeatedly call him in to question his apostolate of presence.’
      • ‘Much the same as Pius X, he spurred on the laity through the apostolate of Catholic Action, which he had reorganized in 1923 and purged of party intrigue.’
      • ‘Over 150 people have committed themselves to this worthy apostolate, which was launched at 7.30 Mass on Thursday evening.’
      • ‘They work, attend the day's eight choral prayer services and receive guests; there is no other apostolate in their way of life, which is devoted entirely to the love and worship of God.’
      • ‘How, exactly does pursuit of the moral virtue of justice integrate or expand the intellectual virtues pursued in the academy, specifically the traditional Jesuit apostolate in education?’


Late Middle English: from ecclesiastical Latin apostolatus, from apostulus (see apostle).