Tag Archives: Pope Francis

4 June: Praying with Pope Francis

Pope Francis’s Intention for Evangelization: – The Beauty Of Marriage


Let us pray for young people who are preparing for marriage with the support of a Christian community: may they grow in love, with generosity, faithfulness and patience.

I think we could pray also for those who do not have the support of a community when preparing to marry or live together. The couple whose wedding these flowers celebrated had family, friends, work colleagues all around them, and still do, now that they are parents. So many people, not all of them claiming to be Christian, gladly did big or little things to make the day go with a swing, but more importantly, they were friends in the times before and after that one day. The couple themselves, as well as their circle, are growing in love, with generosity, faithfulness and patience.

But sometimes growing in love can feel like one step forward and two back. Those virtues will always be needed, so let us pray for all young people who are preparing for marriage!

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22 May: Environment Novena – Day IX

The ninth and final day of prayer and readings to provide tangible action to respond to the urgent climate change issues we all face.Go to the full posting.

God is intimately present to each being, without impinging on the autonomy of his creature, and this gives rise to the rightful autonomy of earthly affairs. His divine presence, which ensures the subsistence and growth of each being, “continues the work of creation”.

The Spirit of God has filled the universe with possibilities and therefore, from the very heart of things, something new can always emerge: “Nature is nothing other than a certain kind of art, namely God’s art, impressed upon things, whereby those things are moved to a determinate end. It is as if a shipbuilder were able to give timbers the wherewithal to move themselves to take the form of a ship.”

Pope Francis, Laudato Si’

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17 May: Environment Novena – Day IV

This is the fourth of nine days of prayer for our world environment and for our learning how we should be acting to restore it to health. Read the whole posting here.

 And God saw it was good. 

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15 May: Environmental Novena, II

The Catholic Bishops of England & Wales and Scotland have invited Christians to join in a Novena – nine days of prayer – for our planet and for discernment of what we should be doing to care for it. Here is the second post.

he has united himself definitively to our earth, 
and his love constantly impels us 
to find new ways forward.”
Laudato Si’, 13; 245

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14 May: Environment Novena, I

The Catholic Bishops of England & Wales and Scotland have invited Christians to join in a Novena – nine days of prayer – for our planet and for discernment of what we should be doing to care for it. Here is the first day’s post.

A thought from today’s extract from Pope Francis’s Laudato si’:

God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth”
Laudato Si’, 13; 246

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7 May: Praying with Pope Francis

Looking from Greenwich to London’s Docklands financial sector. Saint Paul’s Cathedral is all-but invisible to the left.

Universal Intention: – The World Of Finance
Let us pray that those in charge of finance will work with governments to regulate the financial sphere and protect citizens from its dangers.

I guess Pope Francis feels he has had his share of being let down by those in charge of finance! It always seems to be the poorest who suffer most when finances go wrong, both at a personal and a national level. Company executives remain wealthy when their businesses go bust, while their workers lose jobs and the pensions they had been paying into. Indebted countries find their debts rising at the same time as opportunities vanish to earn more from trade and so pay off debts. And don’t ask about covid vaccinations!

Rich nations often owe part of their prosperity to exploitation of workers or other assets overseas; there is an obligation to restore fairness in trade and to protect citizens of this one world from the dangers of unfair trade, which may persist for generations.

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6 May: Please join the Day of Prayer for Eastern Christians – 9th May 2021

prayer

Please remember in your prayers this Sunday our sisters and brothers in the Eastern Churches. Many of them face hardship and persecution, as they did in the earliest days of Christianity, which unfolded in the Middle East. This post from FACE tells us about the day of prayer and is followed by a letter from Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald, former Papal Ambassador or Nuncio to Egypt.

Day of Prayer for Eastern Christians – 9th May 2021

What is the Day of Prayer for Eastern Christians?

The Day of Prayer for Eastern Christians is an annual day of prayer which enables Eastern and Western Christians to come together in communion through prayer.  The event unites Latin rite dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe with dioceses of the Eastern Catholic Churches in union with the Bishop of Rome.

When is the Day of Prayer for Eastern Christians?

The Day of Prayer for Eastern Christians will take place on the Sixth Sunday of Easter, 9th May 2021, with the participation of Christians from all over Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and India.

Why is the Day of Prayer for Eastern Christians on the Sixth Sunday of Easter?

Sunday after Sunday, during the Easter celebrations, Eastern and Western Christians hear the Acts of the Apostles which witness to the first preaching of the Gospel. These readings remind us of the origin of the Eastern Churches and the history of the first Eastern Christians, who brought the Gospel to us. Nowadays, many of these Eastern Christians are oppressed and persecuted, and struggle to survive and to pass on our faith to their children, in their own lands where Christianity was born and first spread.

A day of communion through prayer.

On the Sixth Sunday of Easter, we invite Western Christians to recite the following bidding prayer for Eastern Christians:

Let us pray for peace in the world, especially in the Middle East. May the Christians in these lands be strengthened in their faith so that they may continue courageously to give witness to Jesus Christ.  

How to celebrate this day?

  • We ask you to say the prayer as part of the International Day of Prayer for Eastern Christians
  • We ask you to share this intention and the prayer with your family and friends
  • We suggest that parishes include the intention of Eastern Christians in the Prayers of the Faithful during Mass on the Sixth Sunday of Easter.

Who are the Eastern Christians?

The Eastern Christians in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa are direct descendants of the Early Christians and trace their roots back to apostolic times. There are more than 26 million Eastern Christians living in the Middle East and surrounding regions.  For Western Christians, they provide a direct link to the Apostolic Church, leading us to the roots of Christianity and showing us, through their tradition and witness, a living faith in Christ. 

How can you help Eastern Christians?

  • Pray for Eastern Christians. You can use our prayer for Eastern Christians (above) or join our prayer group to receive a monthly prayer, a reflection and information on an Eastern saint. Please do sign up to our prayer group:  https://facecharity.org/prayergroup/
  • Engage with Eastern Catholic Churches. There are several Eastern Churches in the United Kingdom. You are welcome to participate in their liturgies and share your common origins. You will receive a warm welcome.
  • Support Eastern Christians through our projects in education, healthcare, pastoral support and inter-religious dialogue, which are organised under the patronage of the bishops and religious communities of the Eastern Catholic Churches. You may support these projects here: https://facecharity.org/give/
Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald M.Afr.

Letter from Cardinal Fitzgerald

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Day of Prayer for Eastern Christians is fast approaching. It will take place on the Sixth Sunday of Easter (Sunday, 9th May 2021), with the participation of Christians from all over Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and India.

This Day of Prayer – promoted in the UK by Fellowship and Aid to the Christians of the East (FACE) in partnership with the Congregation for Oriental Churches – will offer Eastern and Western Christians an opportunity to be united in prayer during the time of Easter.

It will offer us in the West an opportunity to think of the Eastern Churches and to give thanks to God for all that we owe them: the first preaching of the Gospel, the origins of the monastic tradition, the early Church Fathers, and above all the witness of the Eastern Christians down the centuries, which has been, and still is, an inspiration to our faith.  This Day could also be an occasion to give thanks for the recent pilgrimage of Pope Francis to Iraq and to draw inspiration from its message of solidarity, fraternity and hope.

The Eastern Christians were the first evangelisers without whom Christianity would never have spread to the UK. Today, the Eastern Christians, many of whom are suffering from the effects of war and from discrimination, now face the added crisis of the Covid epidemic, with its threat to their livelihood, health and well-being.  This is a crisis within an already existing crisis!  They deserve our prayerful support.

In commending this Day of Prayer to you, may I suggest that you bring it to the attention of your family and friends, perhaps sharing with them the following prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray today for peace in the world, especially in the Middle East. By your heavenly grace, strengthen the faith and hope of Eastern Christians. May they be blessed with peace and prosperity in their countries.  May we be inspired by their devotion and witness to the Gospel, by their love and compassion for all in their communities, and by their courage, their endurance and self-sacrifice. Through their charity, tolerance and friendship, bring peace and reconciliation to those troubled lands, where Christianity was born and first spread. This we ask of you through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

I trust that this Day of Prayer, despite the restrictions caused by the current pandemic, will bring comfort and assurance to Eastern Christians. In our solidarity and communion, may we all be renewed by the hope we place in the Risen Christ.

With the assurance of my prayers and with my warmest wishes for a joyful Eastertide,

Yours in Christ

Michael Cardinal Fitzgerald M.Afr.

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25 April: A larger family.

I would not have expected to be quoting Dr Johnson on Education Sunday, but he gives us something to think about, especially his final sentence.

‘Sir, the life of a parson, of a conscientious clergyman, is not easy. I have always considered a clergyman as the father of a larger family than he is able to maintain. I would rather have Chancery suits* upon my hands than the cure of souls. No, Sir, I do not envy a clergyman’s life as an easy life, nor do I envy the clergyman who makes it an easy life.’

Boswell’s Life of Johnson, Vol 3.

Pope Francis sees religious vocations as part of the ‘ordinary pastoral life’ of the Church, and his prayer for today asks for each one of us the gifts of boundless compassion, abundant generosity, and radical availability.

Dear friends, on this day in particular, but also in the ordinary pastoral life of our communities, I ask the Church to continue to promote vocations. May she touch the hearts of the faithful and enable each of them to discover with gratitude God’s call in their lives, to find courage to say “yes” to God, to overcome all weariness through faith in Christ, and to make of their lives a song of praise for God, for their brothers and sisters, and for the whole world. May the Virgin Mary accompany us and intercede for us.

Pope Francis, World Day of Prayer for Vocations, 2020.

Prayer for World Day of Prayer for Vocations

  • Holy Spirit,  stir within us the passion to promote vocations to the consecrated life, societies of apostolic life, diocesan priesthood, and permanent diaconate.
  • Inspire us daily to respond to Your call with boundless compassion, abundant generosity, and radical availability.
  • Help us to remember our own baptismal call to rouse us to invite the next generation to hear and respond to Your call.
  • Inspire parents, families, and lay ecclesial ministers to begin a conversation with young Catholics to consider how they will live lives of holiness and sacred service.
  • Nudge inquirers and motivate discerners to learn more about monastic life, apostolic life, missionaries, cloistered contemplative life, and evangelical Franciscan life.
  • Ignite our Church with the confident humility that there is an urgent need for religious sisters, brothers, deacons, and priests to live in solidarity with those who are poor, neglected, and marginalised.
  • Disrupt our comfortable lives and complacent attitudes with new ideas to respond courageously and creatively with a daily ‘YES!’  Amen.

* Chancery Courts were concerned with domestic matters including adoptions, custody disputes and divorces; guardianships; sanity hearings; wills; and challenges to constitutionality of state laws.

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9 April: Praying with Pope Francis.

Saint Dunstan, Canterbury

We usually post Pope Francis’ prayer intention on the first Friday of the month, but this month it fell on Good Friday, so we postponed it until today.

Pope Francis’s Intention for April: – Fundamental Rights
We pray for those who risk their lives while fighting for fundamental rights under dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and even in democracies in crisis.

One of the fundamental rights is to health care. As we have seen with the covid-19 vaccination programme, there are authoritarian regimes, conspiracy theorists and others with influence, who have been prepared to dissuade or prevent people from receiving the vaccine. Saint Dunstan’s church was illuminated last year to publicise the world-wide programme to end polio, a crippling disease which can be prevented with a childhood vaccination programme. This has been resisted by militia men who attack and kill public health workers, alleging that the vaccination brings on other diseases.

Just one group of people prepared to risk their lives for fundamental rights. Let us pray for them and all who work for people’s rights.

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23 March, Gates VI: Wisdom, watching and waiting

Gate to Jesus Hospital, Canterbury by CD

This passage comes at the end of a poem in which Wisdom tells how she was with the Creator as he made the heavens and earth.

I was with him forming all things: and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times; Playing in the world: and my delights were to be with the children of men.

Now therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord: but he that shall sin against me, shall hurt his own soul. All that hate me love death.

Proverbs 8: 32-36.

The gate in Brother Chris’s picture above is well set up for watching and waiting, with its benches on either side. The residents of the Hospital – almshouses in fact – could sit watching here and chat to their ordinary, decent neighbours passing by. Wisdom surely belongs, in part, with the old people and their experience of life.

Simeon and Anna, two old people, waited near the Temple gate, and recognised the wisdom of God in a tiny, fragile baby. The ordinary, decent people of Jerusalem recognised the wisdom of God in a man, riding to the city gate on a donkey. Do we recognise the wisdom of God in what is described as an invasion against an evil empire, or in the unarmed arrival of an old man representing the Prince of Peace?

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