Tag Archives: Prayer

XXV World Day of the Sick

On the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Pope Francis has written this letter for the world day of prayer for the sick.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On 11 February next, the Twenty-fifth World Day of the Sick will be celebrated throughout the Church and in a special way at Lourdes. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Amazement at what God has accomplished: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me….’” (Lk 1:49). Instituted by my predecessor Saint John Paul II in 1992, and first celebrated at Lourdes on 11 February 1993, this Day is an opportunity to reflect in particular on the needs of the sick and, more generally, of all those who suffer. It is also an occasion for those who generously assist the sick, beginning with family members, health workers and volunteers, to give thanks for their God-given vocation of accompanying our infirm brothers and sisters. This celebration likewise gives the Church renewed spiritual energy for carrying out ever more fully that fundamental part of her mission which includes serving the poor, the infirm, the suffering, the outcast and the marginalized (cf. John Paul II, Motu Proprio Dolentium Hominum11 February 1985, 1). Surely, the moments of prayer, the Eucharistic liturgies and the celebrations of the Anointing of the Sick, the sharing with the sick and the bioethical and theological-pastoral workshops to be held in Lourdes in those days will make new and significant contributions to that service.

Even now, I am spiritually present at the grotto of Massabielle, before the statue of the Immaculate Virgin, in whom the Almighty has done great things for the redemption of mankind. I express my closeness to all of you, our suffering brothers and sisters, and to your families, as well as my appreciation for all those in different roles of service and in healthcare institutions throughout the world who work with professionalism, responsibility and dedication for your care, treatment and daily well-being. I encourage all of you, the sick, the suffering, physicians, nurses, family members and volunteers, to see in Mary, Health of the Infirm, the sure sign of God’s love for every human being and a model of surrender to his will. May you always find in faith, nourished by the Word and by the Sacraments, the strength needed to love God, even in the experience of illness.

Like Saint Bernadette, we stand beneath the watchful gaze of Mary. The humble maiden of Lourdes tells us that the Virgin, whom she called “the Lovely Lady”, looked at her as one person looks at another. Those simple words describe the fullness of a relationship. Bernadette, poor, illiterate and ill, felt that Mary was looking at her as a person. The Lovely Lady spoke to her with great respect and without condescension. This reminds us that every person is, and always remains, a human being, and is to be treated as such. The sick and the those who are disabled, even severely, have their own inalienable dignity and mission in life. They never become simply objects. If at times they appear merely passive, in reality that is never the case.

After her visit to the Grotto, thanks to her prayer, Bernadette turned her frailty into support for others. Thanks to her love, she was able to enrich her neighbours and, above all, to offer her life for the salvation of humanity. The fact that the Lovely Lady asked her to pray for sinners reminds us that the infirm and the suffering desire not only to be healed, but also to live a truly Christian life, even to the point of offering it as authentic missionary disciples of Christ. Mary gave Bernadette the vocation of serving the sick and called her to become a Sister of Charity, a mission that she carried out in so exemplary a way as to become a model for every healthcare worker. Let us ask Mary Immaculate for the grace always to relate to the sick as persons who certainly need assistance, at times even for the simplest of things, but who have a gift of their own to share with others.

The gaze of Mary, Comfort of the Afflicted, brightens the face of the Church in her daily commitment to the suffering and those in need. The precious fruits of this solicitude for the world of suffering and sickness are a reason for gratitude to the Lord Jesus, who out of obedience to the will of the Father became one of us, even enduring death on the cross for the redemption of humanity. The solidarity shown by Christ, the Son of God born of Mary, is the expression of God’s merciful omnipotence, which is made manifest in our life – above all when that life is frail, pain-filled, humbled, marginalized and suffering – and fills it with the power of hope that can sustain us and enable us to get up again.

This great wealth of humanity and faith must not be dissipated. Instead, it should inspire us to speak openly of our human weaknesses and to address the challenges of present-day healthcare and technology. On this World Day of the Sick, may we find new incentive to work for the growth of a culture of respect for life, health and the environment. May this Day also inspire renewed efforts to defend the integrity and dignity of persons, not least through a correct approach to bioethical issues, the protection of the vulnerable and the protection of the environment.

On this Twenty-fifth World Day of the Sick, I once more offer my prayerful support and encouragement to physicians, nurses, volunteers and all those consecrated men and women committed to serving the sick and those in need. I also embrace the ecclesial and civil institutions working to this end, and the families who take loving care of their sick. I pray that all may be ever joyous signs of the presence of God’s love and imitate the luminous testimony of so many friends of God, including Saint John of God and Saint Camillus de’ Lellis, the patrons of hospitals and healthcare workers, and Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, missionary of God’s love.

Dear brothers and sisters – the sick, healthcare workers and volunteers – I ask you to join me in praying to Mary. May her maternal intercession sustain and accompany our faith, and obtain for us from Christ her Son hope along our journey of healing and of health, a sense of fraternity and responsibility, a commitment to integral human development and the joy of feeling gratitude whenever God amazes us by his fidelity and his mercy.

Mary, our Mother,
in Christ you welcome each of us as a son or daughter.
Sustain the trusting expectation of our hearts,
succour us in our infirmities and sufferings,
and guide us to Christ, your Son and our brother.
Help us to entrust ourselves to the Father who accomplishes great things.

With the assurance of a constant remembrance in my prayers, I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing.

8 December 2016, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Francis

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The Art of Dying Well

dying-well

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference have launched a new website for the month of November, the moth of the Holy Souls. Called ‘The Art of Dying Well‘ the site offers support to those grappling with issues around the meaning of death and dying. Based in the Catholic tradition, but open to all, it features real-life stories about dealing with the journey through death to eternal life.

The site is for those who are dying, their friends and family, for carers and makes a contribution to the national debate. Expert advice has been sought from professionals in palliative care, ethics, chaplaincy, history and media.

 

Here is a video clip from the website which looks at the journey of one man’s terminal illness.

Year of Mercy Week of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees

Lamp Cross

Seemingly small acts can make a massive difference. One example of this is Francesco Tuccio, a carpenter from the small Italian island of Lampedusa. When hundreds of refugees who were fleeing Eritrea and Somalia drowned off the coast of Lampedusa, he was moved to gather the driftwood from the wrecked boats and turn them into crosses, which he offered to survivors as a small but powerful symbol of hope.

Pope Francis carried one of the Lampedusa crosses at a memorial Mass to commemorate people who have died, and the British Museum is now displaying a Lampedusa cross as a reminder to people of the refugee crisis the world is facing.

One such cross is visiting our parish in September and will serve as a focus of prayer as we conclude the Extrodinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.

We will hear a talk from CAFOD on the year of Mercy as the cross arrives to Haverfordwest. There will be a Holy Hour with Benediction and the oportunity to make a our personal messages known to the mingrant population on prayer cards. A evening votive Mass will conclude our week of prayer.

Week of Prayer from Thursday 22nd September to Wednesday 28th September.

 

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Care of Creation Day of Prayer

Tomorrow, September 1st, will be the first “Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.” Or at least it will be for us, our Orthodox brothers and sisters have been celebrating this day for some time. This ecumenical move was put forward by Pope Francis following his recent Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’  on the Care of our Common Home.

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This papal teaching was hailed as one of the most significant documents in a life time and, when published, cause of flurry of comment in both religious and social circles. However, even though it presents the care of the environment as a moral issue, a human issue, a religious issue and  a social issue effecting all elements of our lives, it seems to have been forgotten and passed to one side. Indeed, a recent poll in the USA showed that only 40% of US Catholics had even heard of the document and, out of all adults, only 39% felt climate change was a moral issue.

Perhaps this day is one in which is long overdue and when we can all make a renewed effort to take the pope’s words to heart and to look towards better care for our planet, and thus each other.

Here is the text of the letter from Pope Francis establishing the day of prayer.

To my Venerable Brothers

Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah TURKSON, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Cardinal Kurt KOCH, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity

Sharing with my beloved brother the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew his concerns for the future of creation (cfr Encylical Letter. Laudato Si, 7-9) and taking up the suggestion by his representative, the Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamum who took part in the presentation of the Encyclical Laudato Si on the care of our common home, I wish to inform you that I have decided to set up also in the Catholic Church, the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” which, beginning this year, will be celebrated on the 1st of September, as the Orthodox Church has done for some time now.

As Christians we wish to offer our contribution towards overcoming the ecological crisis which humanity is living through.  Therefore, first of all we must draw from our rich spiritual heritage the reasons which feed our passion for the care of creation, always remembering that for believers in Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became man for us, “the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature or from worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us.” (ibid., 216).   The ecological crisis therefore calls us to a profound spiritual conversion: Christians are called to “an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them.” (ibid., 217).  Thus, “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.”(ibid).

The annual World Day of prayer for the Care of Creation offers to individual believers and to the community a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation, raising to God our thanks for the marvellous works that He has entrusted to our care, invoking his help for the protection of creation and his mercy for the sins committed against the world in which we live.  The celebration of the Day on the same date as the Orthodox Church will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our orthodox brothers.   We live in a time where all Christians are faced with identical and important challenges and we must give common replies to these in order to appear more credible and effective.  Therefore it is my hope that this Day can involve, in some way, other Churches and ecclesial Communities and be celebrated in union with the initiatives that the World Council of Churches is promoting on this issue.

Cardinal Turkson, as President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace,  I asking you to inform the Justice and Peace Commissions of the Bishops’ Conferences, as well as the national and international Organizations involved in environmental issues about the establishment of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, so that in union with the needs and the local situation , this celebration can be rightly marked with the participation of the entire People of God: priests, men and women religious and the lay faithful.  For this reason, it will be the task of this Dicastery, in collaboration with the Episcopal Conferences to set up relevant initiatives to promote and illustrate this Day, so that this annual celebration becomes a powerful moment of prayer, reflection, conversion and the adoption of appropriate life styles.

Cardinal Koch, as President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, I’m asking you to make the necessary contacts with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and with the other ecumenical organisations so that this World Day can become the sign of a path along all believers in Christ walk together.  It will also be your Dicastery’s task to take care of the coordination with similar initiatives set up by the World Council of Churches.

Whilst I look forward to the widest possible cooperation for the best start and development of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, I invoke the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God and of St. Francis of Assisi, whose Canticle of the Creatures inspires so many men and women of goodwill to live in praise of the Creator and with respect for creation.  I support this pledge along with my Apostolic Blessing which I impart with all my heart to you, my dear Cardinals, and to all those who collaborate in your ministry.

From the Vatican, 6th August 2015

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

First Holy Communion.

HC 7

Congratulations and well done to those men and women of the parish who today received Holy Communion for the first time.  Many thanks to all those who helped to prepare them for this day of grace and to all those who had some part to play – be it decorating the church, preparing the breakfast party, and so on. It’s wonderful to see our school and parish coming together when our younger members receive the sacraments. May God bless you all and fill you with his strength and love. (More pictures here)

Change a Life. Pray for Vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life!

The 26th March is the 52nd World day of Prayer for Vocations! On this day, will you pray that your life might be changed by God’s grace? Will you pray that others will be changed by their encounter with a nun, priest, monk, or religious brother or sister?

Change a Life Banner

These video clips explore four different types of vocation – longer videos of the same people may also be found on YouTube!

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The virtuous circle of changing lives

WHEN A PERSON ACCEPTS THE CALL OF CHRIST to be a priest or a religious, their life is changed. But so are the lives of thousands of people who will be touched through their ministry. Lives are changed through the preaching of a priest, through the care of a religious sister or brother, through the prayers offered by enclosed nuns and monks. In these ways, a life changed in turn changes many lives. Completing this virtuous circle is the prayer of lay people for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, combined with the encouragement of those they know who are considering such a vocation. This too can change a life.

Each year the Pope writes a letter for Vocation Sunday. This year the Message from Pope Francis on Good Shepherd Sunday emphasises the importance of our vocation taking us beyond ourselves as he focuses on the Exodus of Israelites.

PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS

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Change a life

For more information or resources visit the National Office of Vocation Page

www.ukvocation.org

or contact Fr Liam, the Vocations Director of the diocese: revliambradley@gmail.com

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Prayer for the too busy Christian

St F

St Faustina, being a member of a religious order, typically had many opportunities to pray throughout the day, and many of these times of prayer led to profound encounters and conversations with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Once, though, she was allowed to visit her dying mother back at home and while there she was overburdened by so many family and friends who wanted to visit with her. Her time for prayer greatly diminished because she was so busy tending to her family needs. She tried several times during her time at home to sneak away for some conversation with the Lord, but each time her family demanded her attention. After her return to the convent, she wrote this in her diary:

“When I entered the chapel to say goodnight to the Lord before retiring, and apologized for having talked so little to Him when I was at home, I heard a voice within my soul, I am very pleased that you had not been talking with Me, but were making My goodness known to souls and rousing them to love me.

A few things to point out from this brief entry:

– St Faustina was too busy to spend her preferred amount of time in prayer. The Lord saw her busyness and he understood. In fact, not only did he understand, but he was pleased that she didn’t avoid her duty so that she could pray. It was more important for St Faustina to be attentive to the demands of her family than to spend huge amounts of time in prayer. Being attentive to her family was transformed into a type of prayer to the Lord.

– She still took time to pray. The first line: “When I entered the chapel…” Yes, she was very busy, but she still took time to pray. While she was home, she doesn’t apologize for NOT talking to the Lord, but for talking so little to him. She spoke to the Lord every day.

– She made the Lord’s goodness known and she roused her family to love him. While performing her duty, she helped others know the glory of God.

These three things may be helpful to anyone who struggles to find time to pray in the midst of a busy world, one which tends to place too many burdens on our shoulders. These three things will help the overburdened Christian discover that the Lord takes pleasure in our efforts to love him:

1. Always perform your duty with diligence, even if it means spending less than the preferred amount of time with the Lord.

2. Take time to pray everyday. Finding time is difficult; taking time is less difficult. Begin or finish the day with prayer and speak to the Lord for brief periods of time throughout the day.

3. While performing your duty, reveal to others the glory of God. Rouse others to love him more, simply by the way you attend to their needs.

copied from http://evangelicaldisciple.com and posted by Posted by: simplybearded