What Is Prayer?

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.

(St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Manuscrits autobiographiques, C 25r.)

The Pope Video April 2019

Prayers for April

The Angelus
Traditionally said three times a day: 6am, 12 noon and 6pm.

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary.

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray;
Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord,
thy grace into our hearts;
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ, thy Son,
was made known by the message of an angel,
may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection.
Through the same Christ, our Lord.

The Regina Caeli
On Sundays, and throughout Eastertide

V. Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
R. For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.
V. Has risen, as he said, alleluia.
R. Pray for us to God, alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray. O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

V. Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.
R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.
V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus. Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus; ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Sub tuum
Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix.
Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus,
sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper,
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta. Amen.

We fly to thy protection, O holy Mother of God.
Despise not our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

This prayer, first found in c. 300, is the oldest known prayer to the Virgin.

The Memorare
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence I fly unto thee,
O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Psalm 50
Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
In your compassion blot out my offence.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.

My offences truly I know them;
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned;
what is evil in your sight I have done.

That you may be justified when you give sentence
and be without reproach when you judge,
O see, in guilt I was born,
a sinner was I conceived.

Indeed you love truth in the heart;
then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom.
O purify me, then I shall be clean;
O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me hear rejoicing and gladness,
that the bones you have crushed may revive.
From my sins turn away your face
and blot out all my guilt.

A pure heart create for me, O God,
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

Give me again the joy of your help;
with a spirit of fervour sustain me,
that I may teach transgressors your ways
and sinners may return to you.

O rescue me, God, my helper,
and my tongue shall ring out your goodness.
O Lord, open my lips
and my mouth shall declare your praise.

For in sacrifice you take no delight,
burnt offering from me you would refuse,
my sacrifice, a contrite spirit.
A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.

In your goodness, show favour to Sion:
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be pleased with lawful sacrifice,
holocausts offered on your altar.

From the Lancaster Diocesan Faith and Justice Commission:


April 2019 Intention Reflection

Among the many intentions and desires we will bring to our prayer and liturgies in April, the Holy Father invites us to consider also what is in his heart, and in his prayers, this month.

This year it’s the month that brings us Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Good Friday, then the bright triumph of absolute good over evil’s darkness on Easter Day.

In this month, Pope Francis invites us to pray for a particularly heroic and brave group, Doctors and their humanitarian collaborators in war Zones, who risk their lives to save the lives of others. They labour in so many situations of darkness. He shares this, his universal Intention for this month, so that we might hold these courageous and generous professionals in our prayer too, thanking God for them and for the selfless good that they do; a powerful story that is, perhaps, not always told as it might be.

Here in the constituent nations of the UK we are blessed to have the widely-admired humanitarian and development agencies CAFOD (Catholic Fund for Overseas Development) in England and Wales, and SCIAF (Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund) in Scotland. Each is the official agency for the Episcopal Conference in those nations. In Ireland, Trocaire carries out a similar mission.

In the Jesuit world, we have Jesuit Missions and the wonderful Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) founded by Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ, General of the Society from 1965 to 1983. Earlier in his Jesuit life, Fr Arrupe had received medical training, which he famously applied ministering in a place of war, to the survivors among the 200,000 victims of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. He was there when it exploded. Originally, like Ignatius, from the Basque Country of Spain, Fr Arrupe had been missioned to Japan; he was briefly imprisoned at the war’s outbreak and later became Japan’s Jesuit Provincial.

At the beginning of this year, we received the good news that Fr Arrupe is now on the road to sainthood, the cause for his canonisation having officially begun with his naming as a Servant of God.

One of the best-known medical organisations operating in war-zones in our time is the international agency 'Medecins sans Frontieres' (Doctors without Borders).

Founded in Paris in 1971, following the war and humanitarian disaster in Biafra, they work to provide medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from healthcare. Their mission is to remain impartial and neutral, guided by medical ethics and by the demands of justice. Their work goes beyond immediate disaster relief, frequently asking why so-called 'third world countries receive only third-rate medical services.

In our annual Pope’s Prayer Network 'Living Prayer' booklet for 2019, we have a reflection from one of our Dublin colleagues on this month’s Intention.

Patrick Muldoon, of the Jesuit Communication Centre, writes of how Pope Francis, commenting on the world’s present instability, emphasised how war and the threat of war is causing increased hunger.

Humanitarian assistance projects are being frustrated because 'arms have gained unprecedented importance, eliminating other ways of resolving [these] issues'.

The Pope said that this approach 'is so deeply ingrained and taken for granted that it prevents food supplies from being distributed in war zones, in violation of the most fundamental and age-old principles and rules of international law'.

The Pope offered a prayer for us to say, reprinted below.

Most of us would recognise the temptation to 'walk by on the other side' when faced with suffering in another person, or on the larger scale the suffering of brothers and sisters in the Majority World. The people for whom the Holy Father invites us to pray this month do not yield to that temptation although, being human, they will experience it too. These medical professionals and humanitarian workers do, every day, in the words of this month’s Intention, 'risk their lives to save the lives of others'; if they don’t, who will? What, therefore, does it mean to pray for them?

First, this might be to pray in thanks for them. And since our prayer must not be mere empty words, we might realise also that it should move us to action, should mobilise us: what can we actually do about this challenge to humanity? Why do doctors and humanitarian collaborators have to risk their lives in war-zones? We don’t want to hide behind prayers and piety but we do want to discern what needs to be done. Pope Francis so often calls for us to be a discerning church. A precondition of good discernment is to become as fully informed as we can.

In praying this intention this month, with Pope Francis, we commit our hearts to that discernment, that informed listening, that breaks open for us the mission to which the Spirit of God calls each of us, no matter where we find ourselves in this hurting and unstable world.

A suggested Morning Offering prayer, from the Living Prayer 2019 booklet:
Merciful Father, I thank you for your presence in my life and your immense love. May my heart become more like the heart of Jesus and may this union of hearts be reflected in the way I interact with my colleagues, my family, friends and strangers.
I offer you my day, in union with the Heart of Jesus, for the Church and the intentions of the Holy Father. Our Father …

Pope Francis’s Prayer: May he Lord help all the little ones and the poor of our world to continue to believe and trust that the Kingdom of God is at hand, in our midst, and is ‘justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’ (Rom.14:17. May He sustain all those how, day by day, strive to combat evil with good, with words and deeds of fraternity, respect, encounter and solidarity. We ask all this in the power of the crucified and risen Lord – Amen.

THREE CHALLENGES for this month:
1 Get to know about the work of medical and humanitarian agencies that carry out their mission in war zones, such as Medecins sans Frontieres, Jesuit Refugee Service and the in-country collaborators of CAFOD, SCIAF and Trocaire.

2 Promote, in your worshipping community, a moment of prayer for all those who put their lives at risk to help the victims of war; perhaps during Holy Week.

3 Personally, or in a group, reflect on how to put academic and professional talents at the service of others, especially the poorest and those who suffer. Ask a trained and experienced spiritual director to guide and accompany your discernment. You might find an eater invitation to action, fro mthe Risen Lord!

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