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, October 2018


Pope's Network of Prayer: Intentions for October

    Recently, at the National Adoremus Eucharistic Congress, large numbers of the faithful visited the Pope’s Prayer Network exhibition stall and that of our colleagues from Dublin, the Sacred Heart Messenger, the Jesuit-run publishing house that promotes the Pope’s Network across Ireland.

    Many thanks if you came to see us! We have had many enquiries here at the London office after our National Promoter gave a PowerPoint presentation to the Congress about our Network.

    It’s really pleasing, therefore, to know that thousands more of the faithful, here in England and Wales, are beginning to pray with the Pope for the monthly intention he presents to the whole People of God.

    It’s good news too that many more are praying our Prayer Pathway each day, some using our Click-to-Pray app on their smartphones, joining tens of thousands around the world who offer each day to the Heart of Christ for Christ’s mission, making each day different … and more Eucharistic!

    The intention offered to us all this month is for The Mission of Religious.

    Pope Francis invites us all to pray that consecrated men and women religious may bestir themselves and be present among the poor, the marginalised and those who have no voice.

    The Pope is, of course a religious; meaning that he is a member of a religious order, the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Strictly speaking, he’s no longer a Jesuit, having been elected to the papacy and to the See of Buenos Aires before that, but he often makes it clear that he still counts himself as one, spiritually if not canonically.

    He knows as well as anyone about the particular mission given to Religious among the people of God; very often rooted in the mission and original inspiration of their holy founders, known as their “founder’s charism”. All these varied charisms are to contribute to the single mission of the Church in the world – that is evangelisation, in multiple voices, taking many and varied forms.

    The Second Vatican Council called all religious orders in the Church to renewal – to a rediscovery of their “founder’s charism”, their original inspiration.

    The most basic renewal is surely one that combines apostolic energy and love of the church – that is, lives consecrated for the people of God, all of us. Arguably, we are still some way from fulfilling another key insight of the Council, that the church is the people of God, all of us.

    It follows, then, that love of the church is for all of us, not just the institutional bit! It is from within that ecclesial context that religious orders go out into the world, each in their particular way but never apart from the Church whence they come.

    Some minister in a more sacerdotal way, often directly supporting the priestly ministry of the bishop and the diocesan clergy while others serve as religious sisters and brothers, or in the other forms of consecrated life.

    In the various “religious families” of Orders and Congregations, the “evangelical counsels”, the Vows, are always for mission; allowing the members to seek the greatest possible freedom, in Christ and in his people, for the sake of the work they are sent to so.

    This extends both to those whose charism is primarily apostolic and those who are monastic, maintaining a spiritual powerhouse of the prayer not for themselves but for the Gospel mission.

    All are, in diverse ways, missionary. Pope Francis, this month, wants all to pray for religious and specifically that all religious may “bestir themselves”, resisting any loss of fervour in difficult times and remembering where they really must be present and among whom.

    The poor, the marginalised and voiceless are specifically identified. That’s where religious need to be. They will find God there.

    As our reflection for this month’s page of our “Living Prayer” booklet, puts it, “Pope Francis knows what the poor suffer and he recognises that their marginalisation and exclusion is a product of our time and lifestyle. He is also aware of the prophetic and powerful role of religious involvement”.

    On his recent visit to Ireland, for the World Meeting of Families, he had a brief fraternal meeting with his brother Jesuits.

    There he requested a specific service of those Jesuits, that they help him to “put an end” to the scandal of abuse, about which he had heard, first-hand and moments before, from eight survivors.

    “This is a special mission for you: clean this up, change consciences, do not be afraid to call things by their name” he told those Jesuit Fathers and Brothers.

    Part of our prayer with the Pope this month could well be for God’s blessing on those religious in particular as, in obedience, they respond to the Pope’s request.


    We will continue, in 2018 and 2019, to suggest three proposals each month, based on the month’s Intention, for individuals and parishes, schools and chaplaincies to accept. This revives a venerable practice of the old Apostleship of Prayer.

    • Find information about the specific mission of some religious orders among “the poor, the marginalised and those who have no voice” and in places that are not always reported in the news.

    • Visit, this month, a religious missionary community, close to where you live, better to understand their charism and mission; discern where and how you might offer your service, skills and ability to support them. Or invite one of them to visit you!

    • Organise a time of prayer in your community for an increase in vocations to those religious orders and congregations who consecrate themselves to the service of others and for the people they serve.


    Following great advice from St.Ignatius Loyola, it’s always a good idea to take a few moments, as we begin even a short prayer, to remember that God is gazing upon us as we go to prayer.

    Just pause wordlessly for these few moments, recognising that you’re already in God’s presence and the loving gaze of the Trinity longing for you to be the best you that you can be.

    Morning Offering:

    Father of goodness, at the beginning of this new day, I thank you for the beauty of the little things that you give me.

    By the action of your Spirit in me, make me alert and sensitive to the world in which I live. I offer you my day for the Church and the Pope’s intention for this month …

    At any point during the day, perhaps especially at a moment when you’re feeling a bit stressed or too busy …

    Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd, in your immense kindness, you wanted to come to us to announce the closeness of the Kingdom to the little ones, the excluded, the marginalised and the sick.

    Today, your Church continues in the world this preferential option for the poor, serving them in their needs in so many places and situations.

    I pray for consecrated men and women who are in the world,
    a sign of your presence and your love.

    May their example of generosity move our hearts towards the needs of others.
    During this month, I also pray for the Synod of Bishops on Young People.

    Our Father …

    Prayers for October

    The Most Holy Rosary
    The Mysteries of the Rosary:

    The Joyful Mysteries – Traditionally recited on Monday and Saturday
    The Annunciation of the Lord
    The Visitation of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth
    The Nativity of the Lord
    The Presentation of the Lord
    The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple.

    The Sorrowful Mysteries - Traditionally recited on Tuesday and Friday
    The Agony in the Garden
    The Scourging at the Pillar
    The Crowning with Thorns
    The Carrying of the Cross
    The Crucifixion of the Lord

    The Luminous Mysteries - Traditionally recited on Thursday
    The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan
    The Wedding Feast at Cana
    The Preaching of the Kingdom
    The Transfiguration
    The Institution of the Eucharist

    The Glorious Mysteries - Traditionally recited on Wednesday and Sunday
    The Resurrection of the Lord
    The Ascension of the Lord
    The Descent of the Holy Spirit
    The Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven
    The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven

    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.

    Prayer to Holy Michael, Archangel
    Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.
    Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
    May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
    and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
    by the power of God cast into hell Satan
    and all the evil spirits
    who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

    Prayer for Peace (from the Catholic Church in England and Wales)

    At this time of heightened international tension, we ask our priests and people to pray daily for peace in the world and for a greater collaboration between all nations. We recommend that, in the coming months, the following Prayer be used at Mass:
    Let us pray, through the intercession of Mary Queen of Peace, for peace on earth and an end to violence and terrorism in our world, for a new spirit of trust and collaboration between nations, for the gift of wisdom for our politicians and leaders, and especially for the resolution of long-standing conflicts in Syria, Gaza and Ukraine, and in other countries around the world.

    Prayers for upcoming events