Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Here's Something Important: Prayer!

Tonight is the first night of my parish's (St. Joseph in St. Joseph, MI) Prayer Vigil for Holiness. Some of you may remember that I first began trying to spread the idea for this about a month ago. Since we've all been urged to pray for the bishops and the whole Church during this time of purification, we're having two evenings of prayer in conjunction with the Bishops' meeting. The vigil will open tonight with Mass and continue with Eucharistic exposition, prayer, and adoration, and close with Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The vigil will open on Thursday evening with Solemn Vespers, and continue with Eucharistic exposition, prayer, and adoration, and close with Benediction. The purpose of the Vigil is to pray for our Church and our Bishops, to make reparation for sins, and to rededicate ourselves to strive for personal holiness.

I've been gratified that a number of other priests and parishes throughout the country have picked up on the idea and are doing something similar. All of the proposals and guidelines and strategies in the world will avail nothing if we don't get on our knees.

If your parish isn't having a special time of prayer set aside during these next few days, you can nonetheless join us by offering prayer for the following intentions:

1. For the bishops themselves, that in their meeting they will be open to the Holy Spirit’s call to zeal and holiness, and that they will address the scandal and issues it has raised with courage, prudence, and fidelity to Catholic teaching.

2. That our bishops would be emboldened to act courageously as shepherds and speak out prophetically in defense of chastity and purity, in the face of a culture that belittles them.

3. For the victims of abuse, that they know that Christ suffers with them, and that the Church reaches out to them with compassion and love, and that they might be healed of the injury and pain that they have experienced.

4. For those who have committed acts of abuse, and for those who have enabled or tacitly condoned abuse through neglect, inattention, or complicity: that they might be moved to true contrition and repentance, and offer acts of penance and reparation for those they have injured.

5. For priests, for their encouragement in this time of difficulty, that they live as counter-cultural signs of God’s salvation given to us in Christ. That they might live in ever greater fidelity to the teaching of the Church and their own vows.

6. That God would inspire young men of zeal and holiness to follow Christ in the priesthood, and that those men will be open to hearing the call and respond generously.

7. For Catholics everywhere, that they will support their priests and bishops when they speak in defense of Catholic teaching, and boldly live out that teaching themselves. That all Catholics would rededicate themselves to strive for the virtues of purity and chastity.

Please make the time for prayer in the next few days. If you can, it would be even more effective to offer some sort of sacrifice in reparation for the sins that have brought our Church to this low point.