Tag Archives: prayers

Prayers of the People

I try to keep a positive attitude at mass, and I’m pretty much able to do that.  The only exception, at least in my current parish, is the petitions or “prayers of the people”.

Too often they turn into either little exhortations on the issue of the day, or a kind of substitute announcement.  An example of both of these rolled into one petition(!) would be:  “For all those suffering due to abusive practices of mining companies, who pollute the ground waters in [country x] with illegal dumping of [chemical y], for which there will be a meeting of the parish’s development and peace group on Monday at 7 pm, we pray to the Lord.”


First of all, the Lord knows when the meeting is.  We don’t need to include it in the prayer.  And the Lord knows about company x and chemical y.  Can we not just pray for the suffering of the world?

George Weigel has an excellent column in the Denver Catholic Register, suggesting that at least at some masses, the petitions be routinized.  His formula goes like this:

For the holy Church of God throughout the world, let us pray to the Lord.

For Benedict, Bishop of Rome, and the bishops in communion with him, let us pray to the Lord.

For this local Church of [name of diocese], for [name of bishop], its chief shepherd, and for the priests and deacons of [name of diocese], let us pray to the Lord.

For this parish of [patron of other name], its pastors and its people, let us pray to the Lord.

For an abundance of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life, let us pray to the Lord.

For the unity of all Christians, for the relief of those suffering persecution for their Christian faith, and for the conversion of their persecutors, let us pray to the Lord.

For the civil authorities, that we may be governed in justice and truth, let us pray to the Lord.

For those who are sick, and for all those with special needs, let us pray to the Lord.

For our beloved dead, let us pray to the Lord.

That, I suggest, covers the most important bases. Such a scheme also locates the local parish within the broader Christian community of the diocese, and locates the diocese within the ambit of the universal Church: facts about which Catholics in America often need reminding. And such a formulaic schema avoids politics while making clear that we should pray regularly that the politicos recognize both the responsibilities and limits of their power.

We pray to the Lord.

Mass Report

Our regular choir director/organ virtuoso was out of town this weekend on musical business, so one of our tenors subbed at the organ. Who knew? This twenty-something, quiet lad with a wonderful voice is a harpsichord student at the local U (but a wannabee organ student, apparently). The mass parts were “peppy”, I believe due to some nerves, but he performed admirably, with prelude, communion, and postlude solos that were just fab. One of the other tenors was cantor, and the organist let the cantor sing the Gospel Response and the Alleluia unsupported, which was beautiful. His big voice filled the church and made these moments very memorable.

As for the choir, we did two unaccompanied pieces. During the offering we sang Remember Your Servants from the Russian Orthodox Liturgy and arranged by Richard Proulx. The text is the Beatitudes which made up the gospel reading this Sunday.

During Communion, we sang Oculi Omnium (pdf) by Charles Wood (1866-1926). In English, the text reads:

The eyes of all wait upon Thee, O Lord:
and Thou givest them their meat in due season.
Glory to Thee, O Lord. Amen.

Very apt as we move into Lent this week.

Sadly, the homilist was a visiting seminarian (I believe) and due to some combination of his voice and the appalling acoustics back in the choir loft, I couldn’t understand a word he said. Other voices were fine (the lector, Father Larry, the Loreto sister who also spoke), and it wasn’t a volume issue. Some combination of (maybe) his accent, the pitch of his voice, and who knows…the carpets on the floor of the church… just deadened his speech.

After mass, there was a blessing of throats, Feb 3 being the Memorial of St. Blaise. There were long lineups after mass to be blessed by one of the priests or deacons with these words:

Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It was amazing to see probably three-quarters of the church join in the lines for the blessing.

Prayers for Archbishop Gregory of Atlanta

Archbishop Gregory was installed in the archdiocese half-way through our 5 year stay in Atlanta and I came to love and appreciate his manner in shepherding our Southern flock.

He disclosed in his recent weekly column in the archdiocesan paper that he has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer and will undergo surgery on November 5th at Emory.

Keep this good man in your prayers.