God of peace,
You forgave us, saved us,
and gifted us with a vision of compassion and unity.
Save us from our desire to hurt as we have been hurt,
To terrorize as we have been terrorized,
To make an enemy of those of different cultures or faiths,
Of those who have what we may want.
Give us everyday the depth of soul
To constrain our might,
To resist temptation to power,
To understand that violence leads to violence.
Grant peace to us and to our sisters and brothers
In Iraq and around the world.
CALL TO PRAYER
As Christians and Marianists, we are called to be part of a wonderful, challenging, humbling vision. As the prophet Habakkuk said, “The vision is for its appointed time. Eager for its own fulfillment it will not disappoint; if it comes slowly, wait, for it will come, without fail.” Mindful of this vision, let us listen to these words from Archbishop Oscar Romero.
It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies
No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about: we plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything and there is as sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
REFLECTION AND SHARING
What line from the reading spoke most to you?
Let us join our prayer with Mary, the woman who so quietly yet forcefully nurtured the life and vision of Jesus:
Leader – We believe that the call to be a sower of the Word is a privilege and blessing…
All – Breath of God, assist us.
Leader – We believe that great things can come forth from even the tiniest seed planted in love and cared for tenderly…
All – Breath of God, nourish the vision within us.
Leader – We believe that usually only God knows what sprouting and greening will come from the Word planted through our efforts…
All – Breath of God, empower us.
Leader – We believe that some dying of the seed has to take place before it can give itself over to life…
All – Breath of God, breathe life into us.
Leader – We believe that it often takes a long time before real fruit appears from our efforts.
All – Breath of God, increase both our patience and perseverance.
Leader – We believe that your kingdom of peace and justice will come…
All – Breath of God, give us hope. Amen.
Today…I will live in peace with God, my neighbor and myself. I will bring peace to my patch of this earth.
Today…I will believe that world peace is possible. I will remember that hope is the most important gift I can give my world.
Today…I will not be a party to pessimism nor join the indifferent.
Today…l will love my enemies. I will pray for them. I will try to see our differences from their point of view.
Today…I will disarm myself of rage by extending my hand in help and forgiveness.
Today…I will know that peace is the child of justice – that peace is more than the absence of war.
Today…l will plant a seed of justice in this global village, in my city, in my neighborhood, in my family and in my heart.
Today…I will pray for peace for all those with whom I come into contact.
Today…I will test my love of peace by doing one act for peace.
God, give me the grace and courage to live a life of nonviolence. Help me to be an instrument of your peace; to respond with love and not retaliate with violence; to resist death and to choose life for all your children. Guide me along the way of nonviolence. Disarm my heart and I shall be your instrument to disarm other hearts. Lead me, God of nonviolence, into your reign of love and peace, where there is no fear and no violence.
A Prayer for Wisdom in Voting
Jesus, we thank you that the “politics” of your kingdom starts with “the least of these.”
Help us to examine every moral, social, and political issue based on how it affects the poor.
The reign of God is one of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Inspire us to be witnesses to and workers for peace with justice and mercy.
The righteous ones know and protect the rights of those in need.
Give us the courage to speak out for justice in our communities.
God, you created all human beings in your image.
Guide us to make choices that honor human dignity in this country and everywhere.
Holy Spirit, you give us the grace and understanding for every good work.
A Prayer for Government
Give the government justice, O God, and give righteousness and mercy to those who represent us.
Help us strive together for a government that makes justice for all.
God, you demand justice for the poor and deliverance from their needs.
Help us work steadfastly for political systems that care for the least among us.
God, you call us to be peacemakers in all things, large and small.
Help us to seek peace and pursue it with all our hearts, minds, and resources.
God of all, give us the courage to speak truth to power.
God of justice, help all those in power to seek truth.
O God, give us the conviction to elect a government that gives priority to the “least of these.”
Thomas Merton’s Prayer for Peace
O loving God, help us to be masters of the weapons that threaten to master us. Help us to use science for peace and plenty, not for war and destruction. Show us how to use atomic power to bless our children’s children, not to blight them. Save us from the compulsion to follow our adversaries in all that we most hate, confirming them in their hatred and suspicion of us. Resolve our inner contradictions, which now grow beyond belief and beyond bearing. They are at once a torment and a blessing; for if you had not left us the light of conscience, we would not have to endure them. Teach us to be long-suffering in anguish and insecurity, teach us to wait and trust. Grant light, grant strength and patience to all who work for peace…grant us prudence in proportion to our power, wisdom in proportion to our science, humaneness in proportion to our wealthy and might. And bless our earnest will to help all races and peoples to travel, in friendship with us, along the road to justice, liberty and lasting peace.
Prayer for Leadership
Give us, O God,
leaders whose hearts are large enough
to match the breadth of our own souls
and give us souls strong enough
to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.
In seeking a leader, let us seek
more than development for ourselves—
though development we hope for—
more than security for our own land—
though security we need—
more than satisfaction for our wants—
though many things we desire.
Give us the hearts to choose the leader
who will work with other leaders
to bring safety
to the whole world.
Give us leaders
who lead this nation to virtue
without seeking to impose our kind of virtue
on the virtue of others.
Give us a government
that provides for the advancement
of this country
without taking resources from others
to achieve it.
Give us insight enough ourselves
to choose as leaders those who can tell
strength from power,
growth from greed,
leadership from dominance,
and real greatness from the trappings
We trust you, Great God,
to open our hearts to learn from those
to whom you speak in different tongues
and to respect the life and words
of those to whom you entrusted
the good of other parts of this globe.
We beg you, Great God,
give us the vision as a people
to know where global leadership truly lies,
to pursue it diligently,
to require it to protect human rights
for everyone everywhere.
We ask these things, Great God,
with minds open to your word
and hearts that trust in your eternal care.
Make yourself known to the people of Sudan.
Shelter the widow and child
Comfort those who are weary and afraid
Bring relief to all who hunger and thirst.
In your saving justice
turn your ear to us, make haste.
Center our thoughts on those who suffer unseen and in silence.
Move all in the Marianist Family to recall our shared humanity.
Unite us in our determination to respond to the crisis in Darfur.
May our prayer be heard, our action swift
Our trust is in you, Yahweh; We say, ‘You are our God’.
God our Mother,
River of mercy,
Source of Life,
In whom we live and move
and have our being,
Who quenches our thirst,
Refreshes our weariness,
Washes and cleanses our wounds,
Be for us always
A fountain of life
And for all the world
A river of hope
Springing up in the midst
Of the deserts of despair
Honor and blessings
Glory and praise
To God forever.
We give thanks for fathers all around the world. We hold up to you the pains and sufferings of fathers who cannot care for their children because of unjust systems, policies and structures.
We pray for fathers in the United States who cannot find jobs to support their families. We pray for fathers who only receive a minimum wage of $5.15 an hour.
We pray for fathers in prisons in the U.S., including a million men of color, who, when released, will neither have the jobs nor the resources to mend their broken families.
We pray for fathers who are anguished because they cannot obtain health insurance and health care for their children.
We pray for immigrant fathers who came to the U.S. seeking work and are separated from their families in other lands. We pray for fathers in the military who are far away from their children and are being wounded in body and soul in the midst of death and destruction.
We give thanks for the fathers who, despite the many barriers they face, continue to reach out with love to their children, to guide and protect them. Help us support policies that will create jobs with decent income and benefits and will allow all men to take on their role of fatherhood with dignity. Bring the Iraq war to an end quickly so that fathers may return to their families and heal the effects of long separation.
We pray for the fathers around the world who struggle to feed their children in countries ravaged by poverty and disease because of debt, unfair trade systems, unequal distribution of resources, conflict and war, and limited access to work and food. We give thanks that in the midst of such hardships and suffering, many fathers remain hopeful for the future of their children.
For all these men, we pray for a transformation of unjust systems, policies and structures. Guide the world’s leaders to discern the way to create just communities in all parts of the world so that all men can live in dignity and peace with their families.
May God bless us with discomfort
at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships,
so that we may live deep within our hearts.
May God bless us with anger
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that we may work for economic justice for all people.
May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer
from pain, hunger, homelessness and rejection,
so that we may reach out our hand to comfort them
and to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless us with enough foolishness
to believe that we can make a difference in the world
so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.
(From Education for Justice – www.educationforjustice.org)
Earth Teach Me
Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.
Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
Chief Seattle, 1854
We return thanks to our mother, the earth,
which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams,
which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs,
which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and stars,
which have given to us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun,
that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit,
in Whom is embodied all goodness,
and Who directs all things for the good of Her children.
Honor the Earth
Honor the sacred.
Honor the Earth, our Mother.
Honor the Elders.
Honor all with whom we share the Earth:-
Four-leggeds, two-leggeds, winged ones,
Swimmers, crawlers, plant and rock people.
Walk in balance and beauty.
Native American Elder
In a time of financial insecurity,
we are grateful because we have the security of our faith.
In a time of world turmoil,
we are grateful that we have chosen the ways of peace.
In a time of grave injustice,
we are grateful that we been called to promote justice.
In a time of despair,
we are grateful that we know the virtue of hope.
In a time of uncertainty when the fire of hate and fear is fueled again, we are grateful to hold on to charity.
May this time become a Kairos moment,
A critical moment when we all turn towards
A deeper understanding of solidarity and security.
May all our sisters and brothers
Receive your gifts
And may we all share
The abundance of your Love.
Jane Deren, 2008
Introduction to Prayer
We gather today with our brothers and sisters in the nations of our world to observe this first World Day of Social Justice unanimously adopted by the 192 member nations of the United Nations General Assembly during their November 2007 general session. This action was a widening of the tent of the United Nations as an international organization and a widening of the tents of the member nations. We are invited to join them by widening our tents.
The members recognized that social development aims at social justice, solidarity, harmony and equality within and among countries; social justice, equality and equity constitute the fundamental values of all societies. Economic growth should promote equity and social justice and that “a society for all” must be based on social justice and respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The members also noted that the observance of this day should contribute to further consolidation of the efforts of the international community in eradication of poverty, promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all.
This prayer uses the principles of Catholic Social Teaching which remind us of the essentials we need to live to make social justice a reality in our world. In a spirit of solidarity and communion with all of creation and all our brothers and sisters, we recall the words of Micah and pray that our observance of this day may lead to a deeper living of and fulfilment of God’s invitation to us
This is what I want from you
To do justice,
To love compassionately and
To walk humbly with your God Micah 6:8
A PSALM TO WIDEN OUR TENTS
Choir 1 Our world is too small.
Our lives are too small. Our vision is too restricted.
Choir 2 May the people of various countries, various cultures,
tribes and families find room in our world and our lives.
All Help us to widen our tents, Shaddai, so that all are welcome among us.
Choir 1 Our attitudes are too parochial, our assumptions too simplistic, our behaviour too predictable.
Choir 2 May special people, may the differently-abled, may minorities of any kind – of race, class, or gender – find room in our world and our hearts,
All Help us to widen our tents, Shaddai, so that all are welcome among us.
Choir 1 Our boundaries are too limited, our preferences too conditioned, our habits too ingrained.
Choir 2 May the aging and the very young, may subcultural groups of every kind, may special interests groups find room in our world and our prayer.
All Help us to widen our tents, Shaddai, so that all are welcome among us.
Choir 1 Our God is too small, Our rites too rigid, Our ways are too exclusive.
Choir 2 May people of various religions and rites, whose name for God and claim to God are different from our own, find room in our world and our love.
All Help us to widen our tents, Shaddai, so that all are welcome among us.
God of all cultures, God of all people,
help us not to label anyone inferior or second-class.
Help us overcome our attitudes of superiority and oppression.
May we broaden our vision and widen our tents
so that plurality and diversity determine who we are:
people called and committed to a world united
injustice and peace, now and forever. Amen.
Life and Dignity of the Human Person
“Every person, created in the image and likeness of God and therefore radically oriented towards the Creator is constantly in relationship with those possessed of the same dignity. To promote the good of the individual is thus to serve the common good, which is that point where rights and duties converge and reinforce one another.” Pope John Paul II, 1999 World Day for Peace Message, no.2
Rights and Responsibilities of the Human Person
“Every fundamental human right draws its indestructible moral force form the natural law, which in granting it imposes a corresponding obligation. Those, therefore, who claim their own rights, yet altogether forget to neglect to carry out their respective duties, are people who build with one hand and destroy with the other.” Pope John XXIII, Peace on Earth (Pacem in Terris, 1963) no. 30
Intercessions expressed freely
I call to You, O Beloved One,
suffuse me with your Love.
Give ear to my prayer when I call to you.
May my supplication be heard as I surrender before You,
as I abandon myself into your heart.
Lead me to words of wisdom and truth,
seeds to be planted in my heart-soil.
Guide me to times of solitude and silence that nurture new growth,
so the Word may ripen into abundant fruit.
Cultivate in me a heart great with compassion and mercy,
that radiates out to all your creation.
May your Light so shine in me
that others are attracted to your peace and harmony.
In the company of your friends,
may I, too, walk the pilgrim road
to wholeness and holiness.
Call to Family, Community and Participation
“The life of the community, both domestically and internationally, clearly demonstrates that respect for rights, and the guarantees that follow from them, are measures of the common good that serve to evaluate the relationship between justice and injustice, development and poverty, security and conflict. The promotion of human rights remains the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups, and for increasing security.”
Pope Benedict XVI address to the United Nations, 18 April 2008
Option for and with the Poor and Vulnerable
“It is the strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental human needs to remain unsatisfied and not to allow those burdened by such needs to perish. It is also necessary to help these needy people to acquire expertise, to enter the circle of exchange, and to develop their skills in order to make the best use of their capacities and resources.” Pope John Paul II, On the Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum (Centesimus Annus 1991) no. 34
Proverbs 21: 10 – 15
Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
“It is clear that recognition of the proper position of labour and the worker in the production process demands various adaptations in the sphere of the right to ownership of the means of production.”
Pope Joan Paul II, On Human Work (Laborem Exercens 1981) no. 14
Care for God’s Creation/Stewardship
“…international action to preserve the environment and to protect various forms of life on earth must not only guarantee a rational use of technology and science, but must also rediscover the authentic image of creation.” Pope Benedict XVI address to the United Nations, 18 April 2008
Intercessions expressed freely
Psalm 85* or a song
Let me hear what you have to say,
for you will speak peace to your people,
to those who are near you and who turn to you in their hearts.
Your salvation is near for those who fear you,
that glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth have embraced;
Justice and peace will kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice will look down from heaven.
You will give what is good, our land will yield its increase.
Justice shall go before you and make a path for your steps.
“Positive signs in the contemporary world are the growing awareness of the solidarity of the poor among themselves, their effort to support one another, and their public demonstrations on the social scene which, without recourse to violence, present their own needs and right in the face of the inefficiency or corruption of the public authorities.” Pope John Paul II, On Social Concern (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis) no. 39
Mt 6:19 – 21
Intercessions expressed freely
Promotion of Peace
“It is too easy to throw back on others responsibility for injustices, if at the same time one does not realize how each one shares in it personally, and how personal conversion is needed first. …For beneath an outward appearance of indifference in the heart of every man (and woman) is a will to live in brotherhood (and sisterhood) and a thirst for justice and peace, which is to be expanded.” Pope Paul VI, On the Occasion of the Eightieth Anniversary of the Encyclical Rerum Novarum (Octogesima Adveniens 1971) no. 48
Isaiah 2:3 – 5
Psalm 122* or a song
Pray for the peace of the world!
May all nations prosper as one.
May peace reign among all peoples,
and integrity dwell within every heart.
Then will friends and neighbours and former enemies as well,
cry out “peace be within you.”
For the good of the universe and in gratitude to the Beloved
let us serve the Holy One of all nations with glad hearts.
* All Psalms in English from Psalms for Praying by Nan C. Merrill. NY: The Continuum Publishing House, 2000.
Closing Prayer – Lord’s Prayer for Justice
Our Father . . .who always stands with the weak, the powerless, the poor, the abandoned, the sick, the aged, the very young, the unborn, and those who, by victim of circumstance, bear the heat of the day.
Who art in heaven . . . where everything will be reversed, where the first will be last and the last will be first, but where all will be well and every manner of being will be well.
Hallowed be thy name . . . may we always acknowledge your holiness, respecting that your ways are not our ways, your standards are not our standards. May the reverence we give your name pull us out of the selfishness that prevents us from seeing the pain of our neighbor.
Your kingdom come . . . help us to create a world where, beyond our own needs and hurts, we will do justice, love tenderly, and walk humbly with you and each other.
Your will be done . . . open our freedom to let you in so that the complete mutuality that characterizes your life might flow through our veins and thus the life that we help generate may radiate your equal love for all and your special love for the poor.
On earth as in heaven . . . may the work of our hands, the temples and structures we build in this world, reflect the temple and the structure of your glory so that the joy, graciousness, tenderness, and justice of heaven will show forth within all of our structures on earth.
Give . . . life and love to us and help us to see always everything as gift. Help us to know that nothing comes to us by right and that we must give because we have been given to. Help us realize that we must give to the poor, not because they need it, but because our own health depends upon our giving to them.
Us . . . the truly plural us. Give not just to our own but to everyone, including those who are very different than the narrow us. Give your gifts to all of us equally.
This day . . . not tomorrow. Do not let us push things ort into some indefinite future so that we can continue to live justified lives in the face of injustice because we can make good excuses for our inactivity.
Our daily bread … so that each person in the world may have enough food, enough clean water, enough clean air, adequate health care, and sufficient access to education so as to have the sustenance for a healthy life. Teach us to give from our sustenance and not just from our surplus.
And forgive us our trespasses . . . forgive us our blindness toward our neighbor, our self-preoccupation, our racism, our sexism, and our incurable propensity to worry only about ourselves and our own. Forgive us our capacity to watch the evening news and do nothing about it.
As we forgive those who trespass against us . . . help us to forgive those who victimize us. Help us to mellow out in spirit, to not grow bitter with age, to forgive the imperfect parents and systems that wounded, cursed, and ignored us.
And do not put us to the test … do not judge us only by whether we have fed the hungry, given clothing to the naked, visited the sick, or tried to mend the systems that victimized the poor. Spare us this test for none of us can stand before your gospel scrutiny. Give us, instead, more days to mend our ways, our selfishness, and our systems.
But deliver us from evil . . . that is, from the blindness that lets us continue to participate in anonymous systems within which we need not see who gets less as we get more. Amen.
The Holy Longing Ronald Rolheiser OMI
From the Commission for Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation
Gearóid Francisco Ó Conaire ofm,
Via Aurelia 476, CP 9099 Aurelio,
00165 Roma, Italy
We have ignored our Christian values, O Lord,
And have not only given in to greed, the lure of money,
and the relentless pursuit of self interest,
But we have praised and worshipped these vices as false idols
And admired those who were “successful” though void of virtue
And promoted lives of excess and self-indulgence at the peril of all.
Call us back to humility, to dependence on Your truth and mercy.
Help us practice prudence to make financial decisions not only wisely
But selflessly with the common good in mind.
Help us practice generosity
Even when we are afraid we might not have “enough.”
Help us remember that we must all take part
In reshaping our society
And bearing the responsibility that is ours
to create a national and global community
Where the rights of all
And the responsibilities of all are of equal concern.
Guide us through this distressing time.
Give us the strength to turn again
And realize in You and in human community
We will find our true security. Amen.
-by Jane Deren
(From Education for Justice – www.educationforjustice.org.)
ear Lord, You are wonderful in everything you do. In marvelous ways You take the full, rich life of the plant and carefully fold it into tiny seeds. You form the seeds according to many different shapes and sizes and colors, so that we can know what kind of growth will come of them.
When they are placed the earth they may look dry and dead, but when they are watered by the life-giving rain and nourished by the warm sun, they lose all their lifeless look and grow in an almost miraculous manner. By the power You gave them, they take the dead minerals of the earth and build up the nourishing, tasty foods that all of us need to sustain life.
Dear Lord, bless these seeds, watch over them, and bring them to the full growth and rich harvest that You wish to bless us with. Watch over us, too, and make the seeds of grace that You have given us grow to flower and fruit in the full Christian life that You intend for us here and hereafter. (From the National Catholic Rural Life Conference – www.ncrlc.com)
Opening Song: Select a song, such as God Whose Purpose is to Kindle or We are Called
Leader: Let us begin by observing a moment of silence in solidarity with the more than 27 million women, men and children who suffer each day from modern day slavery.
[Moment of Silence]
Leader: We hold all those impacted by human trafficking in our hearts as we pray Psalm 126 together.
Psalm Prayer (Read Antiphonally)
When God brought the exiles back to Zion
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouths were filled with laughter,
and our tongues with shouts of joy.
Among the nations it was said,
“God has done great things for them.”
God has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
Bring back our exiles, O God,
like fresh streams in the desert.
May those who sow in tears
reap with songs and shouts of joy.
Those that go forth weeping,
bearing the seeds for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.
All: Glory to you, God of life and freedom, praise and thanksgiving now and forever. Amen
Leader: Each person forced into slavery has a unique story—a story of struggles, hopes and dreams. Let us listen now to the story of one survivor of human trafficking.
Reader 1: St. Josephine Bakhita was born in southern Sudan in 1869. As a young girl, she was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Sold and resold in the markets of El Obeid and Karthoum, she was treated brutally by her captors. She did not remember the name she was given by her parents. Bakhita, which means “fortunate one,” was the name given to her by her kidnappers.
Reader 2: In 1883, she was bought by an Italian diplomat who sent her to Italy to work as a maid for the daughter of a family friend studying with the Canossian Daughters of Charity. It
was there that Bakhita came to know about God whom “she had experienced in her heart without knowing” who God was. In 1890, she was baptized and received the name Josephine.
Reader 1: Later, the Italian family came to take their “property” back to Africa. Josephine expressed her desire to stay. When the family insisted she go, she remained firm, later writing: “I am sure the Lord gave me strength at that moment.” With the support of the superior of the Canossian Sisters and the Cardinal of Venice, she won her freedom and later entered thenovitiate. For the next 50 years she lived a life of prayer and service as a Canossian Sister beforeher death in 1947.
Reader 2: St. Josephine was canonized in 2000, and there is currently a grassroots movement to designate her as the patron saint for human trafficking victims. “In St. Josephine Bakhita we find a shining advocate of genuine emancipation. The history of her life inspires not passive acceptance but the firm resolve to work effectively to free girls and women from oppression and violence, and to return them to their dignity in the full exercise of their rights.”
~Pope John Paul II, homily at her canonization
Response Prayer: In the weeks before her death, St. Josephine Bakhita re‐lived the terrible days of her captivity. More than once, she cried out: “Please, loosen the chains … they are heavy!” We ask for the intercession of St. Josephine as we pray …
For the estimated 27 million women, men and children currently held in slavery‐like conditions.
R. Loosen the chains … they are heavy!
For young girls and women exploited and objectified in the commercial sex industry. R.
For those forced to become soldiers, especially children who are made into tools for violence. R.
For those in bonded labor in agricultural fields, mines and factories. R.
For conversion of heart for the perpetrators and organizers of human trafficking. R.
For governments, corporations, and consumers, that we will address the systems that make human trafficking possible. R.
For the success of efforts to stop the demand for human trafficking. R.
Closing Prayer: God of hope and freedom, inspire us in our work to loosen the chains of human trafficking in our world. Strengthen us so that like St. Josephine Bakhita, we may stand firm in our resolve to create a slave‐free world. Amen
“Do not mistreat the foreigners who reside in your land. The foreigner who lives among you must be treated like one of your own. Love them as you love yourself, for you too were a stranger in the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19: 33-34)
Blessed are You, Lord Jesus Christ. You crossed every border between divinity and humanity to make your home with us. Help us to welcome you in newcomers, migrants and refugees.
Blessed are You, God of all nations. You bless our land richly with goods of creation and people made in your image. Grant that we will be stewards and peacemakers, who live as your children.
Blessed are You, Holy Spirit. You work in the hearts of all to bring about harmony and goodwill. Strengthen us in human solidarity and in hope.
God of all people, grant us vision to see your presence in our midst, especially in immigrants. Give us courage to open the door to our neighbors and grace to build a society of justice.
(From Pax Christi – www.paxchristiusa.org)
God of Compassion
Today we pray for all the people of the world who live hiding and in fear from persecution.
We pray that you may give compassion to the politicians who are making laws. Compassion for all the people who will be affected by their decisions and live in fear every day that their lives may be in turmoil or that they may become separated from their families and loved ones.
We pray for all the children and their parents. Protect them from any harm that they may grow freely in your name. Help those who are struggling to find work to find a job today so they can shelter and feed their families.
We pray that deportations stop until we have comprehensive immigration reform and that Immigration and Customs Enforcement stop separating families.
God of Hospitality, we ask that you grace the people of the United States with your Spirit of Hospitality, so that all may be welcome here and treated with your Spirit of compassion and dignity.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Sharing the loaves and ﬁshes,
You gave us an image of solidarity with the hungry, O Lord.
Sharing yourself in the Bread and Wine,
You called all to the table, O Lord.
Give me the hunger to be a part
Of the feeding and the healing of this world.
Nourish me with your Grace,
So I may work with joy to serve your children.
Open my eyes and my heart
To recognize those in poverty
And especially those in Africa who are starving.
Help me to help those who are struggling
To feed your children in need.
Increase my awareness of the structures and systems
That need to be changed
So that hunger everywhere can end and
So we may all break bread together.
In your name we pray for the end of hunger
In Africa and all parts of the global community.
Jane Deren – Education for Justice (www.educationforjustice.org)
We ask for blessings on all those who have served their country in the armed forces.
We ask for healing for the veterans who have been wounded, in body and soul, in conflicts around the globe.
We pray especially for the young men and women, in the thousands,
Who are coming home from Iraq with injured bodies and traumatized spirits.
Bring solace to them, O Lord; may we pray for them when they cannot pray.
We ask for, echoing John Paul II, an end to wars and the dawning of a new era of peace,
As a way to honor all the veterans of past wars.
Have mercy on all our veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq,
Bring peace to their hearts and peace to the regions they fought in.
Bless all the soldiers who served in non-combative posts;
May their calling to service continue in their lives in many positive ways.
Give us all the creative vision to see a world which, grown weary with fighting,
Moves to affirming the life of every human being and so moves beyond war.
Hear our prayer, O Prince of Peace, hear our prayer.
(From Education for Justice – www.educationforjustice.org)
May this holy season be for each of us
A time of moving beyond what is “reasonable”
And toward the star of wonder;
Moving beyond grasping tight to what we have
To unclenching our hands and letting go,
Following the Light where it leads;
Moving beyond competition toward cooperation,
Seeing that all humans are sisters and brothers.
Moving beyond the anxiety of small concerns
Towards the joys of justice and peace.
May the transforming acceptance of Mary and Joseph,
The imagination of the shepherds,
And the persistence of the wise men
Guide us as we seek the Truth,
Always moving toward the Divine promise.
Always aware God can be hidden in the frailest among us,
Always open to the unexpected flash of Grace,
To the showing forth of that Love that embraces us all.
From Education for Justice – www.educationforjustice.org. Adapted by J.M. Deren from “Blessings and Benedictions,” by W.L. Wallace in Shine On, Star of Bethlehem, CAFOD, 2004.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
you have given the world its true light,
Jesus, your son – the Son of God.
You abandoned yourself completely
to God’s call and thus became a wellspring
of the goodness which flows forth from him.
Show us Jesus. Lead us to him.
Teach us to know and love him,
so that we too can become capable of true love and be fountains ofliving water
in the midst of a thirsting world.
You who welcome all your children,
And embrace even the prodigal ones,
Help us open our hearts
And welcome all who come, searching
As our ancestors did,
For the promise of a new land, a new life.
Root out fear from our souls;
Help us form the words
“Sister” and “Brother”
As we greet the newcomers.
Let us remember that,
With your grace,
There are enough loaves and fishes
To go around
If we come together
As your family.
Give us the courage
And the compassion
To respect the rights of all
In this country of abundance
To embrace all in
The name of your love.
(From Education for Justice – www.educationforjustice.org.
Dear God, creator of women in your own image, carried by women to mission fields around the globe, give to the women of our time
The strength to persevere,
The courage to speak out,
The faith to believe in you beyond
All systems and institutions
so that your face on earth may be seen in all its beauty.
We call on the holy women who went before us, to intercede for us so that we might be given the grace to follow in their footsteps.
Saint Esther, who pleaded against power for the liberation of the people, Pray for us.
Saint Deborah, lawwoman and judge, who led the people of God, Pray for us.
Saint Mary Magdalene, minister of Jesus, first evangelist of the Christ, Pray for us.
Saint Clara of Assisi, who confronted the pope with the image of woman as equal, Pray for us.
Saint Julian of Norwich, who proclaimed for all of us, the motherhood of God, Pray for us.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, who felt God’s call to become priest, prophet, and king, Pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Siena, to whom the pope listened, Pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, who brought women’s gifts to the reform of the church, Pray for us.
Saint Edith Stein, who brought fearlessness to faith, Pray for us.
Saint Dorothy Day, who led the church to a new sense of justice, Pray for us.
Saint Rosa Venerini, whose entire educational mission was to announce the love of God, Pray for us.
Saint Theodore Guérin, who abandoned herself to the will of God in generous service to others, Pray for us.
Mary, mother of Jesus, who heard the call of God and answered, Mary, mother of Jesus, who drew strength from the woman Elizabeth, Mary, mother of Jesus, filled with God’s Spirit, Pray for us.
Source: Excerpted from: “A Litany of Women for the Church,” by Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, Benetvision; Used with permission. The original full version of the prayer, printed on prayer cards, can be found at: http://www.benetvision.org/src/sitetext.php in the Catalog section.
Today, we are sorrowful before you. The tally of U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq is approaching 2,800 young men
and women. Our hearts weep for the horror and destruction of war and the loss of life caused by it. We ask your
forgiveness for not maintaining the peaceful world you desire, and we pray for all the victims of war:
We pray for mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, daughters, and sons who mourn the death of a U.S. soldier they love.
Be with them, Lord.
We pray for parents, childrens, brothers, and sisters in Iraq who mourn the deaths of loved ones. Be with them, Lord.
We pray for U.S. soldiers who are returning home and who are mentally traumatized by memories, dreams and anguish,
and physically traumatized by often-permanent injuries and wounds. Be with them, Lord.
We pray for the soldiers who are still in Iraq and Afghanistan, often on second or third tours of duty. Protect them, keep them safe, and bring them home soon. Be with them, Lord.
We pray for Iraqi civilians who deal with the daily terror of living amidst flying bullets, suicide bombings, and destruction.
Be with them, Lord.
We pray for our policymakers and leaders who hold the futures of hundreds of thousands of American and Iraqi lives in their hands. Give them wisdom in devising a plan to bring this war quickly to an end. Be with them, Lord.
Lord God, keep in our minds our sisters and brothers across the world, both soldiers and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan,
and those who are returning to the U.S. Help us to be committed to prayer, solidarity, and action to ensure that
returning soldiers are well-cared for and to seek an effective end to the war that has brought destruction to so many
Pray for Peace by focusing on places that have suffered from war and military violence over the last sixty years
Spain (Basque region)
United States (September 11, 2001)
Join Marianists worldwide! Pray the Magnificat every Friday for exploited children. Email Dan Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org for a weekely reminder.
We give you thanks and praise for your gift to us of your only Son, Jesus, His birth in Bethlehem, His ministry throughout the Holy Land, His death on the Cross and His Resurrection and Ascension. He came to redeem this land and the world. He came as the Prince of Peace.
We give thanks to you for every church and parish around the world that is praying with us this day for peace. Our Holy City and our land are much in need of peace.
In your unfathomable mystery and love for all, let the power of your Redemption and your Peace transcend all barriers of cultures and religions and fill the hearts of all who serve you here, of both peoples – Israeli and Palestinian – and of all religions.
Send us political leaders ready to dedicate their lives to a just peace for their peoples. Make them courageous enough to sign a treaty of peace that puts an end to the occupation imposed by one people on another, granting freedom to the Palestinians, giving security to the Israelis and freeing us all from fear. Give us leaders who understand the holiness of your city and will open it to all inhabitants — Palestinian and Israeli – and to the world.
In the land you made holy, free all of us from the sin of hatred and killing. Free the souls and hearts of Israelis and Palestinians from this sin. Give liberation to the people of Gaza who live under unending trials and threats.
We trust in you, Heavenly Father. We believe you are good and we believe that your goodness will prevail over the evils of war and hatred in our land.
We seek your blessing especially on the children and young people, that their fear and the anxiety of conflict may be replaced with the joy and happiness of peace. We pray too for the elderly and the handicapped, for their well-being and for the contributions they can make to the future of this land.
We pray, finally, for the refugees scattered across the world because of this conflict. God give the politicians and governments responsible for them the wisdom and courage to find suitable and just solutions.
All this we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen
Provident God, aware of my own brokenness, I ask the gift of courage to identify how and where I am in need of conversion in order to live in solidarity with Earth and all creation.
Deliver me from the violence of superiority and disdain.
Grant me the desire, and the humility, to listen with special care to those whose experiences and attitudes are different from my own.
Deliver me from the violence of greed and privilege.
Grant me the desire, and the courage, to risk speaking and acting for the common good.
Deliver me from the violence of irreverence, exploitation and control.
Grant me the desire, and the strength, to act responsibly within the cycle of creation.
God of love, mercy and justice, acknowledging my complicity in those attitudes, actions and words which perpetuate violence, I beg the grace of a non-violent heart.
From the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary of the Woods.
Through the summer season, You have replenished our spirits
in the playfulness of gentle breezes and refreshing rain
the laughter of children romping outdoors
lush colors of flowers and butterflies
the merriment of songbirds and tenacity of mother ducks and young
times of retreat, celebration, professional development, reading and insight.
Soak our wicks deep in this memory oil
and enlighten us with Your flame of Wisdom for the new year,
that we may become gentle smiles and thoughtful words of encouragement
and compassion that nurture all life entrusted to our care.
We ask for the gift of wholeness
and for the grace to accept of all parts of ourselves still in need of growth.
Teach us patience with ourselves, our families and communities and partners in ministry
and openness to the letting-go’s of the upcoming autumn season
that we may surrender to Your transforming Grace.
Instill in us a spirit of gratitude
that ever delights in the wonders of Your creative love
brought anew in the freshness of each day.
As we faithfully work with You our Great Teacher and Community Builder to educate and re-create our world in justice and peace.
Leanne M. Jablonski, FMI
Marianist Environmental Education Center
4435 East Patterson road
Dayton, OH 45430-1095 937.429.3582
MEEC: Restoring Communities of Land & People
God of Creation, help us celebrate Labor Day by recalling the Church’s teaching
on work and workers’ rights as well as by praying for all workers and those seeking
We celebrate the Church’s long history defending workers’ rights and the right to
We acknowledge that we are all called to work as co-creators of the Kingdom of
God, as Blessed John Paul II has instructed us, and as builders of the common
We affi rm that work is central to the development of the human person and to enable
them to contribute to the common good.
We know that work is fi rst for the good of workers for their own human fl ourishing
and not primarily for profi ts;
We recognize that all workers have dignity and that all workers must be treated with
We call for a just minimum wage so all families can have decent living conditions.
We support the calls for workers’ health and safety in all working environments.
As we refl ect on our Church’s teachings, we pray for all those currently employed
and ask that they enjoy the dignity of work and all the rights workers are entitled
to. We especially pray for those who are unemployed and seeking work; may they
know the support of our communities and may they be graced by solace and hope
so they do not despair.
We pray that our local, state, and Federal government leadership work together to
fi nd solutions so that all who seek work may fi nd a decent position in workplaces
that uphold the dignity of the worker.
Give us all the gift of good work and the satisfaction of jobs well done.
God of creation, hear our prayer. Amen
Jane Deren, Education for Justice (www.educationforjustice.org)
Remembering our Grief
Leader: At this time of remembering September 11, 2001, let us pray.
Leader: We remember the shock, horror and fear of that day.
All: We turn to you, O God, for security and strength.
Leader: We remember the anxiety over the loss of our sense of safety.
All: We seek your comfort and peace, O God.
Leader: We grieve for the victims of all of the tragedies of that day: those killed, injured, and lost.
We entrust them to your presence, O God, for all eternity. We remember all of those whose hearts are heavy with the loss of family, loved ones and friends at this anniversary.
All: We ask you to surround them, comfort and sustain them.
Leader: We remember the spirit of unity, in our own nation, and the outpouring of support and compassion from around the world following the 9-11 attacks.
All: We ask for your guidance in helping us to rekindle that spirit.
Leader: We grieve the violence that followed from that violence of September 11th and pray for the victims:
All of those killed, injured, damaged, and displaced by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (silence)
All of those who have been tortured in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and secret prisons around the world. (silence)
All of those who have been denied justice. (silence)
All: We turn to you, God of justice and peace, for guidance and strength to choose the path of life that you have set before us and to follow in the ways of compassion and love.
Prayer of Repentance
Leader: God, over and over you call your sons and daughters, and whole nations, to acknowledge wrongs.
For acts of revenge instead of reconciliation. (silence)
For engaging in torture. (silence)
For denying justice to members of the human family. (silence)
We have failed to see the sacred in every human being, those from every country and every religion.
We have failed to seek and pursue peace.
We have lacked courage and failed to speak against the demonizing of people of other religions.
We have not been persistent enough in our efforts to end U.S.-sponsored torture.
All: Trusting in your mercy and compassion, we repent of these wrongs, and pray for your forgiveness.
Vision for the Future
Leader: Lift up before us, O God, your vision of how we can move from this day into lives more consistent with your will.
All: Help us to seek your will.
Leader: Let us see every child, every person everywhere, as equally precious in your sight.
All: Help us to seek your will.
Leader: Let us actively engage in peacemaking.
All: Help us to seek your will.
Leader: Let us see your image in every person, and denounce all forms of torture, cruelty, inhumanity.
All: Help us to seek your will.
Leader: Let us find ways to live together as one human family, caring for one another as you care for each of us.
All: Help us to seek your will.
(Those present can be invited to lift up their own statements of vision for the future.)
God of compassion and hope, guide us as we seek to live in harmony and to provide a peaceful tomorrow for our children and our children’s children.
You who are with us,
ours because you are all of us.
You are not sanctified, but sacred yes,
like the mountains, the ocean,
the moon, the rainbow, the butterflies,
laughter and human bodies.
Woman is your name,
a simple and beautiful name!
Come with us to the reign of life,
and together let us do our will
Here, on earth, today!
Let us attain and share today and always
our spiritual bread
And forgive ourselves
for all things
except our responsibility.
And lead us
into all temptations
that will build our dreams and hopes
And in this way
together, strong and free,
let us move away from all evil.
In a time of violence,
We turn to you.
Lord of Sorrows,
Who is burdened
With the cries still echoing in Hiroshima,
With the broken bodies of women and girls in the Congo,
With the blood flowing in Syria.
In a time of violence
We gather to mourn and pray
For our communities,
Past and present,
Local and global.
In a time of violence
We commit ourselves
To the difficult work
So we may honor
The suffering and pain
Of our sisters and brothers.
O Lord of Sorrows,
Give us the courage
To speak the words
Of peace again and again
So they might flourish
In an arid land.
We pray for our nation in the coming weeks,
That we move beyond our fears and concerns
To discern what will serve the common good
for all members of our society.
We pray that we may respond to the call of solidarity
Rather than the call to separate interests.
May we be more concerned with successful community
Than with individual success.
We pray that we consider ways
Through difficult economic problems
That are compassionate and just
For all who struggle for their daily bread.
We pray that we dwell deeply on the call
To serve those in poverty
And recognize that all humans
Have the right to a life with dignity
And with the basic services to promote human flourishing.
We pray that we take seriously
The call to be peacemakers,
Despite the complexities
In our local, national, and global conflicts.
We pray that we honor
Our responsibilities as citizens
Without resorting to the polarization
That limits our listening.
Guide us in the coming weeks
in our process of discernment
So we serve you
Through our choices and
Our concern for the common good.
Mary, bright dawn of the new world, Mother of the living, to you do we entrust the cause of life. Look down, O Mother, upon the vast numbers of babies to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy. Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time. Obtain for them the grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together with all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and Lover of life. Amen.
Heart of God, full of mercy, watch over our sister and brother immigrants.
Protect them from harm even as they suffer mistreatment and humiliations on their way.
Touch with your goodness the hearts of we who see them pass by.
Break open our hearts to embrace them and the gift that they are to our communities.
Heart of God, full of compassion, give our brothers and sisters in Congress the gift of compassion.
Open their eyes to the pain and longing of those affected by their decisions.
Give them wisdom as they struggle to repair our unjust immigration system.
Break open their hearts to embrace the dreams of our immigrant parents, siblings, and friends.
Heart of God, full of love, we give you glory for all the blessings you have given us.
Help us to share those blessings with others that we may all know that you are a God of mercy, a God of compassion, a God of love.
Break open our hearts that we might embrace the challenge to build a land, a nation, a community where all are welcome.
Mary, Virgin and Mother,
you who, moved by the Holy Spirit,
welcomed the word of life
in the depths of your humble faith:
as you gave yourself completely to the Eternal One,
help us to say our own “yes”
to the urgent call, as pressing as ever,
to proclaim the good news of Jesus.
Filled with Christ’s presence,
you brought joy to John the Baptist,
making him exult in the womb of his mother.
Brimming over with joy,
you sang of the great things done by God.
Standing at the foot of the cross
with unyielding faith,
you received the joyful comfort of the resurrection,
and joined the disciples in awaiting the Spirit
so that the evangelizing Church might be born.
Obtain for us now a new ardour born of the resurrection,
that we may bring to all the Gospel of life
which triumphs over death.
Give us a holy courage to seek new paths,
that the gift of unfading beauty
may reach every man and woman.
Virgin of listening and contemplation,
Mother of love, Bride of the eternal wedding feast,
pray for the Church, whose pure icon you are,
that she may never be closed in on herself
or lose her passion for establishing God’s kingdom.
Star of the new evangelization,
help us to bear radiant witness to communion,
service, ardent and generous faith,
justice and love of the poor,
that the joy of the Gospel
may reach to the ends of the earth,
illuminating even the fringes of our world.
Mother of the living Gospel,
wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones,
pray for us.
Guide us to use the talents and skills
You have so generously given us
To work in collaboration with others
To bring change to those
Who suffer and are oppressed in this world.
Guide us to creatively educate and advocate
For others who are denied a voice.
Help us to be present
To members of the global human family
In many ways.
Help us to recognize the systems and structures
That deny the dignity of the human person.
Help us to be engaged and fully focused
So we may envision and develop effective strategies
To further justice and to be your agents in this world.
Keep us aware of the bigger picture
And move us beyond our own self-interest
So we may participate in solidarity with those who need our support.
Help us to persist in the face of challenges.
Renew our hearts and remind us
That your grace is working in us and through us
So we may play a small part
In the building of your kingdom.
(Center of Concern (www.coc.org) – Jane Deren)
Jesus, Our Christ, during this season of Lent, you call us Marianists to experience the transfigured explosion of God’s goodness through our prayer, almsgiving and fasting. Out of our depths we pray for a just resolution to the immigration conflict in our country.
Help our government leaders hear the voice of the Holy Spirit to discern and act with
wisdom and courage in following their own consciences.
Help them to put aside pressures that prevent prudent judgment and action for immigration justice.
Help us Marianists in the spirit of our charism of being the sons and daughters of Mary to support care for immigrants so that they may be welcomed and treated with kindness and justice as Mary, a mother, would.
Help our citizens to search their hearts and act toward immigrants in a loving way.
Help our communities promote an attitude of dialogue and kindness so that immigrants in our areas are treated with respect and dignity.
Help us to experience the goodness operating in all of us to create communities with a unified heart.
O Lord Jesus, from the depths of our hearts we pray.