Prayers

International day of remembrance of the victims of slavery and of the transatlantic slave trade - March 25, 2020

PRAYER

Suggested by CATHII

(Action Committee against Internal and International Human Trafficking)

March 25, 2020 – Feast of the Annunciation

At this time of border closings due to the corona virus, we carry in prayer those at risk of being trafficked, the vulnerable, families and individuals in migration, who might be rejected at border crossings or who have no access to protection or medical care. Let us pray also for the women who are in very vulnerable situations in their own homes or who are homeless on streets and roads throughout the world.

INTERCESSIONS:

Lord, we pray for all people who are met with injustice, inequality and sexual slavery.

Help us to recognize and confront rampant discrimination

against those who are rejected in any way.

  1. Where there is hatred, let me bring love.

Lord, console all people who are struggling amidst the darkness of slavery

or of rejection because of racism or their status as immigrants.

May we stand with them in the light, recognizing their pain

and taking action to eliminate the causes of their suffering.

  1. Where there is despair, let me bring hope.

Spontaneous intentions…

Let us pray:

God so Totally Other, so different from any other, we ask your forgiveness for any intolerant, exclusive and hurtful attitudes and actions on our part. Strengthen us in creating networks of solidarity with individuals and organizations so that we may guide those who risk becoming victims of exploitation, racism or exclusion, towards a better life where they will be welcomed, respected, recognized and appreciated for who they are.  Amen.

Prayer inspired by Prière pour nos différences (Prayer for our Differences)  www.portstnicolas.org

The International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking - February 8, 2020

Visual: a globe, a painting of St. Josephine Bakhita, large iron chains and an unlit candle

Leader:

Today, we celebrate together the sixth World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking. In many parts of the world, trafficking is a scourge that strikes everyone without distinction, but above all the poorest and those who in various ways can be defined as “the least”, those “discarded” by our society. Those who live on the margins and the weakest, such as women and children, are the first victims of injustice and abuse. May Saint Bakhita intercede for us and for the many “Josephine Bakhitas” of our time.

Entrance hymn of your choice

Leader:

We present some stories of commitment against trafficking – stories of desperation, poverty, courage.

Reader 1: (A Story from Uganda)

“I worked in a chemical factory in Uganda. After I got sick because of an allergy to the materials we used, I had to quit my job. I bought a small kiosk to sell food to passers-by. Everything was fine, until I was tricked by an agency that offered me work in the Middle East. I thought I was being offered a great opportunity but found myself in a situation of domestic slavery. I worked endlessly and received no food or compensation.”
                            [One minute’s silence with only the sound of the chains]

Reader 2: (A story from Italy)

“I had decided to leave my country, Nigeria, after the death of my father. I wanted to help my mother and my brothers. When I arrived in Italy with the promise of a job, I found myself on the street, under the control of a Madame who subjected me to physical and psychological violence. I thought that once I had paid my debt I would be free from this nightmare. But they kept demanding more and more money. Alone and without documentation, I ended up in prison, even though I was the victim…”

                            [One minute’s silence with only the sound of the chains]

Leader:

“If there are so many young women victims of trafficking who end up on the streets of our cities, it is because many men here — young, middle-aged, elderly — demand these services and are willing to pay for their pleasure. I wonder then, are traffickers really the principal cause of trafficking? I believe the principal cause is the unscrupulous selfishness of the many hypocrites in our world. Of course, justice demands the arrest of traffickers. However, the real solution lies in the conversion of hearts, in eliminating the demand in order to dry up the market.” (Pope Francis, Address to the participants in the World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking, February 12, 2018)

Reader 3: A reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove the heart of stone from your body, and I will give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and make you keep my laws, and respect and practice my judgments.” (Ezekiel 36: 26-27)

Reader 4:

When our hearts are indifferent to the pain of our sisters and brothers,

                             All: Loving God, free our hearts.

When our minds refuse to find out whether what we use and consume has been produced by slave workers,

                             All: Loving God, free our minds.

When our eyes can’t recognize others as our sisters and brothers,

                             All: Loving God, free our eyes.

When our ears block out the cry for freedom,

                             All: Loving God, free our ears.

When our hands and feet become instruments of violence against others,

                             All: Loving God, free our hands and feet.

The candle is lit as the leader says:

Each person can be met, consoled, listened to. Together it is possible to break the chains of slavery. In this way, life stories can become stories of rebirth, hope, dignity.

Reader 1: (Conclusion to the Story from Uganda):

“Desperation led Jessie to flee and thankfully she managed to get to the embassy. For her, it was the beginning of a new life: they brought her to our community, which took care of her, giving her food and clothes and giving her back her dignity. One day she asked us if she could return home: she often thought of the happiness that that small kiosk she owned only a few years earlier had given her. So we helped Jessie to obtain the documents and make contact with her country of origin. Today she lives in Uganda and we are continuing to support her on her journey of reintegration into work and society.”

Refrain of a song

Reader 2: (Conclusion to the Story from Italy):

“When I met Maryam in prison she told me her story and I decided to help her. So I convinced my community in Sicily to welcome her into our home so that she could live out her prison term under house arrest. During the subsequent years Maryam has managed to transform her life and to help many young people who, like her, had fallen into the hands of traffickers. Today she is happy: she is a mother with a beautiful family, working as an educator in our community.”

Refrain of a song

Leader: Let us pray, together.

When you cry, the Beloved hears and comes to you;
your troubles disappear.

How often the Beloved weeps with compassion
over those who are crushed in spirit.

Though we are beset with many fears
that cause illness and troubles.

The Beloved is ever ready to lighten our heavy hearts,
to ease our burdens, to confort us in our sorrows.

The Beloved renews the life of all
who surrender to Love.

(Psalm 34 – Psalms for Praying by Nan C. Merrill)

Reader 3: A reading from the Gospel of John

 My command is this: Love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.                                           (John 15:12-13)

Leader:

Our first call is from Love, and responding to Love is necessary and urgent because only Love can bring peace and give meaning to our lives. We are called to bear fruit in Love: gestures, words, feelings and behaviors which manifest to those around us the deep affection of our God. In uniting our lives to the stories we hear and to the people around us, we commit ourselves to overcome indifference and to transform the world around us.

Closing hymn of your choice


Text edited by Giovani Impegno Missionario (GIM) and the youth of the Community of Pope John XXIII and adapted by Claudette Bastien, s.n.j.m.

Prayer for international women's day - March 8, 2017

(Adaptation of a prayer prepared by the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission of the International Union of Superiors General)

As we come together to celebrate the International Women’s Day, we join our sisters and brothers throughout the world remembering that “the care we have for one another leads us to engage with the pain and suffering of all people and creation” (USG/UISG).

 

THE WOMAN NEXT TO YOU (1)

Look around Sisters, look around you!

WHO IS THE WOMAN sitting next to you?

 

The woman next to you is an inexhaustible reservoir of possibility…

With possibilities that have never been completely realised…

Full of necessity and possibility…dread and desire…smiles and frowns…

laughter and tears…fears and hopes…

all struggling to find expression.

 

The woman next to you is striving to BECOME something in particular,

to arrive at some destination…to have a story… a song…

to be known and to know…

 

The woman next to you believes in something…

something precious…

stands for something…counts for something…

lives for something…

runs towards something.

 

The woman next to you…has problems and fears, wonders how she is doing…

and often doesn’t feel very good about it…

is often disorganized and sometimes close to chaos…

but endowed with great toughness in the face of adversity…

and able to survive great difficulties.

 

The woman next to you is a colony of persons…

persons all met during her lifetime…

father and mother, friend and enemy.

 

The woman next to you has something she can do well…

something she can do better than anyone else in the whole world…

there is something that she and she  alone can do…but she may not dare speak of it to you.

The woman next to you can live with you, not just alongside you…

she can live, not just for herself, but for you, also…

she can comfort, encounter, understand you if that is what you want…

and in turn she wants to be understood, too.

 

The woman next to you…can never be fully understood…

she is more than any description or explanation…

she can never be fully controlled nor should she be.

 

The woman next to you is a MYSTERY…

and the WORD MADE FLESH is MYSTERY.

The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us… and so my Sisters and Brothers,

look around you… for CHRIST IS HERE, HE DIED and IS  RISEN,  ALLELUIA!

 

[1] Please note in the above poem that use of the term “woman” can also signify any person.

 

Reflection and Sharing:

  • Who is the woman whom Jesus looks at in the synagogue, and how does He relate to her?
  • What things today bend or hold back the life of people, particularly of women?
  • Which are some of my personal experiences of having been “straightened” by the Lord or having witnessed the liberation experienced by others?
  • Can we see in this action of Jesus a graced opportunity to reach out with compassion?

 

Prayer for all women in difficulty

May God bless you and be with you in your time of deep sorrow and pain.

Through our tears, may you know that God weeps with you.

By our touch, may you know that God’s arms are holding you.

In our endeavour to assist you, may you know that God is helping you to cope from day to day.

Through our prayers, may you know that God hears your plea.

And in the desolation you suffer, may you know that we bring God’s love to you to filter into those empty spaces his compassion and understanding.

(Taken from: Marjorie Dobson in: A World of Blessing, Compiled by Geoffrey Duncan, Canterbury Press, 2000)

Prayer for Earth Day - April 22, 2017

Prayer adapted from an anonymous text

God looked at everything He had made and found it very good.

Genesis 1: 31

 

We do not exist outside of nature or above nature

or independent of nature —

we are simply its most vulnerable part.

— Joan Chittister

 

Prayer

O God, Holy Spirit, whose breath gives life to the world

and whose voice is heard in the soft breeze,

come to us, be among us;

speak to us through your creation.

 

Lessons from Creation (from Ute prayer)

Earth, teach us freedom

as the eagle which soars in the sky. Earth, teach us regeneration

as the seed which rises in the spring. Earth, teach us to forget ourselves

as melted snow forgets its life.

Earth, teach us to remember kindness

as dry fields weep with rain.  — from Ute prayer

 

Prayer before Reading Sacred Scripture

O Lord, open our minds and hearts

so that we may hear and act upon your Holy Word.

 

Wisdom of Solomon 11:24-12:1

For You [God] love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made, for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living.  For your immortal Spirit is in all things.

 

Matthew 6:26 and Luke 12:6

Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet our heavenly Father feeds them.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  And not one of them is forgotten in Godʼs sight.

Reflection

As we are called to see ourselves and each other as earthen vessels that hold God’s presence

and bring God’s gifts to the world, so too, our world and all that is above, around and within

it are earthen vessels – just as easily shattered, just as much in need of our loving attentiveness

and support. May our hearts and hands align with God’s so that we will respect and live in

harmony and interdependence with all creation.

 

Sharing: on texts above or on an action you are prepared to take to help save our planet

 

A Prayer of Healing

Response: We join with the earth and with all of creation.

To bring new life to the land

To restore the waters

To refresh the air                 R.

 

To renew the forests

To care for the plants

To protect the creatures     R.

 

To celebrate the seas

To rejoice in the sunlight

To sing the song of the stars         R.

 

To recall our destiny

To renew our spirits

To reinvigorate our bodies            R.

 

To create the human community

To promote justice and peace

To remember the children            R.

 

We are full of the grace of creation.

We are grateful.

We rejoice in all life.

 

Hymn: For the Beauty of the Earth (or one of your choice)