This prayer service focuses on praying for peace in the world.
By Jean Grant
LEADER: There is a spirit of unrest encircling our globe. Nations are at odds, leaders threaten each other, and there is often the feeling of being on the edge of danger. Our Lady of Fatima has guided us through such times in the past when she implored us to pray the Rosary, yet here we are at the end of the one-hundredth anniversary year of her apparitions to the three children of Fatima in Portugal. Our Church seems to be struggling with a crisis as well. Christians must once again learn to value and attend the Mass and pray the Rosary if our salvation is to be secured. If we are disappointed with human beings within our lives who lead us, let us not become lax in our prayers begging you for assistance and love. We must pray, pray, pray!
READER 1: (Matthew 6:26-27; 6:34, 7:1-5) “Look at the birds! They don’t worry about what to eat—they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food—for your heavenly Father feeds them, and you are far more valuable to him than they are. Will all your worries add a single moment to your life? … So, don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time. … Do for others what you want them to do for you. This is the teaching of the laws of Moses in a nutshell.”
LEADER: Let us all pray together the prayer taught to us by Jesus himself: the Our Father.
ALL: Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.
READER 2: A recently canonized saint has given great examples to us about interacting with others. Saint John Paul II was Pope for over twenty years. He was known for his love for the people of the Church, and he traveled extensively to numerous countries around the globe. When his plane would land, he would always kneel and kiss the ground of the nation he was visiting as a sign of respect and reverence to the people. He wrote many prayers, including this prayer for peace.
ALL: “Mary, Queen of Peace, save us all, who have so much trust in you, from wars, hatred, and oppression. Make us all learn to live in peace, and educate ourselves in peace, do what is demanded by justice and respect the rights of every person, so that peace may be firmly established. Amen.”
LEADER: A beloved saint in our Church is St. Francis of Assisi. He was raised in a wealthy family, yet he gave up everything for the poor. His love and respect of all God’s creation inspired the Peace Prayer. Together let us recite this prayer and meditate on the words.
ALL: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
LEADER: Refer to Ephesians 6:10-17 in the New Testament of the Bible. Meditate for a few moments on the meaning of putting on the “Whole Armor of God” to resist evil. (If possible, gather around the Cross of San Damiano, which is also linked with St. Francis.)
(Allow five to ten minutes of quiet meditation.)
LEADER: To close, let us sing the first three verses of Canticle of the Sun, a hymn first composed by St. Francis of Assisi. Make a commitment to show love and respect as we interact with others daily. Leave in prayerful silence, holding these ideals and our love for the Blessed Trinity, Mary, and the saints in our hearts.
Jean Grant is a retired teacher from St. Charles, Missouri.