Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As Lynn & I were nearing the end of our pilgrimage in Ireland earlier this month, we were talking with another couple, and I asked them what they thought of this journey. The response was, “We sure prayed a lot!” Yes, we did! In addition to individual time for prayer and reflection, for each of the ten days, we attended Mass with Bishop Ricken, we prayed Morning Prayer, the Angelus, either the Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and Evening Prayer. A pilgrimage is a wonderful time to “pray without ceasing” as St. Paul wrote in his first letter to the Thessalonians. (5:17)
Before we left for this pilgrimage, I invited others to send their prayer petitions with me. I knew that we would be visiting many holy sites, and it would be a great opportunity to lift up those prayers, in addition to my own. Like each of you, I have my own list of prayer intentions and specific people to pray for. My list includes prayers for our parish, all of our parishioners, and for your intentions.
We were blessed to be able to pray at many amazing places in Ireland including… the tomb of Saints Patrick, Bridget, and Columba, in front of the relics of St. Oliver Plunket and St. Valentine, the Marian Shrine of Knock, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Galway Cathedral, the Cathedral of Armagh, the 6th century monastic ruins of Glendalough, on the mountain of Croagh Patrick, St. Mary’s Church in Killarney, St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Dublin… Just to name a few!
There is a contemporary song called “We Are One Body” written by Dana Scallon from Derry, Ireland. The lyrics include the phrase, “We are one body, one body in Christ . . . and we do not stand alone!” One of ways that we can stand together and to be ‘one body’ is to pray for one another.
As most of you know, we have a parish book of prayer intentions located just outside the south chapel dedicated to the North American Saints. This book is simply known as the ‘Prayer Tree’. The prayer intentions in this book are hand-written by our parishioners or anyone else who visits our parish. We lift up these prayers at Mass, and I know that many people include these intentions in their personal prayers.
I encourage everyone to use the Prayer Tree for your personal intentions, and I also encourage everyone to remember to pray for these intentions in your daily prayers. Remember . . . “We are one body, one body in Christ . . . and we do not stand alone!”
Finally, when you or your family happen to travel to other parishes and other holy sites, wherever they may be, please remember to pray for our parish, and for the intentions of your fellow parishioners.
May God bless you and your family.