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Prayers for the Week

June 2018 

1 June

Justin, Martyr (d.165)

Justin studied Plato, but later found that Christianity had better answers to the questions about life and existence. After his conversion he became the first Christian philosopher. He felt that philosophy was an educator that could lead one to Christ. In his writings he defended the Christian religion against the attacks and misunderstandings of the pagans. As a result of his faith and his writings in defence of Christianity, Justin was beheaded in Rome in 165.

Prayer:

God of life you raised Christ your Son from the dead so that we might each have the promise of eternal life. We know that all things are possible to you. Help us at this busy time to be confident in the gifts you have given us. May we be granted the wisdom to apply ourselves completely during this time of final exams and may it bring each of us closer to attaining our dreams. We ask all this through Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

Amen

 

5 JUNE

Boniface, Bishop and Martyr (672-754)

Patron of England

Boniface was an English Benedictine monk who was given the task of reforming and organising the whole German Church. It had fallen back into paganism and was riddled with error because of uneducated, lax clergy. Boniface was successful but in order to accomplish his mission he did two things: he restored the obedience of the clergy to their bishops in union with the pope and he established many houses of prayer. He also built schools, monasteries and convents. These were based on Benedictine monasteries. In one of his missionary trips to France, he and fifty three of his companies were massacred while preparing converts for Confirmation.

Prayer:

God of love, give us the wisdom to achieve your purpose as St Boniface did. May we imitate his courage for the sake of your kingdom.

Amen

 

9 JUNE

Ephrem the Syrian, Deacon and Doctor (306? – 373)

Ephrem was ordained a deacon but declined becoming a priest because he did not believe he was good enough. His prolific writings illustrate his holiness as well as his deep insight and knowledge of the Scriptures. His writings reveal a humanly sympathetic spirit and a great devotion to the humanity of Jesus and Mary. He also became one of the first to introduce song into the Church’s public worship as well as a means to instruction. He wrote many beautiful and original hymns.

Prayer:

Loving God as we progress towards the end of this school year, may we find strength in our faith. We know that we are not perfect. Grant us a sympathetic spirit like that of St Ephrem, and help us be satisfied with diong our best.

Amen

 

11 JUNE

Barnabas, Apostle (First Century)

Patron of Cyprus

Barnabas was first called Joseph. He changed his name to Barnabas which means “son of encouragement”. Barnabas comes as close as anyone outside the Twelve to being an apostle. He was a close friend of Paul and introduced Paul to St Peter and the other apostles. He also defended Paul to the apostles. He was an excellent mediator and was often sent to new churches to represent the mother church of Jerusalem. He and Paul led the Church in Antioch for one year. He preached to many in the gentile world. Barnabas and Paul were very successful at converting the gentile world.

Prayer:

God of wisdom, may teachers know the difference they have made in the lives of students and continue to carry out their duties with wisdom and enthusiasm. May administrators and all support staff who work so hard at keeping this school going know the value of their contributions. Lord, help  staff see that the fruits of their work with the students will be shown in the years to come.

Amen

 

13 JUNE

Antony of Padua, Priest and Doctor (1195 -1231)

Patron of lost articles, childless women, the poor, harvests, travellers, Portugal.

When Anthony saw the slain Franciscan martyrs he was filled with an intense longing to be one of those who die for the Good News. Anthony then joined the Franciscan Order and set out to preach to the Moors. He was stricken with an illness and returned to Italy where he spent most of his time praying, reading the Scriptures and doing menial tasks. He became recognised as a great man of prayer and a great Scripture and theology scholar. He later preached to the heretics and converted many.

Prayer:

Dear God of all blessings we give you thanks for our union with Christ. May we be blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly kingdom. Even before the world was made, you had already chosen us to be yours through our union with Christ. Because of your love for us, you made us as your children through Jesus this was your pleasure and purpose.

Amen

 

22 JUNE

John Fisher, Bishop and Martyr (1469 - 1535)

Bishop Fisher was a man of learning, associated with the intellectuals and the political men of his day. He became Chancellor at Cambridge and bishop at age thirty- five and worked towards raising the standard of preaching in England. He also was an accomplished preacher and writer and through his writings became a leading theologian in Europe. He paid special attention to the poor and wrote eight books against heresy. He would always hold firm to the truth and the correct action. Along with Thomas More, he defended the validity of Henry VIII’s marriage to Queen Catherine and rejected Henry’s claim as supreme head of the Church in England. Like Thomas More, he was condemned and executed.

Prayer:

Dear God, may we make efforts to learn more about you and the Church’s position on issues. Whenever we face great pressure, may we not compromise the values Jesus taught us.  May our faith and knowledge of the salvation that is ours provide us with the strength we need in every situation we face.

Amen

 

23 JUNE

Thomas More, Martyr (1478-1535)

Thomas refused to approve Henry VIII’s divorce and remarriage and the establishment of the Church of England. Described as “a man for all seasons” More was a literary scholar, eminent lawyer, gentleman, father of four children, and Chancellor of England. He was sent to the Tower and later beheaded. Thomas was an intensely spiritual man who would not go against his conscience, even when it meant his death.

Prayer:

All powerful God, may we never compromise the values that Jesus taught us even when we face great pressure. May our faith and knowledge of the salvation that is ours provide us with the strength we need in every situation.

Amen

 

24 JUNE

Birth of John the Baptist

Today we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist, the son of Elizabeth, a cousin of Jesus. Little did John know when he was a child that God was preparing him to be the man who would announce the coming of the Messiah to the Jews. Little did he know that that the day would come when he would baptise the Messiah.

Prayer:

Dear God, grant us the gift of patience. When people and society pressure us for the quick fix and the immediate answer, may we take the time we need to search within ourselves for the right answer. May our patience and faith bring us peace.

Amen

 

27 JUNE

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Ask everyone to spend a moment in silent reflection on the great love that Jesus has for each one of us.

 

28 JUNE

Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr (130-220)

Irenaeus had great patience in investigating information and was very protective of apostolic teachings. He spent much time investigating the gnostic teachings which were influencing many Christians at that time. He wrote five books outlining the gnostic teachings and contrasted them with the teachings of the apostles and the Scriptures. His work contributed greatly to ending the influence of the gnostic. Irenaeus teaches us how important it is to investigate thoroughly in order to arrive at truth.

Prayer:

God of truth, help us always seek the truth as you have taught it to us this past year. May we remain open to the great tasks to which God invites us and may we perform them with joy and hope.

Amen

 

29 JUNE

Peter, Apostle (d.64) and Paul, Apostle (d.64)

Patron of fisherman, Patron of public relations, the media, missionaries

Peter makes his great confession of faith to Jesus when he says:” You are the Messiah!” Scripture clearly shows Peter as the leader of the apostles, chosen by Jesus to have a special relationship with him. It is to Peter that Jesus says "You are Rock and on this Rock I will build my Church.”

Paul is converted on the road to Damascus and becomes a great preacher and missionary, travelling throughout the known world to spread the word of God.

Prayer:

Dear God, like Peter and Paul may I repent on my failings and seek ways to bring your Gospel to others. May I have the strength to face criticism and even persecution as they did to be true to your teachings.

Amen

 

May 2018
 

1 May

Joseph, the Worker

Patron of the Church, fathers, carpenters, artisans, manual workers, the poor, religious travellers

Jesus was a carpenter and was trained by his father Joseph. This profession had many satisfactions as well as many drudgeries. Joseph and Jesus are carpenters and their work involves being creative. We are called to use our hands and minds to serve God. Ultimately, our creations are for the purpose of building God’s kingdom.  An exemplary father, Joseph worked hard for his family, found meaning and vocation in his work and lived in close communion with his family.

Prayer:

Dear God, may our gifts and talents be used to build up your kingdom here on earth. May all we make reflect your love, your goodness and your beauty. 

Amen

 

3 May

Philip, Apostle (first century)

Patron of Uruguay 

Like many of the apostles, Philip took a long time to realise who Jesus was. Twice in Scripture we see evidence of this, once when Jesus is among the many without food and the other when Philip ask Jesus to show them the Father. We see in Philip a very human man who doubted and questioned like so many of us do. Yet he became a foundation stone of the Church. We are reminded through Philip’s life that holiness and the work that follows is not achieved by human means but is a gift from God. The miracles he performed and the diseases he cured were an external sign of the greater miracle of him- the divine power to love like God.

Prayer:

Creator God, we recognise that you call each of us by name. You embrace us and love us as we are. May our knowledge of your unlimited love enable us to face all life’s challenges.

Amen

 

14 May

Matthias, Apostle (first century)

Patron of tailors and alchoholics

The Acts of the Apostles tells us that Matthias was chosen after the resurrection to replace Judas. Matthias was one who had been with the other apostles from Jesus’ baptism to his resurrection. The decision was made by drawing lots. It is believed that Matthias ended up in Ethiopia and met his martyrdom by crucifixion or beheading.

Prayer:

Dear God, recognising that it is you who chose each and everyone one of us out of love, we pray that we can accept Jesus’ invitation to follow him. We know that sometimes you ask us to do difficult things, to make difficult choices. You ask us to be courageous and strong and act in ways that are counter – cultural. However, we know the power of your love and the great joy you offer, so we can pray for the courage to meet the challenge. We ask this through our Lord and Saviour.

Amen

 

15 May

Isidore, the Farmer and his wife Marie de la Cabeza (1070 – 1170)

Patron of farmers, labourers, Madrid

Isidore worked on a farm for a wealthy landowner all his life. He married Maria, and they had one son who died young. Isidore and Marie had a great love for the poor, and it is said that they often supplied them miraculously with food. We see from their life that sainthood does not come from status and that the simple life is a conducive to love and happiness.

Prayer:

God of the humble, help us become more faithful people. May we recognise your presence in prayer. May it lead us into a deeper relationship with you.

Amen

 

20 May

Bernadine of Siena, Priest (1380 – 1444)

Patron of advertisers

Bernadine was the greatest preacher of his time. He calmed strife- torn cities, attacked paganism and attracted crowds of 30,000 when he preached. He had a keen intuition of the needs of the people, used down- to –earth examples and radiated boundless energy and joy. He nursed people in the hospital when the plague hit Italy. Following this work he was so exhausted that a fever confined him for several months. At twenty- four he became a Franciscan priest and for twelve years he lived in solitude and prayer. However his gifts caused him to travel from town to town preaching.

Prayer:

Dear God, we are face with so many decisions in our lives. Give us the strength and insight to make the right choices. We take a moment to pray for families who are suffering today as a result of bad choices that have led to tragedies. May they be granted comfort in friendships and peace in faith. We ask all this through Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour.

Amen

 

25 May

Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, Virgin (1566- 1667)

Mary became a Carmelite nun at the age of sixteen. At seventeen she became critically ill and was allowed to make her vows early. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy (union with God) that lasted two hours. This was repeated again for the next forty mornings, after she had received communion each morning. These were rich experiences of union with God and God revealed to her marvellous insights into divine truths. Over the next six years five volumes of notes were collected as she explained her ecstasies, her trials and her reform and renewal.

Prayer:

Loving God, this is a very busy time of year. Students and teachers face great pressures as assignments, tests and presentations are now in full swing. Students try their best to succeed and teachers hope all they have taught has been caught by their students. We ask the intercession of St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi to maintain a sense of calm balance. Help us to recognise that you are always with us offering comfort, direction, and support.

Amen

 

26 May

Philip Neri, Priest (1515 – 1595)

At an early age Philip went to Rome to devote his life to God. He served thirteen years as a layman engaged in prayer and apostolate. Many laymen formed with him a prayer group and would serve the needy of Rome. He eventually became a priest and it was evident that he had a great gift for recognising the pretences and illusions of others. Some of his followers became priests and they lived together in community. This was the beginning of the formation of the Oratory. Philip’s advice was sought by many prominent people of his day. He is one of the influential people of the counter- Reformation. He is known for his humility and Great Spirit of joy.

Prayer:

Creator God, may we serve you with faith and humility. May we use our talents to serve you and be blessed with patience.  May our approach to life inspire and encourage others.

Amen

 

27 May

Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (died 605)​​​​​​​

Augustine and a few monks set out to evangelise the Anglo - Saxons in England. He converted many, and constructed a Church and a monastery, and as a result, faith began to spread. He did not always meet with success, but he laboured patiently. He purified rather than destroyed pagan temples and customs, let pagan rites be taken over into Christian feasts, and retained local customs as much as possible. His work established the foundation for years of conversion that occurred in England after Augustine’s death.

Prayer:

God of holiness, grant us the virtue of temperance and wisdom. May we be a patient and holy people. May your will be fulfilled in all we do.

Amen

 

March 2018
 

4 March

Casimir (1458- 1483)

Patron of Poland, Lithuania, Russia

Born of kings, and in line to be a king, Casimir was blessed with many virtues, including knowledge. Even as a teenager he was known for his goodness, and lived a disciplined life, sleeping on the ground, spending a great part of the night in prayer, and dedicating himself to lifelong celibacy. At one time he was sent by his father to lead an army into war but he refused. He returned home and made the decision never to involve himself in war.

Prayer:

Dear God, it is difficult to live a life of self control. I know that this is what you call me to, and this discipline will bring many rewards. However, I sometimes give in to temptation. When I fail, I pray for a reconciled and renewed relationship with you.

Amen

 

7 March

Perpetua and Felicity, martyrs (d. 203)

Perpetua was a young, beautiful, well-educated mother and chronicler of the persecution of Christians by the emperor Septimius Severus. Felicity was a courageous slave in the prison and pregnant. Despite threats of persecution and death they both refused to renounce the Christian faith. They were sent to the public games in the amphitheatre where they were set upon by bears, then beheaded. In her diary, Perpetua describes her period as a time of horror. However when they allowed her infant son to stay with her, her prison became a palace to her.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, there are times when I feel like everything is going wrong and there is nobody who believes in me or supports me. I know you are always with me and my friendship with you comforts me. Thank you for your unconditional love and constant presence.

Amen

 

8 March

John of God, religious (1495-1550)

Patron of hospitals, the sick, nurses, booksellers, those with heart ailments.

John led a wild life until he was forty. His acts of penance were as passionate as his previous life had been. Then he was visited by Blessed John of Avila who advised him to be more actively involved in tending to the needs of others rather than in enduring personal hardships. John gained peace of heart and began his work with the poor. He established a house for the sick and the poor and continued a deep interior prayer life reflected in his spirit of humility. Twenty years after his death his followers formed the Brothers Hospitallers.

Prayer:

Loving Lord, I will do acts of charity and goodness to reconcile my relationship with you and those who I have offended. I will sacrifice my own selfish desires to show you how much I desire to live in union with you.

Amen

 

9 March

Frances of Rome, wife mother, and religious (1384-1440)

Patron of widows, motorists

A devoted and loving wife, Frances longed for a life of prayer and service, so she organised a group of women to minster the needs of Rome’s poor. With the birth of her children she turned her attention to the needs of her own household. When the great plague struck Italy, Frances used all her money and sold all her possessions to buy whatever the sick might need. She was then given permission to found a society of women who offered themselves to God through service to the poor. She joined the community after her husband died.

Prayer:

Dear God, you call some of us to be leaders. If I am chosen to be a leader may I lead with wisdom and prudence. 

Amen

 

17 March

Patrick, bishop (389- approx 461)

Patron of Ireland, Nigeria

At the age of sixteen Patrick and a large number of his father’s slaves and vassals were captured by Irish raiders and sold as slaves in Ireland. For six years he worked as a shepherd, suffering from hunger and cold, until he escaped. His captivity had meant spiritual conversion and after years of study he was made bishop. He felt the call to work in Ireland, and returned there and converted many to Catholicism. He ordained a large number of priests, divided the country into dioceses, held church councils, founded several monasteries, and continually urged his people to greater holiness in Christ. He was a man of action, with a rock-like belief in his vocation.

Prayer:

Lord of the missions, you call us to be a servant to all your people. As St. Patrick brought you to the Irish, may we embrace our suffering, enduring it as you endured the cross.  May our suffering forge greatness within and bring us the treasures of the heart.

Amen

 

18 March

Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop and doctor (approx. 315 – 386)

Ordained a priest and given the task of catechising those prepared for baptism, Cyril was later accused of insubordination and of selling Church property to relieve the poor. After being vindicated, he returned to find Jerusalem torn with heresy, schism, and strife, and racked with crime. He went to the (second ecumenical) Council of Constantinople, where the amended form of the Nicene Creed was promulgated. As a result of his work there, the bishops of the Council praised him as a champion of orthodoxy against the Arians who were denying the divinity of Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear God, there are times when people tell false stories and lies about me or other people. Help me to stand up for the truth. I know you are with me, and I pray that all I do is true to you.

Amen

 

19 March

Joseph, husband of Mary (first century)

Patron of the Church, fathers, carpenters, artisans, manual workers, the poor, religious travellers

The Bible pays Joseph the highest compliment, saying Joseph was a “just man”. By this the Bible means that he was completely open to all that God wanted. He became holy by surrendering totally to God. The just man was simply, joyfully, wholeheartedly obedient to God- in marrying Mary, in naming Jesus, in shepherding the precious pair to Egypt, in bringing them to Nazareth, in the undetermined number of years he lived and worked with faith and courage.

Prayer:

Jesus give me the strength, courage, and wisdom to be a just person like St Joseph. May my actions, words, career and all my life choices express justice towards others and bring about justice in my community.

Amen

 

23 March

Turibius of Mongrovejo, bishop (1538-1606)

 Patron of Latin American bishops

Turibus was ordained priest and bishop and sent to Peru where he found colonisation at its worst. The Spanish conquerors including some of the clergy, were guilty of every sort of abuse against the native population. Turibus visited everywhere, studying the language and staying two or three days in each place with neither bed nor food, facing wild animals, disease, and hunger. Many of his people were very poor, yet sensitive, so he helped them secretly, while speaking out against abuses and building hospitals.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, you call us to be a people of charity, giving to the poor quietly without boasting of our charitable acts. Help me be a person who acts quietly and humbly, serving others because of my love for you.

Amen

 

February 2018 

2 February

Feast of the Presentation of our Lord

This feast celebrates the coming of the Lord into his temple. He is met by representatives of the old covenant, Simeon and Anna.

Prayer:

Lord of ages, "my eyes has seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30 – 32)

Amen

 

3 February 

Blaise, Bishop and Martyr (d. 316)

Blaise was a good bishop, working hard to encourage the physical and spiritual needs of the people. However, because persecution of Christians still raged in Armenia. Blaise was forced to flee to the back country. He lived there as a hermit in solitude and prayer. One day hunters found him and hauled him off to prison where a mother came with her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat. At Blaise’s command the child was able to cough up the bone. The legend continues that the governor tried to persuade Blaise to sacrifice to pagan idols. Finally he was beheaded.

On this feast day we have the opportunity to have our throats blessed in church.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, I pray that my life and the lives of my family and friends will be blessed with good health, peace and love. When confronted with illness or obstacles may we accept and overcome them through your comfort and love.

Amen

 

5 February

Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (d 251 )

Patron of Sicily, Nurses, Foundry Workers, Miners, Jewellers

Legend has it that Agatha was arrested as a Christian, tortured and sent to a house of prostitution to be mistreated. She was preserved from being violated and was later put to death. The year after her death the stilling of an eruption of Mount Etna was attributed to her intercession. As a result,  people apparently continued to ask her prayers for protection against fire.

Prayer:

Loving Lord, protect me and my family from evil and all those elements that bring destruction. Keep us safe in your loving arms.

Amen

 

6 February

Paul Miki, Priest and Martyr (1564 -1597)

Paul was a Jesuit and native of Japan. He was martyred along with many others in Japan. He was martyred because he taught the doctrine of Christ. He preached to people that they should not hesitate to ask Jesus to help them to be happy.  He forgave those who persecuted and killed him.

Prayer:

Dear God, many will challenge us for being who we are and having the beliefs we have. May we stand strong in our faith and connections holding fast to what we believe to be true and right.

 Amen

 

8 February

Jerome Emiliani, Religious (1486– 1537)

Patron of Orphans, Abandoned children

While spending time in prison, Jerome learned to pray. When he escaped, he returned to Venice and began to study for the priesthood. Plague and famine swept northern Italy. Jerome distributed all his property and possessions to the needy, particularly to abandoned children. He founded three orphanages, a shelter for penitent prostitutes and a hospital. He later founded a congregation dedicated to the care and of orphans and the education of youth.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, I pray every day that my spirit and my soul will be nourished. I pray that I will always be meditative and reflective, with an open heart and clear mind.

Amen

 

10 February

Scholastica, Virgin, Religious (480 -542?)

Patron of Children with Convulsions

Scholastica and her twin brother St Benedict both established religious communities close to each other. She was born of wealthy parents but gave up her wealth to live as a poor contemplative. Scholastica and her brother kept in close contact throughout the year. They were a great spiritual support for each other.

Prayer:

Loving Lord, may my love and union with my siblings always be strong, so I can be for them a constant support and a source of love and inspiration.

Amen

 

11 February

World Day of Prayer for the Sick

Jesus wanted the people to know that God wants our total good as human beings. Jesus forgave people their sins and ministered to the sick. The Church has designated today as World Day of Prayer for the Sick. We pray for healing. It is also a day to recognise the selfless work of doctors, nurses, and other health – care specialists who dedicate their lives to healing others.

Prayer:

Dear Lord you healed the blind, the lame, the crippled, people afflicted with different kinds of pain and illness. We pray to you for healing of our physical afflictions. Help us to bring comfort, support and love to all those who are ill.

Amen

 

21 February

Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor (1007—1072)

Damian lived a life of prayer and fasting. He eventually left teaching and gave himself to prayer with the Benedictines. He prayed often, studied the Bible, and slept rarely. As abbot he found five other hermitages. He often served as a peacemaker between arguing factions in the Church or government. He was eventually made Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and wrote many letters, sermons and biographies.

Prayer:

Lord of all, you call us to be a brother or sister to all people. You give us a moral obligation to love all of your children. We pray for the courage to bring about justice and peace.

Amen

 

22 February

Feast of the Chair of Peter

The feast commemorates Christ choosing Peter to take his place as the servant authority of the whole Church. Peter is the spokesperson for the twelve about their experience of the Holy Spirit; to defend the Church’s mission before the civil authorities; and for the community in the problem of Ananias and Sappahira. Peter is the first to preach the good news to the Gentiles. The healing power of Jesus in him is well attested in many miracles. On Vatican Hill, in Rome during the reign of Nero, Peter died as a martyr, probably in the company of many Christians.

Prayer:

Dear God, we pray for the healing powers, that is words and actions that bring healing to others,  to their physical, mental, and spiritual afflictions.

Amen

 

January 2018 

12 January

Feast of the Baptism of our Lord

We reflect today on Jesus being baptised by John in the river Jordan, remembering God’s word:   “This is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” Matthew 3:17.

 

17 January 

Anthony of Egypt, Abbot (251 – 356)

Patron of Butchers, Skin Diseases

Anthony sold his inheritance and gave it all to the poor. He gave the Church and the world the witness of a life in solitude, personal self-sacrifice, and prayer. At the same time many people were drawn to him for spiritual healing and guidance. Anthony established a monastery and fearlessly exposed himself to danger while he helped those in prison during the Roman persecution.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, there is terrible poverty in the world. Yet you created a world rich enough to feed everyone. May I always be generous of heart and feed those who are hungry.  May I always be willing to share what I have to help others live.

Amen

 

20 January 

Sebastian, Martyr (257-286)

Patron of Athletes, Soldiers

Sebastian was a Roman martyr. Legend says that Sebastian entered the Roman army only because in that position he could assist the martyrs without arousing suspicion. He was found out and delivered to archers to be shot to death. Sebastian recovered but refused to flee. He later confronted the emperor, denouncing him for his cruelty to Christians. This time the sentence of death was carried out. Sebastian was beaten to death with clubs.

Prayer

Dear God, what great perseverance Sebastian had. My prayer today is that when times are tough and nothing seems to be going my way, I will never give up. Help me to endure the difficult times and stand up for what I believe to be right.

Amen

 

21 January

Agnes, Virgin and Martyr (d. 304)

Patron of Girls, Children of Mary

Agnes was martyred at the age of thirteen in the third century. A man wanted to marry her, but she would not. He reported her as a Christian. She was arrested and forced to go to a house of prostitution. When that failed, Agnes was then executed in Rome. Before her death she forgave the man who betrayed her. The daughter of Constantine built a basilica in her name.

Prayer

Dear God, give us the kindness to forgive others who wrong us. May we try to act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with you always.

Amen

 

24 January

Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor (1567-1622)

Patron of Journalists, Editors, Writers, the Deaf

Francis studied to be a lawyer, but instead decided to become a priest. He set out to convert Calvinists by preaching and writing and distributing pamphlets explaining the true Catholic doctrine. As bishop, he continued to preach, hear confession and catechise children. His struggle to control his anger and be gentle was a great asset in winning souls. He wrote popular books, articles, and pamphlets and because of this he has been named patron of the Catholic press.

Prayer:

Dear God, it is gentleness that will have a great effect on stress. Teach me to be gentle. I pray for gentleness in my words and in my actions. I pray that my gentleness will bring comfort and healing to others.

Amen

 

25 January

Feast of the Conversion of Paul, the Apostle

For years he arrested, persecuted, imprisoned, and executed Christians. Knocked off his horse by a blinding light, Paul faced Jesus and was converted. From this point on Paul dedicated his life to Christ and established churches throughout the known world. Paul’s message is that you are saved entirely by God, not by anything you can do.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, you come to all of us in different ways. You offer us like Paul an opportunity to convert. I pray that my heart is always open to you and each experience with you is a conversion, making me a better person.

Amen

 

26 January

Titus, Bishop (d. approx. 94)

Titus is seen as a peacemaker, administrator, and a great friend and disciple of St Paul. We discover from Paul’s letters what a source of strength he was for Paul. He helped Paul through difficult times and showed a unique ability to smooth out challenging situations.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, we see a lot of violence and war in the world we live in. We pray to be peacemakers, to bring people together in a spirit of tolerance and understanding. We pray for a world of harmony and unity.

Amen

 

28 January 

Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor (1225-1274)

Patron of Catholic Schools, Students, Colleges, Philosophers and Theologians

Thomas Aquinas is one of the greatest teachers of the medieval Catholic Church, and his writings are among the Church’s treasures. The unity, harmony and continuity of faith and reason, of revealed and natural human knowledge, pervades his writings. The Summa Theological, his last and unfortunately, incomplete work, deals with the whole of Catholic theology.

Prayer:

O God of knowledge, Thomas Aquinas was born with a brilliant mind. He uses his gift to create a better world through his writings. I pray that I will use my intelligence to write and speak in a way that gives people hope and builds up your kingdom on earth.

Amen

 

31 January 

John Bosco, Priest (1815-1888)

Patron of Editors and Young People

Educator John Bosco advocated frequent celebration of the sacrament of penance and the Eucharist. He combined catechetical training and fatherly guidance, seeking to unite spiritual life with one’s work, study, and play. After serving as a chaplain in a hospice for working girls. John opened the Oratory of St Francis de Sales, for boys. He taught them various trades, including the publication of religious and catechetical pamphlets. He founded the Salesians, whose efforts concentrated on education and missionary work. Later he began a group of Salesian Sisters to assist girls.

Prayer:

Lord you call me to serve. Keep my ears and heart open to your calling. You may be inviting me to be a priest, or sister or brother, married or single. I am open to your call, Lord, and desire to serve you.

Amen