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Prayers of the people: Christmas and New Year period

13 December 2018

CHRISTMAS DAY – 25 DECEMBER 2018

Introductory reflection

Like an ellipse, the year of faith has two focal points, Christmas and Easter. In dynamic partnership they establish a field of force that exerts its influence on us throughout the year. Call it grace – the divine presence suffusing all that is, bringing everything to birth, sustaining it through life, and guiding it through death to glory. Today the mystery is revealed in a new-born child. It is Christ among us, once enfleshed, now present in Spirit, always God’s “Yes” to us and our “Yes” to God. Today in our graced humanity we say our own spirited Amen to the life and world God has given us.

The week’s prayer focus

For all Christian churches, that they bear united witness to the mystery of Emmanuel, God-with-us.

Sample intercessions

These intercessions are offered for selected use at Sunday Mass in the parish alongside those that express local needs and concerns.

Presider

Dear friends, on this holy night/day we marvel at the birth of Christ, God-with-us. Let us give glory to God and pray for peace on earth.

Reader

  1. We pray for the world-wide Christian community. May Christians everywhere radiate the joy of Christmas and be a sign of God’s delight in the human family. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  2. We pray for the many who do not know the meaning of Christmas . May their eyes be opened to the wonder of the Christ-child. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  3. We pray for people in lands where Christmas brings no relief from daily hunger or fear. May a new spirit of global goodwill give them hope for a better life. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  4. We pray in thanksgiving for loving families and friends. May Christmas meals and gift-giving draw loved ones of all ages ever closer together. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  5. We pray for those for whom Christmas is a time of sadness, loneliness or distress. May God give them strength and may neighbours make them welcome. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  6. We pray for staff and volunteers working today in nursing homes, hospitals and prisons. May they bring Christmas joy to those they serve. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  7. We pray for the millions of displaced persons in refugee camps or makeshift shelters. May we see in them our common humanity and help them find a home. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  8. We pray for those who make a special effort to come to Mass at Christmas and Easter. May this celebration touch their hearts and confirm their faith. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  9. We pray for the recently deceased . . . and those whose anniversary of death occurs around this time. May they sing God’s praises for ever with the choirs of heaven. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.

Presider

God of grace and light, we rejoice this night/day in the Word-made-flesh. Open our eyes to the glory of his presence in the whole of creation. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

 

FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY Year C, 30 December 2018

Introductory reflection

One hundred and twenty-five years of celebrating the feast of the Holy Family would seem to have achieved little of Leo XIII’s aim of preserving a traditional Christian model of family life. Families have grown more complex and diverse than ever. None, however, can rival the Holy Family’s originality: a virgin mother, an assumed father, a divine-human child who declares allegiance to a higher authority. Nothing ordinary about this family. But the gospel offers food for thought. On the one hand a robust affirmation of Jesus’ humanity, and on the other a compelling invitation to locate our human loving within the all-encompassing matrix of divine purpose. Always a work in progress.

The week’s prayer focus

For loving families, that their love will abound; for troubled families, that their difficulties will be overcome.

Sample intercessions

These intercessions are offered for selected use at Sunday Mass in the parish alongside those that express local needs and concerns.

Presider

Dear friends, today we ponder the mystery of Jesus, son of Mary and Son of God. Called like him to grow in wisdom and grace, let us pray for the advance of God’s work in our world.

Reader

  1. We pray for all who have been baptised into the divine family of the Holy Trinity. May they delight in the boundless love shared by Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  2. We pray for families of every kind. May faithful love bind them together in good times and in bad and keep them strong and true. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  3. We pray for families struggling with anger, betrayal or loss. May they work through their difficulties and find their way to healing and peace. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  4. We pray for parents, especially single parents, step-parents and foster parents. May they provide their children with the love that enables them to flourish. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  5. We pray for those who live alone, whether by choice or circumstance. May they connect with the wider community and find joy in working for the common good. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  6. We pray for the whole world as New Year’s Day approaches. May Mary, Mother of God, inspire the human family to walk anew in paths of peace. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  7. We pray for the indigenous peoples of the world. May this international year of indigenous languages help them preserve and pass on their cultural heritage. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  8. We pray for workers maintaining social and emergency services during the summer holiday season. May they keep the community safe and well. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  9. We pray for the recently deceased . . . and those whose anniversary of death occurs around this time. May they see God face to face and rejoice with God forever. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.

Presider

Loving God and author of all life, your eternal Word took flesh and lived among us. Give us the courage to follow him until we are called into the love you share as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

 

FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY Year C, 6 January 2019

Introductory reflection

Luke has Simeon declare Mary’s new-born child to be a sign of contradiction and upheaval; Matthew fleshes this out in a story that pits light against darkness. The bright star that guides the seekers of truth to Bethlehem is threatened by the dark clouds of Herod’s treacherous ambition. Later embellishments of the story – the names of the so-called kings, the meaning of their gifts – testify to the power of Matthew’s tale to capture the Christian imagination. Yet the question it poses remains crystal-clear. Every generation is asked: who is this child? Matthew has already given his answer: the Christ, son of David, son of Abraham, Emmanuel, God-with-us. What is ours?

The week’s prayer focus

For all who search for a wisdom to live by, that they will be led to Christ, the light of the world.

Sample intercessions

These intercessions are offered for selected use at Sunday Mass in the parish alongside those that express local needs and concerns.

Presider

Dear friends, today the Christ-child is revealed as saviour of all nations. Let us pray for the light of Christ to shine forth across the face of the earth.

Reader

  1. For all people of good will, that they will be true to the wisdom of their hearts and bless the world with love. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  2. For the members of all the Eastern Churches, that they will treasure their ancient traditions and celebrate the festival of Epiphany with great joy. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  3. For all who shed light on the truth as writers, artists and philosophers, that they will enrich the human family with their insights. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  4. For the many Christians who suffer persecution, oppression or harassment for their faith, that they will take heart from our solidarity with and support for them. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  5. For all missionaries, whether lay, vowed or ordained, that their willingness to venture forth among diverse peoples to proclaim the good news will bear a rich harvest. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  6. For summer holiday-makers, that their time of leisure will be enjoyable, safe and refreshing. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  7. For communities living in bushfire-prone areas, that they will work together to reduce the risks and help keep each other safe. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  8. For ourselves and our parish, that our faith in Jesus will grow deeper this year and be an encouraging sign of hope for others. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  9. For the recently deceased . . . and for those whose anniversary of death occurs around this time, that the light of Christ will guide them safely to their heavenly home. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.

Presider

God of all peoples, you have revealed the mystery of your love for us in the birth of Mary’s child. Help us always to walk as children of light. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

 

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