The beginning and end of so many sessions of prayer and worship (including our mass!) the sign of the cross is a natural place to start this month. Did you know that there are multiple meanings to this simple gesture? Each time we use our hand to trace this symbol, we are in fact professing the core of our faith. Check out a 1-minute explanation in this video from Deacon Eric Lambert!
Hearing the plea of his disciples, Jesus offered some specific words to use in their conversation with God - verses still said today. This prayer takes less than a minute to say, but contains many important pieces:
- a profession of faith
- honoring our God
- acknowledging our blessings/Eucharist come from Him
- asking for grace
- asking for His help to love our neighbor
Let us all come together as disciples of Christ and make time to pray these words to God the Father today!
DAY 3: The Hail Mary
Continuing with classic Catholic prayers, today let's say the Hail Mary together!
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Originally "The Salutation of the Blessed Virgin" it begins with 2 verses taken from the Gospel of Luke (1:28 & 1:42, https://bible.usccb.org/bible/luke/1). The Angel Gabriel gives us the original salutation at the Annunciation, then Elizabeth the second. The last part asking for intercession was added to the Latin "Ave Maria" in about 1050, and finishes the words we still recite today.
Contrary to some misunderstanding, this is not said to worship Mary as we do Jesus. Rather, we look to her as a role model who said "Yes" to God and directed people to listen to Jesus. We ask for her to put in a good word for us with her Son. After all, a good kid respects their Mama, right?
DAY 4: Prayer to St. Michael
Yesterday we got to look at the prayer to our beloved patron of Newmarket, Mary. Today, let's ask for intercession and protection from our Exeter patron, St. Michael the Archangel!
"Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen."
St. Michael is not a traditional saint (a person acknowledged as holy or virtuous, typically regarded as being in heaven after death), but rather an angel who already resides in heaven with God. To learn more about St. Michael and where he is mentioned in scripture, check out this short video from Catholic Online: https://safeYouTube.net/w/AUfZ
DAY 5: Come Holy Spirit
Today, we'll acknowledge the third person of the Trinity in our lives.
The Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son and with them is glorified, brings us gifts...
Let us pray: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
"Though we may not be able to tangibly perceive where the Holy Spirit comes from, we will be able to see the effects of the Spirit. When we perceive a new strength within us, or an increase in virtues, or an ability to forgive, etc., we are aware of the fact that the Holy Spirit is present, leading us, transforming us and guiding us." - Catholic Daily Reflections
DAY 6: The Mass
The mass is an incredibly important part of our faith. Not just because of the bread of life and sacrifice of Christ in the form of the Eucharist, but because it is also a time when we should be connecting ourselves to God through loving verbal and non-verbal communication - AKA prayer! The mass reinforces through gesture, music, silence, and reverence that prayer is so much more than just words. It is spiritual communion in various forms. Jesus, loving us through his passion and cross, invites us to a high form of connection and prayer in the mass.
Let us acknowledge this together, whether near or far, live or recorded, and offer ourselves to the heavenly Father. (Even if this Sunday evening passes you by, use the gift of technology to join with God and community this week. It's never too late to participate in the love of Christ!)
"How the Mass is a Prayer
The Mass is a prayer because in the Eucharistic Sacrifice the faithful join with Christ in offering themselves to the heavenly Father. This is not so obvious as it may seem. We are so used to thinking of prayer as saying something, that we have to get hold of ourselves to recognize that prayer is also and first of all doing something.
What does Christ do? And in doing, how does He pray in the Mass? In the Mass Christ offers Himself body and soul, mind and will and emotions to His Father – even as He did at the Last Supper and as He consummated on Calvary. His original offering was not only a sacrifice, but a complete sacrifice, which means a holocaust. When He hung dying on the first altar of sacrifice He literally gave all that He could, because He gave all that He had as an oblation to God. If prayer is a communication between the creature and the Creator, which it is, Christ’s total self-giving of His humanity to God on the cross was the most perfect communication possible. It was a conversation, indeed, but a conversation not so much in words as in deeds; in fact, in the unspeakable deed of God assuming human flesh so that as man He might surrender that flesh back to God.
Faith tells us that Christ continues doing the same in every Mass. He can no longer suffer or die because He is glorified, but He can be ready to suffer and willing to die and this readiness and willingness, we believe, is what happens the moment the two Consecrations separately take place to symbolize the separation of Christ’s body and blood that brought on His death on Calvary.
However, that is not all there is to the Mass. If it were, then the Mass would be only Christ’s prayer and not also ours. Whereas, it is emphatically our Mass too, and therefore our prayer as well as His." - Father John A. Hardon, S.J., The Real Presence
DAY 7: Secular Holiday Prayer - Happy Labor Day!
One thing we'll talk about this month is that it doesn't take a special occasion to reach out to the Lord. (He is with you at all times, big and small!) However, it is certainly a wonderful thing to recognize and speak to God in joyful moments like holidays, even if they are not labeled as "religious" or formally affiliated with the Church.
So today, the national holiday of Labor Day and a day off for many, we send positivity out to our neighbors and gratitude up to our Father. A special thanks to all of you hard workers out there, and a special prayer of hope for all who are seeking employment. May God bless you and keep you safe as you labor for the benefit of your families and communities. Every loving effort and sacrifice you make for another echoes Christ and glorifies God!
Image found at santasophia-.-org. Original photo copyright 1932 by Charles C. Ebbets
DAY 8: Intercession
In Father Matt's homily from St. Mary Church this past weekend, he mentions the type of prayer known as intercession. In these prayers, we ask God for the things that we need. This is good for two reasons: we are communicating with Him (the source of our blessings) AND He (our loving Father who cares for us) really does want to provide us with the things we truly need.
BUT, this is not just a "business relationship" where we ask, receive, and move on. As Father Matt says, "The type of relationship that God wants with us is a deep, personal, loving, intimate relationship that goes to the heart of who we are." Prayer is the surge of the heart that we need to build that relationship.
Watch the gospel reading and Father Matt's full homily here. We're sure you'll get a laugh and some inspiration for your conversations with our Lord...
This week, let us remember to:
1 - Pray spontaneously with other people, especially in their time of need.
2 - Be not afraid to ask people for prayer.
For... "If two of you agree on Earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my Heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." MT 18:19-20 https://bible.usccb.org/bible/matthew/18
DAY 9: Profession of Faith
All of us who attend or stream mass on a regular basis should be very well-versed in today's prayer, the Nicene Creed.
This prayer and the profession of our faith is said before the Prayers of the Faithful in each celebration of the Eucharist. It is a time when we summarize all that we believe in as Catholic Christians. Let us watch Father Bart in this video and pray the words together today...
As with the Sign of the Cross, we mention all three persons of the Trinity, starting with God the Father. Then we proclaim our belief in His Son Jesus, who went through his passion for us. After, we state the words we mentioned when praying to the Holy Spirit last weekend, proclaiming him as the giver of life who has spoken through prophets. Finally, we solidify our commitment to the Catholic Church, highlighting the sacrament of Baptism and the forgiveness of our sins.
When you stop to think about each line, this is important for us to say to our Lord, to our community, and in unison with our brothers and sisters in faith.
DAY 10: TBT - Intercession
Okay, so it's a short Throwback Thursday... BUT - it falls perfectly in line with our Tuesday post about intercession AND the sequence of the mass. Today's topic is the General Intercessions AKA Universal Prayer AKA Prayers of the Faithful.
As mentioned yesterday, these are said after the Nicene Creed during the Catholic mass. This is on purpose. We have just unified ourselves by professing our faith, and now - as the collective body of Christ - we ask our Lord to hear the pleas of the people. Our lector will get up and state our prayer intentions before God, prompting the community to ask for God to hear us. "We pray to the Lord." "Lord hear our prayer."
Have you ever noticed that there is normally an order to the prayers that we pray at this time? According to the Roman Missal, let's bring this part of the mass into our life today and pray for the following together:
1- "For the needs of the Church" For our Pope, Bishop, Priests, Deacons, Sisters, and Seminarians - we pray to the Lord. Lord hear our prayer.
2- "For public authorities and the salvation of the whole world" For people in power to have compassion on those who they lead and promote love and dignity for all - we pray to the Lord. Lord hear our prayer.
3- "For those burdened by any kind of difficulty" For those in most need of the Lord's mercy: those suffering physically, emotionally, spiritually - we pray to the Lord. Lord hear our prayer.
4- "For the local community" For our friends and neighbors, for small businesses, for those affected by COVID, for students and families returning to school or offices - we pray to the Lord. Lord hear our prayer. And finally, let's add a prayer for the parishioners of St. Mary and St. Michael. For each of our personal intentions, spoken or unspoken - we pray to the Lord. Lord hear our prayer.
Anything specific you'd like us to pray for? CLICK HERE
DAY 11: The Fatima Prayer
Commonly called the O My Jesus, today's prayer is a little prequel for tomorrow! The following words were revealed by the Virgin Mary to 3 children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917... let's pray them together:
“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.”
Also known as the Decade Prayer, this is since spoken before each mystery in the Rosary.
Did you know that there were 5 prayers revealed to the children at Fatima? Some were revealed by Mary, others an angel. They have been called:
The Fatima Prayer
The Pardon Prayer
The Angel's Prayer
The Eucharistic Prayer
The Sacrifice Prayer
To read more and see the words of all five prayers from Fatima, CLICK HERE.
DAY 12: Impromptu Prayer - from a special Friend!
"Continue to worship and grow in your own understanding of what it means to be close to God, to be intimate with Jesus."
Today's prayer came about in a similar way to what Father Matt encouraged in last week's homily: it was spontaneous! The start of the conversation was just about as simple as "Hey Father Marc. Would you like to say a prayer for the St. Mary and St. Michael parishioners?" "Yes, I would." Off the top of his mind, straight out of his heart, not rehearsed, informal but intimate, Father Marc spoke to God on our behalf.
Let's take time today to pay this love forward and pray for an old or new friend of our own. It'll only take a minute. And feel free to just speak off the top of your head. Any words will do when talking to God, for He knows the love in your heart.
DAY 13: Eucharistic Prayer and Spiritual Communion
Although many Catholics find the most inspiration from and pay the most attention to the teaching/preaching moments at mass (easy to do with great homilies from Fr. Matt, Fr. Bart, and Dcn. Eric!), we should not zone out or ignore the rituals of the mass. This is one of the most important times to be focused on Jesus and offer your prayers with those at the altar. It is also a perfect time, whether receiving the Eucharist or not, to open your heart for spiritual communion with Christ.
Act of Spiritual Communion
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there
and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Hear more about Eucharistic Prayer, Communion, and their meanings in this video from the YouTube Breaking in the Habit series.
DAY 14: The Crucifix and Holy Cross
Today marks the Feast of the Exaltation of the True Cross.
"The universal symbol of the Christian faith, the cross represents Christ’s victory over death. The feast celebrates the redemptive transformation of a barbaric instrument of torture into a divine “tree of life” that brings hope to humankind. In some traditions, a cross is oriented to the cardinal directions to represent the universal nature of Christ’s sacrifice and prayers are said for the salvation of all.
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross also commemorates the discovery of the True Cross. Legend holds that the relic was found by St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land about 326. The Chapel of St. Helena inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built by the Crusaders in her honour, and below it lies the Chapel of the Finding of the True Cross, in which the cross of Christ’s crucifixion was reportedly discovered." Source: Britannica
And so, to recognize the Holy Cross itself, let's offer up two prayers today...
The first prayer includes the desire for true contrition for sins. Contrition was also mentioned in Father Matt's homily yesterday (coming to Facebook tomorrow!). This is the Prayer Before the Crucifix:
"Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus while before Your face I humbly kneel and, with burning soul, pray and beseech You to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope, and charity; true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment.
While I contemplate, with great love and tender pity, Your five most precious wounds, pondering over them within me and calling to mind the words which David, Your prophet, said to You, my Jesus:
“They have pierced My hands and My feet, they have numbered all My bones.”
The second prayer is a short and simple one which we can recall from the Stations of the Cross.
"We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world."
Let's pray together today, keeping in mind that this journey we take up the hill with Christ turns our crosses into victory!
DAY 15: Contrition
FORE! In Sunday's homily, Fr. Matt shared a bit about his "sinful" golf game and how he started his most recent round by asking his fellow players for patience. However, as it happened for the servant in Sunday's Gospel, the tables turned...
Watch the video to hear the full story and inspiring words on God's mercy, how we should show mercy to others, and the type of prayer known as contrition.
"Contrition is when we express sorrow for our sins and when we ask for patience from God to deal with them. Now, contrition is much more than beating ourselves up for our past sins and mistakes... The point of contrition is to move us to a change of heart."
Today, let's enjoy Fr. Matt's homily again, then open ourselves up to the mercy of God. He is there for us and He is patient with us. And He doesn't expect absolute perfection. He's not counting on us to get a hole-in-one. Let's simply turn to Him and strive for our next shot to be better than the last.
One way to do this is to make an Act of Contrition, as we do during the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Let's pray together today:
"My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy."
Praying the Rosary is a wonderful way to slow down your busy day, find some peace, and offer up powerful words which focus on an intimate relationship with God, the mysteries of our faith, learning about the life of Jesus, and acknowledging the holy example of Mary. This collection of prayers can fuel our desire to overcome the challenges of this world to rise to the eternal paradise of heaven.
Let's pray the Rosary together this week. Even just one decade is a great place to start! If you'd like an easy-to-follow guide, download this super helpful "How to Pray the Rosary" PDF at the Rosary Coast to Coast website: rosarycoasttocoast.com/the-rosary/
According to the USCCB:
"The Rosary is a Scripture-based prayer. It begins with the Apostles' Creed, which summarizes the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. The Our Father, which introduces each mystery, is from the Gospels. The first part of the Hail Mary is the angel's words announcing Christ's birth and Elizabeth's greeting to Mary. St. Pius V officially added the second part of the Hail Mary. The Mysteries of the Rosary center on the events of Christ's life. There are four sets of Mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and––added by Saint John Paul II in 2002––the Luminous.
The prayers of the Rosary
The repetition in the Rosary is meant to lead one into restful and contemplative prayer related to each Mystery. The gentle repetition of the words helps us to enter into the silence of our hearts, where Christ's spirit dwells. The Rosary can be said privately or with a group.
The Five Joyful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Mondays, Saturdays, and, during the season of Advent, on Sundays:
The Presentation in the Temple
The Finding in the Temple
The Five Sorrowful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Tuesdays, Fridays, and, during the season of Lent, on Sundays:
The Agony in the Garden
The Scourging at the Pillar
The Crowning with Thorns
The Carrying of the Cross
The Crucifixion and Death
The Five Glorious Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Wednesdays and, outside the seasons of Advent and Lent, on Sundays:
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
The Coronation of Mary
In this video, our Religious Ed Coordinator for St. Michael, Susan Breton, puts on her chef gloves and teaches us how to make a Fruit Rosary. This healthy and tasty treat is an exciting way to pray - a prayer craft!
Whether you're using food, art supplies, or music (more special videos coming next week!), God delights in our creativity. Apply that to praise and prayer, and you've got a fun way to practice your faith. :)
So, grab your:
Wooden Skewer/Kabob Stick
Watermelon (cut into a cross)
or Blueberries or other fruit that's easy to cut and count!
(OR if you're feeling extra sweet for Jesus, you can even swap in gumdrops, marshmallows, pretzel sticks, brownie crosses... YUM!)
This "sacred" snack is really simple and a great activity for getting the whole family involved in one of the most important Catholic prayer traditions. Bon appetit and God bless!
DAY 18: Family Prayer Time
This one isn't always easy...
Busy schedules, different communication styles, or even varying views on religion can be hurdles when families try to pray together. It is also understood that each family is different, so there's no set formula to make it work. However, it's important to remember that God will meet you where you are. And, it's okay to start small.
As mentioned in yesterday's post, just a single decade of the Rosary can get the ball rolling. Pausing to say a familiar prayer or saying grace together is also a good start. You don't even have to use traditional, formal prayers if that's not your style. Simple words like "Dear Lord, please help our family with..." or "Dear God, we saw you this week when... Thank you for blessing our family!" are good enough to get the conversation started. The key is finding YOUR family's style. In doing so, you can strengthen your connection with each other and with God.
Today, our Administrative Assistant and St. Michael parishioner, Jennifer Campbell, shares what works for her family.
What works for your family?
Family prayer adapted from the USCCB:
"We bless your name, O God,
for sending your own incarnate Son,
to become part of a family,
so that, as he lived his life,
he would experience its worries and its joys.
We ask you, Father,
to protect and watch over this family,
so that in the strength of your grace
its members may enjoy prosperity,
possess the priceless gift of your peace,
and, as the Church is alive in this home,
bear witness in this world to your glory.
We ask this thought Christ our Lord.
DAY 19: The Little Moments
It is important to look for God to reveal Himself in the simple times of your life. It is also important to make an effort to keep God in those simple times. This helps to nurture your relationship with Him, and ultimately makes it more likely that you will turn to Him in the not-so-simple times.
During this pandemic, did you ever think to increase your prayer time by counting off 20 seconds of hand washing with an Our Father and a Hail Mary?
Did you ever count out reps in your workout to decades of the Rosary?
Have you asked God for safe travels when starting your car for a long road trip? Or even your short commute to the office?
Have you thanked God or prayed for those less fortunate when stocking the fridge after a trip to the grocery store?
Did you really mean what you said the last time that someone sneezed?
Let's take time together today to think about moments that we do, could, or should mention the name of God in our everyday life. Let's thank Jesus for his perfection and love through our imperfection. Let's honor good examples, like Mary, like the saints. Let's keep our eyes open for blessings in our life. Let's love ourselves as God does. Let's share the joy in our hearts with others in small ways. It can make a big difference!
FOR FUN - Some history on the sneeze!
From The Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine
Department of Neurology, Sackler School, Tel Aviv
On the mystical aura of the sneeze and its historic affiliation with the spirit: "Its ominous threat located the sneeze as being close to evil. The negative aspect of the sneeze gained strong momentum by the Bubonic Plague which afflicted Rome in the period 590-610. In this epidemic, people suddenly died while sneezing. The need to prevent it led to the custom of calling out 'deus te adjuvet' to someone who sneezed, thereby displaying signs of affliction. Pope Pelagius II died
in this epidemic while sneezing. From this period on, the blessing attached to the sneeze became imperative.' Pope Gregory VII enjoined his people to say, 'may God bless you'..."
So next time you salute someone (even a stranger) who sneezes, make an effort to truly wish them health, prosperity, and blessings from God!
DAY 20: Music
Are you still humming tunes from mass today?
Do you recognize any of these quotes about musical praise?
"Sing to the Lord a new song..."
"All creatures of our God and King, lift up your voice and let us sing..."
"Make a joyful noise..."
"Praise him with tambourine and dance..."
Today, Music Director extraordinaire, John Kelly, shares with us how we can speak to the Lord through song.
There are many a tune that the St. Mary and St. Michael parishioner is familiar with which sources from the Bible itself, adapts a familiar Psalm into verse, and acts as prayer for our community to sing or play in unison. Like all forms of art, music is a way to bring deep emotions and heartfelt messages out to be shared with the world. Our bodies become instruments which echo the blessings we've been given. Let's join together in song today and share the love of God!
In yesterday's gospel, we hear about servants who get caught up in jealousy and judgment. It's a classic tale that transcends age and the Ages. Children and adults alike, from the beginning of time, have been distracted from their own blessings by a "grass is greener on the other side" mentality.
In his homily from St. Mary, Father Matt explores how a sense of justice can be a wonderful thing when pursuing the mission of setting things right in the world. However, we sometimes get caught up worrying about what we don't have, rather than being grateful for what we do.
"God calls us friend... everything we have is a gift from Him, even our life - our existence... family, talents, possessions..."
Let's listen to our pastor's words together, then take some time to pray in thanksgiving today. Let's not scrutinize others, but look for the goodness in our own lives. It will inspire us to respond with love for our Lord and to go spread many [onions] for those in need.
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Ps. 100:4-5
DAY 22: Prayer for Creation
Happy First Day of Autumn!
In Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si, he addresses "every person living on this planet" for an inclusive dialogue about how we can appreciate and care for all of God's creation. This is written with both hope and resolve, looking to our common future with candor and humility. Feel free to follow the example of His Holiness, take a moment today to look around at the changing leaves and feel the fresh breeze, knowing that this was all given to us with love.
Let us watch Father Matt praying for us all as he enjoys nature, then -next time you look out the window, step outside, or go for a hike- join in prayer for our world. Let this new season of Fall be the time when we rise to better communication with God and an appreciation for the beautiful Earth he blesses us with!
God of all creation,
How splendid and majestic is the world you created!
It reveals your glory; it teaches us about you.
When you made us in your image,
you gave us this command:
care for the world and for all the creatures in it,
for this is our common home.
Yet your holy creation cries out,
for our home is “burdened and laid waste,”
scorched and scarred.1
Come among us
that we might remember our interdependence.
Let us see the face of your Son in those who suffer
from the destruction of our common home.
Help us to be stewards
who honor you in the world you have made
for the good of all creation
and for future generations.
Like all things that you want to excel at, one of the best ways to make prayer a positive part of your life is practice. Now, you don't need to formally "practice" talking to God (He always hears you, with or without words and welcomes you all the time!) but if you're seeking regular communication with Him, you might want to form a reliable habit in your life.
This idea also works with a family or larger community! Take the St. Mary + St. Michael staff, for example. One ritual that we have for prayer is to join together and recite The Angelus at around noon every day. Whether there are two or twenty of us in the office, we'll make the effort to safely gather at this time.
We invite you to pray along with us today. It is a beautiful prayer citing the noble example of Mary, saying "yes" to God when he sent the angel Gabriel with news that she would be blessed to be the mother of Jesus. We pray that we may say the same "yes" and be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Then, maybe take some time to find a prayer practice that works in your life... it's never too little or too late to communicate with the God who loves you!
DAY 24: Divine Mercy TBT
This post is a Throwback Thursday to our Middle School Retreat on MERCY from a few weeks back...
During that time, the youth got to explore the mercy that we receive from God, through Christ.
DAY 25: Prayer in the Palm of Your Hand - Digital Tools
God is everywhere and in all things, even in the phone in your hand! What if we made that phone more than "smart"... what if we made it "holy"...
Let's be honest - we carry these things with us everywhere. And if we can use our phone (or tablet, or laptop) to learn about our favorite athletes, follow along with news, watch funny videos, read recipes, and communicate with our friends, we can use it in pursuit of holiness, as well. Learn about your favorite saint. Follow along with the readings at mass. Watch funny videos - (religious people have a sense of humor, too!). Read reflections. Listen to Christian music. Communicate with God! The Lord has blessed us with the intelligence to create incredible technology... let's take an opportunity to glorify Him with it!
Today, one of our incredible Youth Ministers, Becca Liguori, shares a few words on how digital media can actually be a utility for peace, prayer, and praise in a busy world...
"Life as a mom, wife, and full time youth minister can become chaotic and noisy. Prayer time is an essential part of my day and I have found great tools online to assist me with that.
I do so much on my phone already, why wouldn't I have the most important thing on there as well?!
I have the daily readings come straight to my email from www.usccb.org and I also use a great app called Hallow. One thing I love about Hallow is that there is an option in the app for meditative prayer. Moments for silence and contemplation are few and far between, so to have time set aside to do that and an app to guide me works really well!
There are so many great tools out there to help us maintain a great prayer life! What online tools might work for you?"
Then, take some time to call God with intercession, contrition, thanksgiving, or adoration. HE WILL ALWAYS ANSWER!
DAY 26: Prayers for Healing
"We are the caregivers, YOU are the CURE-giver..."
Today, our beloved Parish Nurse, Karen Schalitz, offers up prayers of thanksgiving and intercessions on behalf of all members of our Newmarket and Exeter communities, especially those who are ill. Knowing how precious the gifts of life and health are, let us acknowledge those who are suffering today. May they be healed in some way - physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually - and may God bless those who care for others.
Together, we can follow along with Karen as she begins with the Prayer During a Pandemic here:
"Loving God, Holy One,
Your desire is for our wholeness and well-being.
We hold in tenderness and prayer the collective suffering of our world at this time.
We grieve precious lives lost and vulnerable lives threatened.
We ache for ourselves and our neighbors, standing before an uncertain future.
We pray: May love, not fear, go viral.
Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely, aligned with the common good.
Help us to practice social distancing and reveal to us new and creative ways
to come together in spirit and in solidarity.
Call us to profound trust in your faithful presence,
You, the God who does not abandon, You, the Holy One,
breathing within us,
breathing among us,
breathing around us
in our beautiful yet wounded world."
- Sisters of IHM, Scranton, Pennsylvania
DAY 27: Pray Everywhere (Event was held on 9/27/20)
"Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me."
Let's add a line!
"If I drive my car to a church driveway in Exeter or Newmarket, I know you're there with me too, Lord."
DRIVE-THRU PRAYER TODAY
St. Mary 1-3 or St. Michael 4-6
As we talked about in our post about praying using technology (like Bible apps on your phone): GOD IS EVERYWHERE AND IN ALL THINGS. His love knows no boundaries and He hears you wherever and whenever you want to speak to Him.
In this month of prayer, we also acknowledge the scripture from Matthew: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Even beside your car!)
Today, Father Matt is offering to pray with you in-person, safely and easily. Just drive on over to St. Mary or St. Michael this afternoon and he'll be there (socially distanced) to "take your order" for intentions.
We hope this unique opportunity helps you feel comfortable praying with our pastor, whether you've returned to mass yet or not. All are welcome and we look forward to seeing you all there!
DAY 28: Praise AKA "I Love You, Father"
In this homily for the history books (or at least FROM the history books), Father Matt touches on the Broadway show Hamilton and our founding fathers, the father and sons in the gospel, the tales of a few local families, and God as our Father in Heaven.
In the latter, our living relationship with our Lord, we are called to see His works of unending love for us. Sometimes this gets skewed by our own perspective of the events and challenges that we face, but ultimately - despite our worldly wounds and imperfect human relationships - we are His sons and daughters and all we have is from Him. In response, we offer the type of prayer known as praise.
Let's watch Father Matt's homily from St. Michael yesterday and join together as children of God, adopted as brothers and sisters through Christ. Let's speak, sing, or simply think about the relationship we each have with Him. Let's offer Him praise today. For, like the characters in Hamilton, our Father sings a song of blessing upon each of us today and every day!
"You tell me that you're pleased and I'm never alone...
You're a good good Father. It's who you are.
And I'm loved by you. It's who I am.
You're perfect in all of your ways!"
Today, Becca and Chris give a nod to the kids they've met in Youth Ministry over the years who have found new ways to relate to our Lord.
As long as we have love and respect in our hearts, the prayers we make to praise, thank, and communicate with our God can take all different forms. That's what this month of prayer has been about. Finding new and exciting options that connect you in a personal, unique, and genuine relationship with the Father, through Jesus the Son, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Once that connection is made, He becomes an integral part of your life and you can encounter Him in all you do.
So, enjoy this quick cas... uh casz... ummm... (how do you spell that?) casual video and then reach out to God in your own way.
HE IS ALWAYS LISTENING AND LOVING YOU!
DAY 30: Grateful for the Past, Hopeful for the Future
Thank you to everyone who participated in our month of prayer!
It has been a beautiful time of reflection and communication with our Lord, building our own personal relationships with Him in so many ways. Remember: Your connection with God is unique and intimate and He loves you as you are! Feel free to talk to Him as a father, as a friend, with love and respect, in praise and thanksgiving... look back on our posts or invent your own method for connecting with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit... there's no wrong way to pray!
To wrap up this spectacular September, Father Matt offers us a prayer for the future today and invites us to a Month of Encounter in October. Let us go forward together, rejoicing in the victory of Christ and seeing our living God present in each of our days through grace and the Holy Spirit.
We continue to pray for you and look forward to sharing more soon! God bless!
St Mary Church.NH
182 Main St.
PO Box 337
Newmarket, New Hampshire 03857