Prayer and Other Resources

Archbishop Malcolm invites us to pray this prayer with him as we journey together through Lent to the Light of Easter:

God Our Father,
each person is precious to You.
You are the Giver of life.
Have mercy on us and protect us at this time, as the coronavirus threatens health and life.
You are an ever-present Helper in time of trouble.
Watch over those who are suffering, give strength to those who are aiding the sick and give courage
to all in this time of anxiety.
We ask this of you in the name of your Son.
Jesus Christ.
Amen

Prayer ideas for when Mass cannot be celebrated publicly

Prayers of Spiritual Communion

Reflecting on the fourth Sunday Lent

Reflecting on the fifth Sunday Lent

Stations of the Cross during COVD19

Find a comfortable place to sit

Light a candle

Put on some quiet music if you find it helpful

Still your mind and your heart

Take time to pray through each station

You might just want to do one or two a day

Jesus was captured at night, taken away by soldiers, stripped of his garments, interrogated, tortured, crowned with sharp thorns and handed over to be condemned to death by Pontius Pilate.


Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world


We continue to blame and condemn people unjustly. In these days it is easy to blame the country where COVD19 originated and its’ people, government because of their action and inaction. We also blame people because of the colour of their skin, their gender, their sexuality, their beliefs, because they are born with a disability, because they don’t conform to our way of thinking, the list is endless.

Take a moment to call to mind an individual or a group who you know feel condemned and pray for them

Jesus was led away carrying the cross by himself. A cross is not just a piece of wood. It is everything that makes life difficult.

Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

There are burdens that we all carry, some are very obvious and others we take great care to hide. As a world community we carry the burden of COVD19. There are the burdens of other illnesses, pain and disability, of old age, dependence, and caring for someone who no longer knows who we are.

Take a moment to call to mind a group or individual who are carrying burdens at this time and pray for them

Jesus falls but struggles to his feet again and carries on the long road to Calvary.

Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

Like the crowd, we often have only condemnation and rejection for those around us. We judge them without knowing about their trials. In these days are we aware of those we judge and condemn because of their actions in the COVD19 crisis.

Take a moment to call to mind anyone that you have judged or condemned and pray for them

When Jesus and his mother meet, they just look at each other.

Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

We see the pain in the mothers and fathers who watch their children suffering from COVD19 or in those giving up their life to drugs, addictions and suicide,. We see pain in the child coping with the breakdown of a parent’s marriage, in the couple trying desperately to rebuild their relationship and family anew. We see pain in the children of those watching and hoping as their parents fade away before them.

Take a moment to call to mind anyone in tragic family circumstances and pray for them

Simon the Cyrene, a stranger in the city, did not know Jesus. But that did not matter. He was going to have to help anyway and it no doubt cost him to walk the Jesus way.

Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

Across our world we see human suffering in the faces of strangers, particularly in the anguish of those dealing with COVD19, in the faces of those struggling for democracy, in the faces of those dealing with the loss of life and destruction of property. People we know of, but do not know, must live with the aftermath of the ravages and destructive forces of nature – coping with floods and drought, with the devastating effects of climate change.

Take a moment to call to mind someone you know who is suffering at this time and ask yourself whether or not you are willing to help?

Veronica was so moved by the sight of Jesus suffering that she courageously moved out from the crowd to wipe the blood and sweat from his face with a towel.

Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

Today the visible face of Christ, the Church, stands before us still wounded and disfigured; individuals suffering in so many ways not least in the current pandemic, but also disfigured by its own sins of power, abuse of children weighed down with the wounds of hurt and betrayal.
Take a moment to call to mind your own Church community and take a few moments to pray for them

Stretched to breaking point by his scourging, bowed under the weight of the cross, Jesus falls again

Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

All around us people are overburdened by the crosses they carry; they struggle and sometimes fall. There are those at this time who have lost their jobs and feel that they have little hope of finding another, and those who struggle desperately to keep others in work. There are those who suffer because of failures in our financial, health and political systems.

Take a moment to call to mind those you know or who have heard of at this time and pray for them

The women of Jerusalem wept when they saw how Jesus suffered.

Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

Weep for those who have COVD19
Weep for the doctors and nurses and those on the frontline who struggle
Weep for the children who are abused.
Weep for the women who are victimised.
Weep for the old who are forgotten.
Weep for people who starve in the shadow of abundance.
Weep for people who are homeless, in exile or seeking refuge.

Take a moment to call to mind a group or individual who are struggling at this time, weep for them and pray for them

Jesus falls for a third time, broken and exhausted physically and emotionally.

Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

Many in our world today feel that they are at that moment of final falling, that the burden of COVD 19 is too great to bear. Think of Italy and Spain and China as well as our own country and the medics who work so hard. Think of those who are sick and some dying

Take a moment to call to mind a group or individual are broken and exhausted and pray for them

As the clothes were ripped from Jesus, he was stripped of his dignity in front of an irreverent mob.

Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

Jesus continues to be stripped of his dignity today, in those who have to endure treatment for COVD19, some of whom are so ill, they don’t know where they are.

Take a moment to call to mind those hospital wards you have seen on TV full to bursting and pray for those in them.

Huge iron nails are hammered through his wrists and through his ankles.

Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

Jesus continues to be crucified in all those suffering in our world, in the effects of COVD19, in the ten children who die every minute of hunger, in all who are maimed, damaged and displaced because of war, in all who are marginalised in our society because of their race, sexuality or gender, in those who are abused physically, sexually or emotionally in those who are trafficked across the world and in the exploitation of the earth and its resources.

Take a moment to call to mind those you are aware of who are crucified each day by the lives they are living and pray for them.

As the life of Jesus ebbs away his words are not of condemnation or of pity for himself, but of forgiveness as he cries from the cross ‘Father forgive them for they do not know what they do.’

Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

There is much to seek forgiveness for in our world today, hunger, poverty, violence, abuse, war, neglect and corruption. Maybe in these times we could remember those who have stockpiled food out of panic but with little though of others.

Take a moment to call to mind a group or individual that needs forgiveness, maybe even yourself and take time to pray for them.

Mary takes the broken body of her Son in her arms.

Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

Mary’s grief is our grief too. She stands with all parents who have held their children close to them in death:

Those who have died in the pandemic sweeping the world
those lost through accidents or acts of violence,
those who have died by suicide,
those who died suddenly or after illness.
all those who grieve for loved ones

That night his body lay in the dark earth. All those who had loved him felt emptied and exhausted. There seemed no longer any sense or purpose in anything. They closed the tomb and left.

Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

There are times when we are overcome by the darkness of the tomb, by the countless deaths that we experience each day, but the answer to all our grieving and despair lies in this place.

The grain of wheat sown in darkness and in death has indeed yielded a rich harvest.

Take a moment to call to mind a group or individual who are placed in the tombs that life has created for them and pray for them

On Easter day the sun rose and so did the Christ, the eternal icon for humanity. Where he has gone, we will most surely follow

Response: We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

Good Friday is never the end of the story for us and for the world. Christ is risen. This pandemic is not the final full stop. Christ is risen. The pain and suffering in the world is never the end of the story and will never defeat the truth that Christ is risen.

Take a moment to thank God for the power of the resurrection even over COVD19. Call to mind anyone you know who needs resurrection in their lives and pray for them pray for them.

Five ways of sustaining faith in difficult times

Fr Chris Thomas

You know if we’re not praying people, in love with God and taking time each day to fall deeper in love with God then I don’t know what faith is about. For me prayer is to enable us to deepen our loving relationship with God through Christ.

Desire for God is at the heart of prayer and silence enables to God to meet that desire and to fulfil it. So I would encourage anyone to spend some time in silence each day.

If you watched the television programme the ‘The Big Silence’ narrated by Fr Christopher Jamieson you will have seen five people step back from their hectic lives and experience silence and all of them without exception had to face a difficult journey as they moved beyond themselves but it was a life-giving journey. It might be difficult to move beyond that which often fills our hearts and minds, ourselves, but it is the most extraordinary experience that become impossible to live without. So, take time each day to be still and to be silent and open your heart to God.

Silence restores us and brings us wellsprings of hope within that we never knew existed. It is the source of our power to bring unconditional love into the world we live in.

  • Light a candle.
  • Take time to breathe.
  • Use a sacred word to get you to a place of inner quiet.
  • Repeat your word gently as you need to focus your attention.

That challenge to reach out can be found throughout the Scriptures. Maybe we need to hear it now more than at any other time. The prophets are constantly inviting us to reflect on the call to be on the side of the little ones. Richard Rohr says ‘any experience of grace tells us that history is not about us. In fact, my own life is not about me.’ I think now more than any other time we have an opportunity to look out for our neighbours and to create what Pope Paul VI called a ‘society of sharing solidarity and love.’

What can we do? In these challenging times we can keep our eyes open for those who are isolated, lonely and need help. We can make sure our neighbours have enough shopping. We can phone people and encourage people. We can make sure that we only buy what we need and not more than that. We can pray for others constantly, particularly those who are struggling. We can pray that we move away from our own individualism where it’s me and my needs that matter to a place where we live for the common good and make decisions for the common good. We can focus our attention outwards rather than inwards and maybe we can change the world.

  • Take time each day to phone people you know.
  • Take time each day to pray for others and for yourself.
  • When shopping, look for what you need and not what you panic about.
  • Have care for those in complete isolation and see what they need.

Ronald Rolheiser says that the only heart that can transform the world is the grateful heart. Why? I think it is because the world does not understand gratitude. The grateful heart is the heart that knows the very reason for its existence lies in the love of another and the world does not any longer understand that we owe our very existence to another. Our gratitude can remind others of the presence of God. It maybe reminds others that only in God is peace and happiness to be found much needed in these troubled and difficult times.

What are we to be grateful for? Maybe it’s the gift of life, the gift of the world, the gift of energy, sexuality, people. There is so much to be thankful for if we take time to reflect on our lives. A spirit of gratitude is an alternative to all negativity. It’s an alternative to hatred and suspicion, judgement and condemnation. It’s not so much an emotion as a decision to view the world in a particular way. It’s to face the world with a heart that’s open rather than a heart which is suspicious or presumes badness rather than goodness. It’s a way of embracing the world rather than separating oneself from it.

In the grateful heart there is room for acceptance understanding compassion and love. It is those things that transform our beautiful broken world and the key to it all is gratitude.

  • When you wake, choose five things to be grateful for.
  • Spend a few moments thanking God for all you are given.
  • Cultivate gratitude each day for the food you eat.
  • Pray that God changes your heart to a grateful heart.

I think it would be true to say that for Jesus the two great commandments are inseparable. Love God and love your neighbour as yourself. We are called not just as individuals but as community. There is no room in Christianity for going it alone.

The Gospel invites us to recognise our need of the other, to know that real life comes from community. It’s about ‘us’ rather than ‘me’. We don’t walk the journey alone. It seems to me that the desire for community has been planted in our hearts by God and that it reflects the reality of who God is, a God who is one, a God who is in perfect relationship.

So, what about our parish communities in these difficult times when we can’t gather together? Are we no longer Church because we can’t celebrate the sacraments in our normal ways? Of course not, we are Church. We are community. We are one. Maybe these difficult times will help us recognise the gift of one another.

  • Take time each day to pray for your community.
  • Contact people by phone, text, email just to say ‘hello’.
  • Gather people on your computer if you can, and have a time of prayer.
  • If you are able, call into the church when it’s open and spend time in prayer.

Each of us is called to be real, loving and honouring our lives and our humanity. I think one of our tasks as church is to help nourish and protect the goodness of humanity in a world that’s often hostile to us. We are to offer the world the real wisdom that can be found in Jesus and in his way. The wisdom of Christian spirituality is that it does offer a human life that is rich, vibrant and fulfilling and a foretaste of all that is to come.

Our human nature is holy, in many ways damaged and broken but holy none the less. Incarnation tells us that we must take our humanity seriously and any form of spirituality that makes us reject the reality of who we are is not ever going to satisfy our desire for God. We, in our humanity, reflect the nature of God. The greatest witness we can give to the Gospel is to be really human and alive.

What does that mean in these times of coronavirus? Maybe it means praying that everyone is aware of their own dignity and the wonder of humanity. Maybe it means reminding ourselves that God isn’t angry with the world but weeps with us at this time. Perhaps it is about reminding us that we all are the pinnacle of God’s creation.

  • Take time each day to remind yourself that you matter.
  • Take time to remind others how precious they are.
  • Thank God for the gift of being human and alive.