“starring” the prayers of others

24 Jul

Before we left on pilgrimage we gathered prayer petitions from parishioners, families, students, friends, co-workers and classmates. Yes, I said “classmates.” One of our pilgrims is a student in the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program of our Archdiocese. From her classmates she collected a huge stack of prayers, many of which were written in Vietnamese.

Mary Jo, a teacher at our SASEAS School, and her daughter Bridget, just weeks away from her wedding, cut and pasted all the prayers on heavy paper and created a real work of art.

All the prayers were folded into a book that was easy to pack and carry.

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The book opened up into a star shape that could rest right on the corner of the altar whenever we prayed.

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Cathy, the lay ministry student, kept the prayers with her at all times. Here she touches the prayers to the rock of Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, joining the cries of many to the cry of Jesus to his Father.

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The prayers rested during Mass on the altar over the stone of the holy (and empty) tomb of Jesus.

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The prayers were with us as we celebrated Mass with the local Christians in the olive grove of the Cremisan Valley near Beit Jala (Bethlehem).

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On the Sea of Galilee we celebrated Mass at an outdoor altar on the edge of the water near the home of Peter and Andrew in Capernaeum. We opened up the prayers to God there as well.

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And the prayers were with us for the last time at Mass on the Mount of Beatitudes.

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We left all the prayers that we brought with the Sisters who live in the convent on the Mount of Beatitudes. Cathy and I were just starting to explain to one of the Sisters what we wanted to do, when she scooped them out of Cathy’s hands, “Tell the people that the Sisters will continue to pray for their intentions.” Sister knew what we wanted – and what our parishioners, families, students, friends, co-workers and classmates wanted.









2 Responses to ““starring” the prayers of others”

  1. Cathy O'Toole July 24, 2014 at 7:48 am #

    Somehow when you write your inner most thoughts on paper and then place them on altars throughout Christ’s homeland, these simple petitions and prayers of thanksgiving seem more meaningful, more important. These prayers, scribed in multiple languages from many, many people take on a new meaning. These are the prayers of a universal community, even though most of these people will likely never meet on earth.

    I can’t help but think that God will embrace these prayers with a love that only He can share. It was an honor for me to be the keeper of these prayers, to share with those on the Pligrimage, as well as those who were with us in spirit and finally with the nuns at the Mount of Beatitudes who so enthusiastically continue these prayers long after we left the Holy Land.

    Now that I am back in the US and know that people in the Holy Land continue to pray for us, I will continue to pray for each of them so that they can live in Peace and Security in the Land of our God.


  1. “starring” the prayers of others | HOPE voices - July 24, 2014

    […] Click here: “starring” the prayers of others | With Open Doors […]

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