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Prayer Service with Children/Catechists/Parents at the Beginning of the Catechetical Year
Prayer Service with Catechist at the Start of the Catechetical Year
Prayer Service Advent
Prayer Service End of Catechetical Year—Theme: Growing into Christ
Lenten Prayer Service—Theme: The Fast God Desires
Prayer Service for Natural Disaster—Theme: God Consoles and Believers Respond
Prayer Service Serious Illness Child


Prayer Service Advent

Welcome and Introduction
During the Advent season, we remember the coming of Jesus at the time of his birth at Christmas. The four weeks of Advent are time when we try to prepare our hearts for Jesus coming again and again. Jesus wants to be with us always. We need to open our minds and hearts and welcome him. As we pray together let us remember to be ready for Jesus coming – alert, anxious, excited, prepared.

Let us begin our prayer as we were baptized.
All: Pray the Sign of the Cross

Gathering Hymn: Awake, O Sleeper Mike Balhoff, Gary Daigle, Darryl Ducote
New Dawn Music/OCP

Gospel
Invite all to stand and bless themselves in preparation for the reading of the Gospel:
+ Cross the forehead – pray that our minds be open to hear God’s word
+ Cross the lips – pray that our lips speak the message of the Gospel
+ Cross the heart – pray that we will hold the message of the Gospel close to our heart for all our lives.

A reading from the Gospel of Luke: Luke 12:35-38

Review and Reflection: ideas for the prayer leader
Review: Master is returning to his household, however no one knows the expected time of his arrival. There are some who wait for his return smartly – that is they are dressed for action, have their lamps lighted and they stay alert.

Reflection: Suppose you have invited a friend to come and stay at your house overnight. What kind of things do you do to get ready for your friends arrival? (plan entertainment, snacks, games, etc) You know that he/she will be arriving after supper. You are very excited about his/her arrival. What are you thinking and doing as the time for your friend’s Arrival gets closer? (looking out the window, turning on the front light, finishing organizing the fun and games).

Jesus is the Master who is planning to come but we don’t know when. The reading suggests that we too should be prepared – ready for action, alert. Jesus came at his birth to live among us. Jesus wants to be with us always as our friend and helper. Are we watching for his arrival? Are we alert? Let’s be ready for Jesus’ coming – everyday, every hour.

General Intercessions:
Response: Lord Jesus come into our lives.

When we are busy with many activities…

When we are worried about our friends and family members…

When we forget to pray to you…

When the world needs peace…

When our hearts are sad …

When we fail to do good for others….

When we are unkind in our words or actions…

When we need the strength of your word…

Group Prayer: The Magnificat from Luke 1:46-55
Jesus mother Mary is our best example of someone who was ready and waiting for God to come into her life. She welcomed God’s good news and said “yes” when God asked her to be Jesus’ mother. Mary said this prayer of rejoicing after God chose her. Let us say her prayer together.

All: My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoice in God my Savior
For he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
For the mighty one has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones.
And lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things
And sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
In remembrance of his mercy,
According to the promise he made to our ancestors,
To Abraham and his descendants forever.

Blessing: May Almighty God bless us all, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
All: Amen

Hymn: I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light, Kathleen Thomerson, ©1987 GIA
We Shall Rise Again Gather, Jeremy Young, ©1987 GIA


Prayer Service End of Catechetical Year—Theme: Growing into Christ

Welcome and Introduction
We have all spent the last several months learning more about Jesus and his message about how we are to live our lives. Many people have helped us along the way and we are grateful to them for being so generous with their time and energy for sharing the faith. Join me in a prayer of thanksgiving. Let us also pray for ourselves, that we choose to continue to grow into Christ, holding on to what we have learned and opening our hearts to know even more.

Let us begin our prayer as we were baptized.
All: Pray the Sign of the Cross

Gathering Hymn: I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light, Kathleen Thomerson, ©1987 GIA

First Reading: Ephesians 4:11-13

Gospel Acclamation: Halle, Halle, Halle, music: traditional Caribbean, Marty Haugen, ©1993 GIA
Gospel: Mark 4:30-32 Mustard Seed

Reflection: Small seeds – spectacular results
Set up a display of seeds and their fruit such as: tomato seed –bowl of ripe tomatoes; daisy seed – daisy bouquet; mustard seed – mustard plant or glass jar of mustard.

Ask if anyone has ever had a garden or planted some seed. Let students share stories making connections with each response. Ask what is the first thing we do if we want to grow something?

When seeds are first planted we water and WAIT! Some seeds take a few days to emerge from the ground, others can take weeks. Water and sunshine are essential foods for growth. How is this like the little bit of learning you have done this year? (Responses will vary.)

Next the plant flourishes. We water, weed and WAIT for it to get some blooms. More sun and some plant foods encourage the plant to grow. Then we see the buds and in a few days the blooms and we know we are going to have tomatoes or daisies before long.

Students could be asked to share some things they have learned this year – a saying of Jesus, miracle story, a parable or a belief they have about Jesus from what they have learned. The little bit you have learned will settle in your mind and heart and grow in the years ahead. It may be a small seed of belief right now, but it could be big and it could overtake you and change how you live your life.

How can you keep growing in your knowledge and friendship with Jesus? What do you need to encourage your growth as a follower of Jesus? (Responses will vary.)

Conclusion: I want my faith in Jesus to grow and I want to follow in the way Jesus has taught. I plan to do some things during the summer months to keep my faith alive and growing. Maybe I’ll pray on my own every day, maybe I’ll read a Bible story once a week. If I want my faith to grow, I need to do something to help it happens. What can you do over the summer? (Let children respond.)

Ask your parents to read you a Bible story, be a better friend to kids in the neighborhood, do something to help at home everyday. These things will keep you growing into Jesus! Keep growing become a spectacular example of a follower of Jesus!

Prayers of the Faithful
Response: Lord hear our prayer

For children and young people who have not had the opportunity to learn about Jesus and the Christian way of life, that teachers will be sent to them soon. We pray to the Lord.

In thanksgiving for the teachers who have shared their love for Jesus with us this year, that they will have a happy summer knowing they have done good work. We pray to the Lord.

For open minds to accept the teachings of Jesus that come to us from family, friends, and teachers, help us to welcome the words of Jesus and take them to heart. We pray to the Lord.

For prayerful hearts that think about Jesus’ message and try to understand what it tells us about living with others in peace and harmony. We pray to the Lord.

For our bishops, who are the leading teachers in our church, that they have wisdom and patience as they lead us in the way of Jesus. We pray to the Lord.

Lord’s Prayer: Let us join hands and pray for each other, that we will chose to grow more like Christ this summer…Our Father

A Summer Blessing
May you be blessed with an abundance of physical activity and good health.
All: Amen

May you be blessed with nourishing food, clean water and plenty of sleep to help you grow.
All: Amen

May you enjoy the presence of Jesus with you in play and work and be blessed with joy and peace.
All: Amen

May almighty God bless us all, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
All: Amen

Hymn: Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God, Karen Lafferty, © 1972 Maranatha! Music
Bring Forth the Kingdom, Marty Haugen, ©1986, GIA


Lenten Prayer Service—Theme: The Fast God Desires

Welcome and Introduction
Welcome. Today’s prayer calls us to live the true meaning of Lent by doing what God wants us to do. Our ideas for Lent may be great and just what’s needed. But it is always a good idea to know what it is God expects from us. Our readings from the Bible will help us know God’s wishes for His believers.

Let us begin our prayer as we were baptized.
All: Pray the Sign of the Cross

Gathering Hymn: They’ll Know We are Christians by our Love, Peter Scholtes, ©1991, Lorenz Corp

First Reading: Isaiah 58:6-9

Psalm: Ps. 85 Lord, Make Us Turn to You Gather, Marty Haugen, ©1982, GIA
Gathered assembly could be taught to sign the refrain using simple American Sign Language for the refrain.

Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Reflection on the Reading
Make some signs to hold up that reaffirm the important ideas about fasting shared in the reading from Isaiah and Matthew’s Gospel. For example: let the oppressed go free, bread for the hungry, home for the homeless, clothes for the naked, give secretly. Let the children put some practical ideas to each of these ideas.

Prayers of Faithful
Response: Lord, give me a caring heart.

Lord, we pray for those who are without a home because of being poor, family problems, fire or flood. Keep them safe and led believers to offer help as they are able. We pray to the Lord.

For people who are very sad and need friends and helpers who bring happiness back into their lives. Help us be friendly and giving to those who need our support. We pray to the Lord.

For ourselves that we will keep our promises for Lent, deny ourselves and give to others who are suffering. We pray to the Lord.

Lord, help us to know that when we do good for others we are doing what you want us to do. We pray to the Lord.

For all Christians who are trying to follow the way you show us during this Lenten season. Make us strong to do good without thanks or praise. We pray to the Lord.

Group Prayer: Let us join in saying the Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled
As to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive, in pardoning that we are pardoned
And in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Blessing: May almighty God bless us all in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
All: Amen.

Hymn: Whatsoever You Do, Willard F. Jabusch, ©1975 GIA
Ashes, Tom Conry, ©1978, New Dawn Music
Here I Am, Lord, Dan Schutte, ©1981, New Dawn Music
Song of the Body of Christ, David Haas, ©1989, GIA


Prayer Service for Natural Disaster—Theme: God Consoles and Believers Respond

Welcome and Introduction
Times of natural disaster leave us all with questions – why did this happen, why did this happen to us, why did this happen now, how will we get through this tragedy? There are no answers to the first three questions. The “why” questions will be with us always. There are answers to the “how” question. First we are believers in a loving God who cares for us. We can grasp our belief and hold it tight. We can hold on to and support one another in our grief and struggle. We can take action to repair the pain and suffering this tragedy has caused. Let us pray together for deeper faith, stronger empathy and greater action.

Let us begin our prayer as we were baptized.
All: Pray the Sign of the Cross

Gathering Hymn: We Walk By Faith, Marty Haugen, ©1984 GIA

Gathering Prayer
Lord our hearts are aching for those suffering the loss of loved ones and facing the overwhelming task of rebuilding their homes and neighborhoods. We gather to pray for them, joining our hearts with their suffering and sadness. Give them the strength they need to manage the upheaval in their lives. Help us to stand with them in prayer and action. We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord.
All: Amen.

First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 11:27-30

Psalm: Psalm 23 The Divine Shepherd (Psalm 23 could also be sung)
Response: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Reader: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
For His name’s sake.
All: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Reader: Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
For you are with me;
Your rod and your staff-
They comfort me.
All: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Reader: You prepare a table before me
In the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life,
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
My whole life long.
All: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Reflection:
Prayer is the best way to still the constant “why” questions which plague each of us during a time of disaster. We must continue to pray away the lingering questions and begin to act. Our generous action will help those suffering to deal with the despondency they are feeling. Our prayer and our work will renew their hope and deepen their faith.

Prayers of the Faithful
Response: Lord, hear our prayer.

That during this time of affliction, we will rely on our faith to support us. We pray to the Lord.

That those who are suffering will find some immediate relief and long term solutions to their problems. We pray to the Lord.

That each of us here will send daily prayers to heaven for those struggling through this disaster. We pray to the Lord.

For those who lost family and/or friends in the wake of nature’s destruction, that they will be consoled by their faith in the resurrection. We pray to the Lord.

That we will reach into our resources of time, energy and money to assist our brothers and sisters suffering from nature’s fury. We pray to the Lord.

Lord’s Prayer: Join hands and voices in the Lord’s Prayer.

Closing Prayer: Lord you have known sadness, despair and isolation. Pour your blessed peace on those who are facing these emotions as they deal with death and the serious disorder of their lives. Be with them in their suffering. Inspire us to respond with the fullness of generosity. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen

Blessing: May Almighty God bless us all in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
All: Amen

Hymn: God of Day and God of Darkness, Marty Haugen, ©1985, GIA.

Additional Hymn Suggestions:
Psalm 100: We Are God’s People, David Haas, ©1983, GIA
The Love of the Lord, Michael Joncas, ©1988, GIA
We Are Many Parts, Marty Haugen, ©1980, 1986, GIA
World Peace Prayer Marty Haugen, ©1985, GIA
Be Not Afraid, Bob Dufford, ©1975, Robert J. Dufford, SJ and New Dawn Music


Prayer Service Serious Illness Child

Welcome and Introduction
Facing a serious illness in life is difficult for those who love and cherish the one who is ill. Particularly painful is meeting serious illness in one who is young, vibrant and carefree. We are barraged with questions that have no answers. Our prayer today will not answer our questions, but perhaps it can shore up our faith in a God who loves us and knows the sadness of our hearts.

Let us begin our prayer as we were baptized.
All: Pray the Sign of the Cross

Gathering Hymn: We Walk By Faith, Marty Haugen, ©1984, GIA

Gathering Prayer
Lord, your healing hands reached out to many who suffered serious sickness—sicknesses that limited their ability to live a full life. May your healing hands and forceful Spirit be with us today, as we pray for our young loved one who is ill. Our hearts of faith reach to you for comfort and blessing. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen

First Reading: James 5:13-16

Pslam: My Soul In Stillness Waits, Marty Haugen, ©1982, GIA

Gospel: Luke 18:15-17

Reflection: Share thoughts on the following lines from the scriptures.
+ James 5:15: “The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up…”
+ James 4:8: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
+ Luke 18:16: “Let the little children come to me…to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”

Prayers of the Faithful
Response: We believe in your goodness Lord.

For the parents of this child who gave birth to her/him in love and have nourished this child with attention and care. Know their hearts and bring them comfort. We pray to the Lord.

For this child that he/she is reminded daily of your great love for children and your desire that they come to you without interference. May he/she continue to grow in love of you. We pray to the Lord.

For all who are experiencing serious illness and know its effects in limiting their bodies and spirits. Reach out your healing hands. Bring them relief of body and strength of spirit. We pray to the Lord.

That we will continue in faithful prayer for this child and his/her family. Help us be pillars of support for them. We know your love and faithfulness. Keep us growing in belief and bless us all with your peace. We pray to the Lord.

In thanksgiving for the wonders of modern medicine and the medical professionals who serve our bodies in need of healing. Continue to bless their work and tireless effort for this child.

Lord’s Prayer: Make a circle of prayer around the child who is ill; join hands include the child in completing the circle of prayer.

Closing Prayer
Lord, you know all that is in our hearts and minds. You know our great love for this child who is sick and that we count her/his living among us a blessing. Grant her/him a renewed spirit of soul and body. We trust in your will and desire to be faithful to it. Give us the strength we need and be with as we go through this trying time. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen

Blessing
Father, you created us out of love, bless us with loving hearts.
All: Amen.

Jesus, you saved us from our selfishness, bless us with giving hearts.
All: Amen.

Holy Spirit, you enliven us with hope, bless us with believing hearts.
All: Amen.

May almighty God bless us all Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
All: Amen.

Hymn: You Are Near, Daniel L. Schutte, ©1971 Dan Schutte and New Dawn Music

Additional Hymns:
Soon and Very Soon, Andraé Crouch, ©1976 Bud John Songs, Inc/Crouch Music/ASCAP
Be Not Afraid, Bob Dufford, ©1975, Robert J. Dufford, SJ and New Dawn Music


Prayer Service with Children/Catechists/Parents at the Beginning of the Catechetical Year

Opening Prayer
Let us begin our prayer as we were baptized, in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
All: Amen.

Let us pray. Loving God, your word of life gives us a new birth. May we receive it with open hearts, share it with one another, live it with joy, and express it in love.

We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
All: Amen

Scripture Matthew 19:13-15

Response
Offer a brief reflection about how Jesus invites us everyday to come to him and how we show that we say “yes” to his invitation.

Intercessions
That you keep your sons and daughters, these young people, safe in all they do, their work and their leisure. We pray to the Lord.
All: Lord, hear our prayer.

That you keep alive in these parents and catechists a great gentleness and a strong and active concern. We pray to the Lord.
All: Lord, hear our prayer.

That you strengthen all gathered here in your love, and make firm the bonds of affection within these families. We pray to the Lord.
All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Our Father
Gathering our prayers into one, let us pray:
All: Our Father…

Peace Greeting
May the peace of our Lord be with you always.
All: And also with you.

Let us share with one another a sign of Christ’s peace.

Invite all present to extend their hands in blessing over each group.

Blessing for Children
Loving God,
We ask your blessing upon these children.
We are thankful for their energy, their enthusiasm, and their youthful perspective.
Gift them with open hearts to seek you and hear your word.
Help them recognize that living our faith is a way of life.
We ask this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Blessing for Catechists and Teachers
Loving God,
We ask your blessing upon these men and women, our catechists and teachers.
We are thankful for their generous spirit, as well as their care for our young people.
Gift them with wisdom and patience in their ministry.
Help them to gently guide our children as they journey in faith.
We ask this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Blessing for Parents
Loving God,
We ask your blessing upon parents.
We are thankful for the love and care they have for their children.
Gift them with insight and perseverance as they share their faith with their children.
Help them to share an abundance of love with their children,
so that their children may come to know your love.
We ask this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Blessing for Parishioners
Loving God,
We ask your blessing upon all of us.
Through our Baptism, we are responsible for helping each other come to know you.
We are especially responsible for all our children.
Help us to live as models of faith in action, as witnesses to your love,
so that these children may be inspired to live a life of faith.
We ask this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

And may God bless us all, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of Holy Spirit.
All: Amen.

Hymn suggestions: All Are Welcome, Marty Haugen, ©1994, GIA Publications, Inc.
Gather Us In, Marty Haugen, ©1982, GIA Publications, Inc.


Prayer Service with Catechist at the Start of the Catechetical Year
Set-up for prayer table: cross/picture or statue of Jesus; single large candle (Easter candle if possible), individual taper candles for all participants, and matches.

Opening Prayer
Lord, we gather today as those chosen and willing to accept the responsibility of teaching your message to children, youth and adults. Open our hearts and minds. Strengthen our spirits. Be with us as we prepare, teach and live the words of your Gospel.
Amen.

Scripture
Read Matthew 5:14-16
Discuss in small group your experience of being in the dark and trying to find your way; How did you feel? What did you do to help yourself find a safe passage to your destination or a light switch/candle?

Reread Matthew 5:14-16
In your small group, share a time when someone brought light into your world by giving friendly advice, a call, letter, and email when you need it, or by just listening.

Response to Matthew 5:14-16 If possible darken the room.
Give each participant a candle
Individuals go forward and light their candle from the lighted Easter candle
As they light they share how they will light the way for their students this year

Gather all as close to the Easter candle as possible to the full effect of lights being brought out from under the bushel basket.

Intercessions: Response: I will be light to the world! Raise your light high during each response.

For all who share the message of Jesus in the hope leading children and youth to believe and follow, that the strength of the Spirit will be theirs. We pray…

For those who live in the darkness of poverty, worried for the next meal for their family, that generous believers will give of their excess. We pray…

For our leaders that they will come closer to Jesus in prayer and study, that they may be examples for all in following the way of Jesus. We pray…

For those who live in the darkness of depression that they will find hope in the friendship of believers who welcome them. We pray…

For mothers, fathers and extended family, that there faith and belief will pass on to their children and encourage them to follow the Christian way of life. We pray…

Pray in unison.
Prayer of St. Francis

Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled
As to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive, in pardoning that we are pardoned
And in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Sign of Peace: Participants walk around with their lighted candle and offer a call of service to each other with the following word and response.

Let your light shine!
For all to see!

Blessing: Leader raises hand in blessing over all.
Lord, enflame our hearts with love for you.
Bless us with courage to show that love.
Response: Amen.

Lord, enlighten our minds with your message.
Bless us with wisdom to understand it well.
Response: Amen.

Lord, brighten the speech of our lips with enthusiasm for your word.
Bless us with energy and vigor for your work.
Response: Amen.

May Almighty God bless us all, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Response: Amen

Suggested Hymns: Bring Forth the Kingdom, Marty Haugen, ©1986, GIA Publications, Inc.
I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light, Kathleen Thomerson and Robert J. Batastini, ©1987, GIA Publications, Inc.


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