Communique #3 – Community Life
National Chairperson of Community Life Faith Anderson, August 30, 2021.
“… the time dedicated to staying with God revives faith, which helps us in the practicalities of living, and faith, in turn, nurtures prayer, without interruption. In this circularity between faith, life, and prayer, one keeps alight that flame of Christian life that God expects of us” (Pope Francis).
Once again, you are called on to send this timely request to diocesan counterparts and for them, in turn, to forward to parish councils, to set aside September 21st to pray for Christians in the Holy Land. As Catholics, members know the power of prayer and are called upon to pray with humility for all Christians in the Holy Land. This quote speaks to the power of prayer, “Prayer then is nothing more and nothing less than placing ourselves face to face with God. It offers us nothing more and nothing less than God himself. He does indeed listen. He does indeed act. He does indeed transform you. He does indeed conquer this world” (Garrett Johnson).
National council adopted this day of prayer at the 2019 national convention, with September 21st chosen as it is also the International Day of Peace. All are encouraged to access Catholic Near East Welfare Association’s (CNEWA) website (cnewa.org/ca/) to learn about its work in the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe, “… in places where poverty, war and displacement shatter innocent lives.”
With some COVID-19 pandemic restrictions lifted and attendance in church occurring, it may be possible to celebrate this day of prayer as a council activity, perhaps to start the renewal of meetings in the fall. However, keep in mind when meeting in person to follow the health restrictions in each province/territory. Please ask your diocesan counterparts to share the following suggestions for activities with parish councils:
- Contact the parish priest to ask if this prayer could be recited at a weekday mass and provide information on the day of prayer.
- Recite this prayer at a monthly meeting and arrange for a leader to guide the prayer.
- If gathering in person, as a larger group is not possible, one member could offer her home to meet and invite one or two members to join her in prayer.
- Members can pray in their homes as collective and individual prayer is always a gift to God.
- Begin the day of prayer by lighting a candle and praising God through the song, “Peace is Flowing like a River.” CNEWA offers peace lamps to purchase at (cnewa.org/ca/peace-lamps/), with proceeds helping in the efforts in the Holy Land.
- Proceed with saying the Prayer for Peace in the Holy Land (a copy is attached). Meditate after each statement. If possible, take turns reading.
- After the prayer is complete, do a scripture reading from the Word of God. A discussion of the reading could follow. Some suggestions:
- “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
- “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
- “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).
- “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22).
- “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
- “I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33)
- End the service by praising God for the good things He has given. Members are fortunate to live in a free country such as Canada, and although the pandemic has created challenging times, they recognize there are people in the world suffering more. Praise be to God!
These are only suggestions for members to celebrate in prayer for Christian sisters and brothers in the Holy Land and Middle East. Members have been known for being prayerful and finding creative ways to participate spiritually. More information can be found at cnewa.org/ca/prayer-day-for-peace/. Please share any initiatives taken to recognize this day of prayer—my e-mail can be found in the footer of this communique.
The federal election in Canada is Monday, September 20th. Please ask your diocesan counterparts to urge members to exercise their right to vote. It is an opportunity to vote for Christian values and beliefs. Perhaps rides could be offered to those members who require transportation in order to cast a vote. Remember, the people of Canada elect those who will run the country following the election. Each vote and voice count!
I encourage you to forward me your communiques. Each communique is read with great interest on messages distributed to diocesan and ultimately to parish councils.
May Our Lady of Good Counsel continue to guide your work in this standing committee as together we continue our efforts for “God and Canada.”
National Chairperson of Community Life