Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice!
O let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleading.

If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?
But with you is found forgiveness:
for this we revere you.

My soul is waiting for the Lord.
I count on his word.
My soul is longing for the Lord
more than watchman for daybreak.
Let the watchman count on daybreak
and Israel on the Lord.

Because with the Lord there is mercy
and fullness of redemption,
Israel indeed he will redeem
from all its iniquity.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.

Let us Pray…

 

Loving Creator,

We asked for strength, and you gave us difficulties to make us strong.

We asked for wisdom, and you gave us problems to solve.

We asked for prosperity, and you gave us purpose and brains to use.

We asked for courage, and you gave us fears to overcome.

We asked for patience, and you gave us situations where we were forced to wait.

We asked for love, and you gave us troubled people to help.

We asked for justice, and you called us to be just and lead with integrity.

Lord, we have received nothing that we asked for or wanted.

And yet, we receive everything that we needed.

For this we give thanks.

– By Colleen Hanycz, PhD incoming President at Xavier University.

Holy God, you see me and you hear me.

Through my mask, you see if I smile or if I scowl.

Through my mask, you hear me if I whisper a brief prayer or mutter a muffled curse.

My friends don’t see or hear or know; nor do my family; nor my colleagues.

But you do.

This mask takes away power – the power of clear communication but also the possibility to infect. But it also grants a freedom to be with.

My smiles, my thoughts, my mumbles, though – these I know, but they are a greater mystery to others now.

But not to you, Lord. You see past my mask, you hear through it, you know.

But your mask, Lord, what about your mask? Who can see through your mask? Hear through it?

I cannot.

I cannot see if you smile or if you scowl.

I cannot hear if you whisper an answer to my prayer or brush off my curse.

I cannot sense if you are pleased with me or if you are waiting for me to do much better.

Can we all take off our masks, Lord? Put them away?

When the disease that moves us to mask our faces for safety fades away, will our eyes and our ears be stronger, better able to see and to hear the smiles and the frowns, the cries and the whispers of those who fill our lives? Who make our lives worth living?

Will we see, Lord, that what we think of as your mask is really also our own, our inability to find you in the rush of our lives, our failure to see you in all the wonders you show us, our incapacity to hear your gentle voice in the tumult that surrounds us.

Can we know, Lord, that we put on many masks so we can cope, avoid, pretend, be acceptable? (What scar did the Phantom’s mask hide? “Who was that masked man?”)

Help us, Lord, to move beyond our masks. You are here for us to see and to hear. Help us. Let us take off our masks.

 – By Fr. Edward Schmidt S.J.

2020. The year that taught us to minimize. To improvise. To compromise.

2020. The year we monitored, not the stock market. But rather open time slots.

2020. The year we slowed down. We paused. We realized what we could do without. Our celebrations. Were muted. Understated. But no less joyous.

2020. The year we cried. We mourned. For the unnecessary deaths. For job losses. For social justice.

2020. The year injustices were even more pronounced. Economic disparity. Social disparity. Racial disparity. Age disparity. Immune system disparity.

We worried about the age. Alone and isolated. We worried about the youth. Could their young minds handle all that was being thrown at them?

And then we collected ourselves. We adjusted. We empathized. We sympathized. We stepped up. And stepped in where needed. We reached out.

2020 is behind us. And we step into 2021. With hopes and some trepidation.

As we transition through this time we pray:

One day at a time sweet Jesus.
That’s all that I ask of you.
Lord help me today.
Show me the way.
One day at a time.

Father please hear us when we tell You of our concerns of sending our children and educators back to school. 

Know that we are striving to make all of the right decisions and need Your love and power to help us overcome any difficulties. 

Please watch over everyone as times and routines are about to change once again. 

We know that we can do anything through You, so please help us ensure health and semi-normalcy in the coming months.  

We give our hearts to You, now and forever.  Amen.

We pray for your love and compassion to abound
as we walk through this challenging season.

We ask for wisdom for those who bear the load
of making decisions with widespread consequences.

We pray for those who are suffering with sickness
and all who are caring for them.

We ask for protection for the elderly and vulnerable
to not succumb to the risks of the virus.

We pray for misinformation to be curbed
that fear may take no hold in hearts and minds. 

As we exercise the good sense that you in your mercy provide,
may we also approach each day in faith and peace,
trusting in the truth of your goodness towards us. 

Lord,

I am thankful for good colleagues and the opportunity to collaborate with so many around me.
I am thankful for the opportunity learn and practice new things.
I am grateful for extra time with family, and for all the new ways I have found to connect with friends.
I am grateful for my health and for the health of my family.

Over the course of the last months,
I have felt your presence in the care and compassion of those working around and with me to find the best path forward for our community.
I have felt your presence in our continuous striving for better, striving to find solutions that serve the greatest number of people in the best way possible with the least risk of harm.
I have felt your presence on days when my work – at my workplace or at home – was not great, and I was humble or needed to make apologies.

I have been challenged and needed your guidance in thinking with a community-focus rather than an individual one, and I’ve been challenged in finding the right response on other occasions when I judge that others are falling into that same pit.
I have felt challenged by all the meals I’ve cooked and dishes I’ve washed. I have felt true joy in the quiet moments of fellowship and connection that only could have happened because of this common event.

I continue to welcome and be open to your presence in my life and in this work.
As I look ahead to the coming academic year,
I pray that we make sound decisions for our students, our faculty, our staff, that protect them and serve them well, and also serve the institution well.
I pray that we continue to be inclusive and broad in our thinking, that we continue to be imaginative and innovative, that we have the energy required to sustain us.
I pray that we continue to be intentional collaborators, guided by your spirit.

 – By Rebecca L. Cull

Loving God,

Help us
to focus on what we have
not on what is removed or changed.

Strengthen us
when we feel discouraged
or overwhelmed.

Embrace us
so that us we know your loving presence
within us and among us.

Walk with us
as we bring your love,
and carry your light,
into our world.

Amen.

Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.

But,

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know
 is busy spreading fliers with her number
 through the neighbourhood
 so that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches ,Synagogues, Mosques and Temple

are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary.

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting.

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way.

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.  
To what really matters.

To Love

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic-
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul
 And though you may not be able
 to touch across the empty square,

  Sing.

– Written by Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM, March 13th 2020

When this is over,
may we never again
take for granted
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbours
A crowded theatre
Friday night out
The taste of communion
A routine check-up
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
Life itself.

When this ends,
may we find
that we have become
more like the people
we wanted to be
we were called to be
we hoped to be
and may we stay
that way–better
for each other
because of the worst.

– Laura Kelley Fanucci

For those who are sick.
For those with chronic illnesses and underlying health concerns.
For all those who are suffering.

For those who are lonely.
For those who have no one to check on them.
For families that are separated.

For those who are unemployed.
For those suffering financial hardships.
For those who face an uncertain future.

For those who are suffering from physical or emotional abuse.
For those who are disproportionately suffering because of societal structures and unjust policies.
For those who are struggling with physical or mental disabilities.
For those who are overwhelmed by anxiety and stress.

For those who are dying.
For those who have died while saving the lives of others.
For all who have lost their lives.

For those who have survived.
For those who have lost their spouses.
For children who have been orphaned.
For all those who mourn and those who comfort them.

For firefighters, police, and emergency medical workers.
For doctors, nurses, and all health care professionals.
For those who serve in the armed forces.

For public officials.
For business leaders.
For educators.
For innovators and inventors who provide new solutions.

For peace in our city and in our world.
For renewed friendships among neighbours.
For solidarity and unity among all peoples.
For a greater appreciation and love of all humanity.

For patience and perseverance.
For calm in the midst of fear.
For the grace to overcome adversity.

For the generosity of spirit.
For hope in times of despair.
For light in the darkness.

Gracious and Loving God,
You are our comforter and our hope.
Hear our prayers as we come before you.
Strengthen us in this time of need.
Inspire us to acts of solidarity and generosity
and give us hope of a brighter future.

– By Joseph P. Shadle

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health and making their rent.

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.

As fear grips our country, let us choose love.

And during this time when we may not be able to physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours.  Amen.

– Written by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Centre down.
 
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health, so long as we all shall live.

– Lynn Ungar, March 11, 2020

Loving God, 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 neighbours, 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.

– By Sister Christine Koelhoffer, IHM

I pause and thank you for this day. For the challenges, the emotions, the struggle. For in all this, I grow closer to you.

I pause and ask that in the darkness, I see your light and in my fear, I feel your strength.

I pause and remember that today, As in days before, I have survived. When I’ve wanted to run, I’ve stayed. When I wanted to hide, I’ve faced the day.

I pause and ask for forgiveness for The days I falter and the disease takes over. I ask for compassion and love when I’m unable to give those to myself.

I pause and resolve to love myself more tomorrow. And always feel your spirit surround me in safety.

I pause

What interactions with others were significant to me today?
What care and compassion did I show?
What was going on in my head during these interactions? Was I truly present?
What control do I have over the circumstances of these individuals?
Did I do all that I could in this point in time?
What can I do for tomorrow?

Merciful God,
Open my heart and mind to be fully present to those I interact with throughout the day.
Allow me to listen to others without passing judgement or haste to solve what I cannot change.
Give me patience and understanding and grant me grace in my shortcomings.
Be with me in times of fatigue and lift me up with the strength to carry out your compassionate love to all those I meet. Amen.

Creator, thank you for my many blessings, especially ______________.

Be with me at this moment,
and guide my thoughts to those places
where I could have been more loving in my day
and consider how I will improve. 

Help me to see those places where I was loving
and strengthen those parts of me
so that I can better do your will.

Thank you for all the love I’ve been blessed with
and help me in the moments ahead.

It seems that I return to you most easily when I need comfort, O God.
Hello… here I am again, knowing that you are waiting for me with love and warming light.
In the shadow of your wings I find respite and relief that feeds my innermost self and renews my soul. Day and night, you are my refuge.

These uncertain days of news conferences and quarantines tempt me to assume the worst for my loved ones, myself and my community. “Pandemic” is a frightening word, and I can easily feel confused or helpless to respond. Now I am relying on you to lead and guide me, to put my anxiety in its place. Help me see it as a human response that keeps me conscious of the seriousness of this moment, but do not let it overwhelm my spirit. Buoyed by your love, I choose each day to let peace reign in me. Breathing deeply of your calm, I repeat, again and again, “You are here.”

Good and gracious Companion, my family and friends need tranquillity and assurance. Help me to offer them your tenderness. Those in my community who are suffering need care. Help me to be generous and to keep contact with the forgotten. Our world calls for cooperation among national leaders, scientists, health care providers, and all who are instrumental in overcoming this crisis. May my prayers and support be with them all.

I have come back to you, and I will return, knowing that your open arms will never fail. God of hope, may your love blanket the earth, as you teach us to live more generously today than yesterday. May my anxiety be transformed into love.

God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.

Bring hope that you will make them the equal
of whatever lies ahead.

Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you.

Lord Jesus, you came into the world to heal our infirmities and to endure our sufferings. You went about healing all and bringing comfort to those in pain and need. We come before you now in this time of illness asking that you may be the source of our strength in body, courage in spirit and patience in pain. May we join ourselves more closely to you on the cross and in your suffering that through them we may draw our patience and hope. Assist us and restore us to health so that united more closely to your family, the Church, we may give praise and honour to your name.

Father of goodness and love, hear our prayers for the sick members of our community and for all who are in need. Amid mental and physical suffering may they find consolation in your healing presence. Show your mercy as you close wounds, cure illness, make broken bodies whole and free downcast spirits. May these special people find lasting health and deliverance, and so join us in thanking you for all your gifts. We ask this through the Lord Jesus who healed those who believed. Amen.

Jesus Christ, you travelled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.

Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.

Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbours from helping one another.

Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.

Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.

Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.

Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.

Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.

Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.

Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.

Jesus Christ, heal us.

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.

At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain, with steadfast faith.
You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.

We are certain that you will provide, so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us:

He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us,
through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.

We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Holy and Living God,

in this Thanksgiving year of 2020,

when we are separated from family and friends,

when it’s hard to travel and gather together,

and celebrate Thanksgiving as we’ve done in the past,

help us to embrace what is.

Help us to give thanks within the uncertainty.

Help us to give thanks within our sorrow, within our fears.

In all things, may we open our hearts and give You thanks.

Amen.

God, Thank you for helping us to make it through this difficult year. Thank you that you’ve carried us through the uncertainty of deep waters, through the flames of trials, and through the pain of hard losses. We are constantly aware of how much we need you, your grace, your strength, your power working through even the toughest days.

Help us to keep our focus first on you this season. Please forgive us for giving too much time and attention to other things, for looking to other people before coming to you first. Help us to reflect again, on what Christmas is really all about. Thank you that you came to give new life, peace, hope, and joy. Thank you that your power is made perfect in our weakness.

Help us to remember that the gift of Christ, Immanuel, is our greatest treasure, not just at Christmas, but for the whole year through. Fill us with your joy and the peace of your Spirit. Direct our hearts and minds towards you. Thank you for your reminder that both in seasons of celebration and in seasons of brokenness, you’re still with us. For you never leave us. Thank you for your daily powerful Presence in our lives, that we can be assured your heart is towards us, your eyes are over us, and your ears are open to our prayers. Thank you that you surround us with favour as with a shield, and we are safe in your care.

We choose to press in close to you today, and keep you first in our hearts and lives. Without you we would surely fail, but with you, there is great hope. Thank you for your healing power, thank you for bringing us into this new semester that will undoubtedly be filled with many challenges and opportunities. We look forward to all that You still have in store. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Loving God,

Our church calendar tells us that we are back again in Ordinary Time.  Advent passed through its four weeks. We celebrated the birth of Jesus with angels singing and shepherds visiting and magi following a star from the East and bearing gifts. Yes, we have finished this holy season. Still, somehow, this time does not seem ordinary; it is anything but that.

This “ordinary time” is marked by masked faces, social distancing, and “germ circles.” Headlines shout out frightful numbers of individuals who have contracted Covid-19, thousands every day. Each of these numbers affects the lives of spouses, children, friends with care and worry, with work to help cure and coax loved ones back to health. And the number of deaths chills survivors in worry and guilt – what should I have done, what should I do now? Just to travel to a small funeral to say good-bye to a loved one and offer you our prayer leads to days of quarantine and extra separation. Holy God, loving God, can this really be “ordinary time?” 

This “ordinary time” is marked also by deep economic hardship for many. Mothers and fathers have worked hard to provide for their families, and now their jobs are gone.  “Sorry, the work you have done for us is not needed any more. Good-bye!” “Sorry, we appreciate what you do, but we cannot afford it any more. Good-bye and good luck!” The ordinary ways of working and providing and living have disappeared for many.

And recently in this “ordinary time” we have seen our fellow citizens rise up in anger and violence, destroying, injuring, even killing others to push their narrow agendas. In scenes that would fit easily into war zones, they invade our honoured spaces and violate standards of citizen behaviour. Neighbours have turned into crazed killers. Old friends and colleagues are now out of control. Where is ordinary time?

Perhaps, Lord, no time is really ordinary. Where you are, the extraordinary tries to lift us up, to let us see beyond the everyday and catch hints of what can be, of who we could be if we gave room to our best selves, of what we could do if we banded together in common purpose and resolve.

Part of ordinary time is the dedication of health care workers. Part is families sharing resources to get through economic breakdown. Part must be the guardians of public safety who risk their lifes and health, even give up that life, to keep order and peace. 

We come to you, loving God, with hope in our hearts and prayer on our lips. We pray that care and compassion, watching and accompanying be part of our ordinary lives. We pray that our eyes be open to see the needs of those who struggle to provide for their families and that if we can help, we do help in ordinary ways. We pray that we try to understand each other in our struggles to make sense of the forces that are beyond any one of us, that we see beyond threats imagined or real, that we hear beyond shouted anger or mocking taunts or cursing threats and note the cries for help that rest mostly silent in ordinary times.

Holy God, you make all times holy, all places, all people in all the seasons of our lives. Ordinary time? It is all extraordinary with you.

– By Ed Schmidt, S.J., written January 12, 2021

This online Book of Remembrance has been opened in memory of those people who have died in the past year. This Book of Remembrance gives the faithful of the Archdiocese of Cardiff the opportunity to pay tribute to family members or friends who have died since the beginning o the pandemic. Archbishop George reflected that:

each number is a life, each life is a memory, each life is a family trying to grieve in such exceptional circumstances.

On Tuesday, 23rd March, Archbishop George will celebrate a Solemn Requiem Mass at St. David’s Cathedral for all the faithful departed. The Book of Remembrance will be given place of honour at the Requiem Mass before the pascal candle at the Requiem Mass.

May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful Departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.