Papal Prayer Intention – December 2021

The prayer intention of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for December 2021 is:

Let us pray for the catechists, summoned to announce the Word of God: may they be its witnesses, with courage and creativity and in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

In his video message to the participants in the International Congress on “The Catechist, Witness to the Mystery” of 22 September 2018, Pope Francis reminds us:

…] “Be catechists, don’t just work as catechists: this doesn’t work! I work as a catechist because I like to teach. But if you are not a catechist, this doesn’t work. You will not be fruitful; you will not be fruitful! Being a catechist is a vocation: being a catechist is a vocation, not working as a catechist. Pay attention, I did not say working as a catechist, but to be one, because it involves life. It leads to an encounter with Jesus through words and life, through testimony. […]

I often think of the catechist as one who has put himself at the service of God’s word, who frequents this word daily to make it his nourishment and to share it with others effectively and credibly. The catechist knows that this word is “alive” (Heb 4:12) because it constitutes the rule of the Church’s faith (cf. Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Dei Verbum, 21; Lumen Gentium, 15). Consequently, the catechist cannot forget, especially today in a context of religious indifference, that his word is always a first proclamation. Think about it: in this world, in this era of so much indifference, your word will always be a first proclamation, which comes to touch the hearts and minds of many people who are waiting to meet Christ. Even without knowing it, they are waiting for him. And when I say the first announcement I do not mean this only in the temporal sense. Of course, this is important, but it is not always most important. The first announcement means underlining that Jesus Christ, who died and rose through the love of the Father, gives his forgiveness to all without distinction of persons, if only they open their hearts to let themselves be converted! Often we do not perceive the power of grace which, through our words, reaches our interlocutors profoundly and moulds them so that they can discover God’s love. The catechist is not a teacher or a lecturer who thinks he is giving a lesson. Catechesis is not a lesson; catechesis is the communication of an experience and the witness of a faith that sets hearts on fire, because it introduces the desire to find Christ. This announcement in various ways and with different languages is always the “first” that the catechist is called to give!

Papal Prayer Intention – November 2021

The prayer intention of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for November 2021 is:

We pray that people who suffer from depression or burn-out will find support and a light that opens them up to life.

In his Angelus address of 9 July 2017, Pope Francis said:

[…] The Lord knows how arduous life can be. He knows that many things weary the heart: disappointments and wounds of the past, burdens to carry and wrongs to bear in the present, uncertainties and worries about the future.

In the face of all this, Jesus’ first word is an invitation, a call to move and respond: “Come”. The mistake, when things go wrong, is to stay where we are, lying there. It seems obvious, but how difficult it is to respond and open ourselves! It is not easy. In dark times it feels natural to keep to ourselves, to ruminate over how unfair life is, over how ungrateful others are, how mean the world is, and so on. We all know it. We have had this awful experience a few times. But in this way, locked up inside ourselves, we see everything as grim. Then we even grow accustomed to sadness, which becomes like home: that sadness overcomes us; this sadness is a terrible thing. Jesus, however, wants to pull us out of this “quicksand” and thus says to each one: “Come! — Who? — You, you, you”. The way out is in connecting, in extending a hand and lifting our gaze to those who truly love us.

In fact it is not enough to come out of ourselves; it is important to know where to go. Because many aims are illusory: they promise comfort and distract just a little; they guarantee peace and offer amusement, then leave us with the loneliness there was before; they are “fireworks”. Therefore Jesus indicates where to go: “Come to me”. And many times, in the face of a burden of life or a situation that saddens us, we try to talk about it with someone who listens to us, with a friend, with an expert…. This is a great thing to do, but let us not forget Jesus. Let us not forget to open ourselves to him and to recount our life to him, to entrust people and situations to him. Perhaps there are “areas” of our life that we have never opened up to him and which have remained dark,
because they have never seen the Lord’s light. Each of us has our own story. And if someone has this dark area, seek out Jesus; go to a missionary of mercy; go to a priest; go…. But go to Jesus, and tell Jesus about this. Today he says to each one: “Take courage; do not give in to life’s burdens; do not close yourself off in the face of fears and sins. Come to me!”.

He awaits us; he always awaits us. Not to magically resolve problems, but to strengthen us amid our problems. Jesus does not lift the burdens from our life, but the anguish from our heart; he does not take away our cross, but carries it with us. And with him every burden becomes light (cf. v. 30), because he is the comfort we seek. When Jesus enters life, peace arrives, the kind that remains even in trials, in suffering. Let us go to Jesus; let us give him our time; let us encounter him each day in prayer, in a trusting and personal dialogue; let us become familiar with his Word; let us fearlessly rediscover his forgiveness; let us eat of his Bread of Life: we will feel loved; we will feel comforted by him.

Papal Prayer Intention – October 2021

The prayer intention of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for October 2021 is:

We pray that every baptized person may be engaged in evangelization, available to the mission, by being witnesses of a life that has the flavour of the Gospel.

In his Message for World Mission Day 2019, Pope Francis writes:

The Church is on mission in the world. Faith in Jesus Christ enables us to see all things in their proper perspective, as we view the world with God’s own eyes and heart. Hope opens us up to the eternal horizons of the divine life that we share. Charity, of which we have a foretaste in the sacraments and in fraternal love, impels us to go forth to the ends of the earth (cf. Mic 5:4; Mt 28:19; Acts 1:8; Rom 10:18). A Church that presses forward to the farthest frontiers requires a constant and ongoing missionary conversion. How many saints, how many men and women of faith, witness to the fact that this unlimited openness, this going forth in mercy, is indeed possible and realistic, for it is driven by love and its deepest meaning as gift, sacrifice and gratuitousness (cf. 2 Cor 5:14-21)! The man who preaches God must be a man of God (cf. Maximum Illud).

This missionary mandate touches us personally: I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always; every
baptized man and woman is a mission. People in love never stand still: they are drawn out of themselves; they are attracted and attract others in turn; they give themselves to others and build relationships that are life-giving. As far as God’s love is concerned, no one is useless or insignificant. Each of us is a mission to the world, for each of us is the fruit of God’s love. Even if parents can betray their love by lies, hatred and infidelity, God never takes back his gift of life. From eternity he has destined each of his children to share in his divine and eternal life (cf. Eph 1:3-6).

[…] Today too, the Church needs men and women who, by virtue of their baptism, respond generously to the call to leave behind home, family, country, language and local Church, and to be sent forth to the nations, to a world not yet transformed by the sacraments of Jesus Christ and his holy Church. By proclaiming God’s word, bearing witness to the Gospel and celebrating the life of the Spirit, they summon to conversion, baptize and offer Christian salvation, with respect for the freedom of each person and in dialogue with the cultures and religions of the peoples to whom they are sent. The missio ad gentes, which is always necessary for the Church, thus contributes in a fundamental way to the process of ongoing conversion in all Christians. Faith in the Easter event of Jesus; the ecclesial mission received in baptism; the geographic and cultural detachment from oneself and one’s own home; the need for salvation from sin and liberation from personal and social evil: all these demand the mission that reaches to the very ends of the earth.

Praying With The Pope

Every month Pope Francis entrusts a prayer intention to his Worldwide Prayer Network. This intention expresses his great concerns for humanity and for the mission of the Church. Each month, his intention acts as a glocal summons to transform our prayers into “concrete actions”.

The Pope’s prayer intention for September 2021 is:

We pray that we will make courageous choices for a simple and environmentally sustainable lifestyle, rejoicing in our young people who are resolutely committed to this.

Pope Francis, in his Message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in 2019, writes:

It is also a season to reflect on our lifestyles, and how our daily decisions about food, consumption, transportation, use of water, energy and many other material goods, can often be thoughtless and harmful. Too many of us act like tyrants with regard to creation. Let us make an effort to change and to adopt more simple and respectful lifestyles! Now is the time to abandon our dependence on fossil fuels and move, quickly and decisively, towards forms of clean energy and a sustainable and circular economy. Let us also learn to listen to indigenous peoples, whose age-old wisdom can teach us how to live in a better relationship with the environment.

This too is a season for undertaking prophetic actions. Many young people all over the world are making their voices heard and calling for courageous decisions. They feel let down by too many unfulfilled promises, by commitments made and then ignored for selfish interests or out of expediency. The young remind us that the earth is not a possession to be squandered, but an inheritance to be handed down. They remind us that hope for tomorrow is not a noble sentiment, but a task calling for concrete actions here and now. We owe them real answers, not empty words, actions not illusions.