As of today, our bishops will be spending the next seven days in a retreat at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago and the faithful are being asked to join them by devoting the next week to intercessory prayer and sacrifices on their behalf.
The Foundation for Prayer for Priests (FPP) has launched the “Mantle of Prayer Campaign” for our bishops who will be on the retreat led by Father Raniero Cantalamess OFM, who has served as preacher of the papal household since 1980. The theme of the retreat will be “the mission of the apostles and of their successors” and will draw from Mark 3:14, which says Jesus “appointed 12 – whom he also named apostles – that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach.”
While they are gathered at this retreat, the faithful are being asked to commit to offering intercessory prayer and sacrifices during these seven days.
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines intercessory prayer as ‘a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did’ (CCC 281-283). Though He is the ‘one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men,’ we can be united with him in this form of prayer,” the FPP instructs.
The faithful are being asked to practice one or more of the following during this time:
1. Eucharistic Adoration
2. Eucharistic Holy Hour
3. The Holy Rosary
4. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
5. Prayer of protection: St. Michael the Archangel prayer
7. Offering up your suffering
8. Acts of reparation
An appropriate Scripture reflection during this time is taken from Hebrews 4:14: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”
The FPP is also offering Suggested Daily Reflections (Based on the acronym ACTS: adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, supplication) that can be prayed during the next seven days:
January 2, 2019: Eternal Father, grant that bishops will take ample time to pray, letting the Lord speak to them in adoration. Grant them listening hearts that hear in the silence of divine love.
January 3, 2019: Eternal Father, grant that bishops express contrition for mistakes they and/or brother bishops, past and present, may have made. Graciously lead them into the pierced heart of Jesus on the Cross.
January 4, 2019: Eternal Father, grant that bishops thank the Lord for their vocation, remembering why they believed they were called to the priesthood; enlighten their memory; enkindle their hearts with joy for service.
January 5, 2019: Eternal Father, grant that bishops ardently pray for the victims/survivors of sexual abuse. Graciously grant them renewed compassion and inspiration on how provide healing.
January 6, 2019: Eternal Father, grant that bishops pray for the holiness of life of bishops, priests, and deacons. Confirm them in the evangelical counsels.
January 7, 2019: Eternal Father, grant that bishops pray fervently for the protection of the Church in the United States and in the world. Grant them a renewed spirit of wisdom and discernment.
January 8, 2019: Eternal Father, grant that bishops pray for all the presidents of conferences of bishops throughout the world who are preparing for the late February gathering in Rome to discuss the Church’s response to the abuse of minors. Graciously strengthen bishops for the task set before them.
The faithful can also join in a daily prayer written by Pope Benedict XVI:
Lord Jesus Christ, eternal High Priest, you offered yourself to the Father on the altar of the cross and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit gave your priestly people a share in your redeeming sacrifice. Hear our prayer for the sanctification of our priests. Grant that all who are ordained to the ministerial priesthood may be ever more conformed to you, the Divine Master. May they preach the Gospel with pure heart and clear conscience. Let them be shepherds according to your own heart, single-minded in service to you and to the Church, and shining examples of a holy, simple, and joyful life. Through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, your Mother and ours, draw all priests and the flocks entrusted to their care to the fullness of eternal life where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Please join in this important campaign! To register, email: email@example.com and type, “I’ll join the Mantle of Prayer Campaign.” In the email, please feel free to share the “spiritual bouquet” that you or your group will offer for bishops.
You may also register by visiting the website and “subscribe” on the homepage.