May – Month of Mary

MAY – THE MONTH OF MARY     It is a long and honourable tradition that the month of May is the Month of Mary. But why? Mary allowed the Holy Spirit to to fill her life and re-shape her future – and she gave flesh, humanity to the Son of God. In becoming the mother of the Saviour of the World she said yes also to a unique relationship with the world He saved! Forever she now holds the whole world in her heart of prayer, interceding, bring God’s love within her to bear upon the pain and struggles of the world and its peoples. If she loves her Son, she loves the world He died for! She teaches us how to love, how to intercede, how to heal, how to walk in solidarity with a pained world, helping it to come to a new birth.

‘Come Holy Spirit’

NOVENA TO THE HOLY SPIRIT This is the first and greatest Novena of Prayer in the Church’s tradition, opening ourselves and the Church to the mighty wind of the Spirit – the energy for Mission; opening to the Living Water of the Spirit welling up to Life in all its fulness; opening to the Flam and Fire of God’s Spirit that transforms us into flames of Divine Love in the heart of the world. Without the Spirit of God in us we can do nothing for God, without the Spirit of God we have no real life, without the Spirit of God we have no vision for our mission, no energy to serve the Gospel and the Kingdom. COME HOLY SPIRIT!

CONFIRMATION AND THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT  Our God, Abba our loving Father, loves to pour Divine Gifts upon us whom He loves.  He poured the Holy Spirit into our hearts at our conception so that we could be human – made in the Divine Image and Likeness. In Baptism He pours the Spirit again so that we can experience Him as the love that fulfils our lives and draws us into profound intimacy with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the  The Sacrament of Confirmation, the final step in ‘Initiation’ into the Body of Christ, God pours His Spirit into our being to gift us for Mission and Ministry, gifts us so that we can be gift to the Church and to the world. Holy Spirit comes to empower the Christian for ministry in the Body of Christ and mission to the world in the name of Christ. It is an essential part of our growing into Christ that we not only experience His love but become His Love for others. So the Holy Spirit comes with charisms and gifts to equip us as co-workers with Jesus Christ in the immense task of building up God’s Church, proclaiming the Gospel, the Good News, bringing healing and hope to the broken and oppressed, and ultimately ‘renewing the face of the earth’!

PRAYER & REFLECTION FOR DAY OF PRAYER FOR VICTIMS/SURVIVORS OF ABUSE

[1]          A LITANY – can be used in place of intercessions

We invite him to accompany us as we pray:

                      R. Stay with us, Lord. Stay with us, Lord,
                      Stay with us, Lord. Your presence calms our fears.

When trust is fragile.
When voices go unheard.
When we are unable to pray.

                      R. Stay with us, Lord. Stay with us, Lord,
                      Stay with us, Lord. Your presence calms our fears.

When suffering is endured. When memories are reawakened. When we feel betrayed.

                      R. Stay with us, Lord. Stay with us, Lord,
                      Stay with us, Lord. Your presence calms our fears.

When darkness weighs upon us. When we cannot see you.
When burdens feel too heavy.

                      R. Stay with us, Lord. Stay with us, Lord,
                      Stay with us, Lord. Your presence calms our fears.

When hope seems faint.
When we are weak.
When faith seems difficult.

                      R. Stay with us, Lord. Stay with us, Lord,
                      Stay with us, Lord. Your presence calms our fears.

[2]    A PRAYER TO BE SAID TOGETHER POSSIBLY AFTER COMMUNION

God of endless love,
ever caring, ever strong,
always present, always just:
you gave your only Son
to save us by the blood of his cross.

Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace, join to your own suffering
the pain of all who have been hurt in body, mind and spirit

by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.

Hear the cries of our brothers and sisters who have been harmed,
and the cries of those who love them. Soothe their restless hearts with hope, steady their shaken spirits with faith. Grant them justice for their cause, enlightened by your truth.

Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts,
heal your people’s wounds
and transform brokenness into wholeness. Grant us the courage and wisdom,
humility and grace to act with justice. Breathe wisdom into our prayers and labours. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

[3]      A PRAYER FOR HEALING AND RECONCILIATION

Praise to you Father of our Lord Jesus Christ the source of all consolation and hope.
Be the refuge and guardian of all
who suffer from abuse and violence.

Comfort them and send healing
for their wounds of the body, soul and spirit.
Help us all and make us one with you
in your love for justice
as we deepen our respect for the dignity of every human life.

Giver of peace, make us one in celebrating your praise, both now and forever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

“Jesus made the crowds welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing.”

(This prayer was prepared by Northampton Diocese)

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

PRIEST:    We celebrate the wonder of our unity with Jesus and our unity with each other in Jesus: for we make up the Vine that He is.  It is the Church’s calling to be of one stock with Christ, branches of the Risen Lord reaching out in fruitfulness to all the earth. If our love for one another and for our and God’s world is not just mere talk, if we remain in and true to His Word, then we shall indeed bear fruit in plenty for the world to taste of God through us. If the Vine that is the Church is to bear the full weight of God’s fruitfulness,  we must enrich the unity of the Church, value our relationship together and allow ourselves to be lovingly and carefully pruned – such is the mercy and forgiveness of God.

READER:                 For preferring comfortable self-illusions
                                     to the sometimes painful Word of truth pruning us
and setting us free

                                                          LORD HAVE MERCY…

For hiding from the mercy and forgiveness of God
that will prune us into wholeness, humanity and holiness

                                                          CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

For hurting the unity of the Christian community
by our jealousies and resentments,
our narrow minds and closed hearts

                                                          LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:        May the endless mercy of God make its home within us;
                          may the Word of Christ prune us with forgiveness;
                          may the Spirit heal us into the strong unity of the Divine Vine;
                          so that we might all bear the fruit of everlasting life

                                                            AMEN!

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

For the unity of the Church, the Vine of God bearing the fruit of love in the world:  for Pope Francis, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, for the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Moscow, Free Church and Pentecostal leaders

                              LORD WE PRAY…
                              Glorify Your Name…

That the world might bear the fruit of peace where there is war, harmony where there is hostility, justice where there is oppression and freedom where people are powerless: we pray for all the peoples of the Middle East, in particular the Yemen, and those suffering in Myanmar, Mali and Hong Kong that their right to peace, security and freedom will be respected by all

                              LORD WE PRAY…
                              Glorify Your Name…

That our catechumens, preparing for the Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist will always stay close to Jesus, as Branches on the Vine, and draw life, truth and love from the Spirit of Christ, and experience the excitement of living in the Holy Spirit  and using their gifts to shape the Vine of Christ, the Church

                              LORD WE PRAY…
                              Glorify Your Name…

We pray for the Spirit of Wisdom to guide us as we vote in Local Government Elections: may God raise up good leadership and may the voices of the poor and marginalised be heard and their needs addressed 

                              LORD WE PRAY…
                              Glorify Your Name…

For more humane and just immigration policies in our land that will listen with compassion to the cries of those fleeing war, oppression and poverty; for a Home Office reformed and fit for purpose; for an end to the denial of the right to  work for those those seeking safe sanctuary among us 

                              LORD WE PRAY…
                              Glorify Your Name…

For the healing of the wounded branches of the Vine: we pray for all bearing the wounds of abuse, for the people of India suffering from Covid, for greater equality of health-care and vaccination provision around the world, and in particular for …
for all who have died recently, especially …. and those who have died of Covid or because of war, terror and poverty;
for all whose anniversaries are at this time

                              LORD WE PRAY…
                              Glorify Your Name…

Mary, Mother of the Church who bore the fruit that is Christ, pray with us for the unity and mission of our Church…

                             HAIL MARY…

We pray in a moment of silence…

FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – Good Shepherd Sunday

The Church’s deepest call is to love without limit: may all humanity know the love the Father lavishes upon us – may the love Christians bear one another unite the Church and heal our world … we pray especially for our Chief Shepherd, Pope Francis and our own Bishop Declan: may they listen to God’s People so as to guide us wisely and courageously

                               [reader:]              LORD YOU CALL US…
                               [response:]        YOUR WILL BE DONE…

The World’s call is to be human and in this pivotal decade to heal creation itself,  to protect the life and well-being of every person and the planet we share:  that all races and nations will struggle for peace rather than struggle in war: for the peoples of Middle East, the Congo, Mali and Cameroon and the world’s many theatres of conflict; for a more humane heart in the UK and Europe to those migrants who risk their lives to escape terror and poverty; for decisive action to combat global warming for future generations

                               [reader:]              LORD YOU CALL US…
                               [response:]        YOUR WILL BE DONE…

Our Parish Community’s call is to embrace Jesus’ challenge to be the Shepherd for the people of the Inner City: may we be God’s ‘field hospital’, gathering the poor and broken into healing, hope and life, and challenging every form of racism and discrimination: following the Shepherd may we reach out to all and inviting them to the Table of the Lord

                               [reader:]              LORD YOU CALL US…
                               [response:]        YOUR WILL BE DONE…

Some are called to ordained ministry or the religious life:  for the students of our Diocese studying for the priesthood in seminaries and for those preparing for the permanent diaconate;  for our young women and men that they might welcome God’s call to serve with their whole lives in ordained Ministry and Religious Life; for the Church that we might be open to new forms of ministry that the Spirit calls and shapes in our age and for our world

                               [reader:]              LORD YOU CALL US…
                               [response:]        YOUR WILL BE DONE…

All of us are equally called through Baptism and Confirmation to holiness and to ministry:  for catechumens preparing for Baptism and Confirmation in the coming weeks; may we all answer the call to be shepherds one to another, serving the Kingdom and the Gospel, with love for one another and our world; that those called to the single life or to Christian marriage may give themselves faithfully to their particular vocation

                               [reader:]              LORD YOU CALL US…
                               [response:]        YOUR WILL BE DONE…

We are all called to life and wholeness:  for all suffering from Covid, especially in India at this time and for all health-care workers caring for them; the housebound of our parish, and for …;
for all who have died recently, especially … Fr Hans Kung and all who have perished on the refugee journey to freedom;
for those whose anniversaries occur at this time: Stephen Lawrence, and …

                               [reader:]              LORD YOU CALL US…
                               [response:]        YOUR WILL BE DONE…

Let us ask Mary, who uttered her ‘Yes’ to God’s Call,  to pray that each will embrace our vocation more profoundly …                                                   

                                                                  HAIL MARY…

Let us pray in a moment of silence to listen to the voice of the Shepherd and follow him…

FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – Good Shepherd Sunday

PRIEST:  Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd – as the Flock of Christ we know we are safe and nurtured when we listen to His Voice, follow Him and walk His pathways of New Life. He is the Good Shepherd who calls to us, speaks to our heart. He also lays down his life for his sheep – for us. We discover our true life with him, as he challenges us to live our own particular vocation.  Indeed we all share the vocation to live for others, to be witnesses to the glorious truth of Christ, bearers of His transforming love to our world. We now pause to examine how well we have answered our special vocation.

READER:       not making space in our busy lives and noisy hearts
                             to listen to the voice of the Shepherd

                                                  LORD HAVE MERCY…

                            For listening to the voices of ambition and selfishness,
                            the voices of security and safe-options,
                            and not following the Shepherd where he leads us

                                                  CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

                           For when we leave the work of serving our community to others,
                           and do not play our part in building the Church or the Kingdom –
                           for the times we are not being a  shepherd to each other

                                                  LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:     May the God who calls us into life, forgive us;
                       May our Redeemer and Shepherd, Jesus,
                                   free us with his mercy;
                      May the Holy Spirit empower us to give of ourselves          with generosity
                      and so find everlasting life…

                                                   AMEN!

SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – ‘LOW’ SUNDAY

PRIEST:  On this Octave Day of easter we hear in the Gospel a story of doubt that becomes magnificent faith;  a story of wounds that breath peace and healing;  a story of frightened empty men who become courageous in the Holy Spirit;  a story of a community witnessing the Risen Christ.  It is the story not only of the apostles, but also of each one of us;  not only the early Church,  but the Church of every age and land – the story of our own parish.  Let us welcome the Risen Jesus among us to transform us and our community – that we might be life-givers.

READER:             We give thanks for God’s mercy, flowing from the Father’s love
for He has brought us from doubt to deeper faith

                                                       LORD HAVE MERCY…

                                   We give thanks for God’s mercy, made flesh in Jesus the Crucified
for his wounds are our peace

                                                       CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

                                 We give thanks for God’s mercy, breathed into us by the Holy Spirit
for he has filled our emptiness
                                and sent us as bearers of reconciling love

                                                       LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:           May God our creator give us the peace of his forgiveness;
                            may the Risen Jesus heal our wounds and transform our weak love;
                           may the Spirit breathe new courage and deeper faith,
                           reconciling us to everlasting life…

                                                      AMEN!

Second Sunday of Easter – ‘Low’ Sunday

Thomas remained in doubt until he returned to the community of faith:  for the unity of all God’s Church,  that together we will offer to an unbelieving world a convincing sign of faith, proclaiming the Risen Lord of the Church

                 [reader]                        JESUS IS RISEN…
                 [response:]                 HE IS TRULY RISEN!

Thomas saw and he believed:  for a world that cannot believe because they cannot see;  for a world that cannot believe because they cannot hope;  for a world that cannot believe because they cannot trust – that Christians everywhere and in our Parish will draw many to a renewed faith in the Risen Christ

                 [reader]                        JESUS IS RISEN…
                 [response:]                 HE IS TRULY RISEN!

Jesus vanquishes death: as we pray eternal life for Prince Philip, we ask the Comforter, the Holy Spirit to console and strengthen the faith of his widow, Queen Elizabeth and all the Royal Family

                 [reader]                        JESUS IS RISEN…
                 [response:]                 HE IS TRULY RISEN!

Jesus’ wounds were healing for broken disciples:  may we have the courage to face our own brokenness,  walk with others in their brokenness with an unconditional love,  and allow miracles of healing to flow from our community: we pray especially for our refugee and LBGT friends, that the pain of rejection and judgement may be soon healed

                 [reader]                        JESUS IS RISEN…
                 [response:]                 HE IS TRULY RISEN!

Jesus sent his disciples to touch the wounds of the world, forgiving and reconciling:  that the Church of God will challenge the madness of knife and gun crimes in our cities and towns; will challenge war and terrorism, creating peace and miracles of new beginnings, especially throughout the Middle East and conflict torn parts of Africa; for all communities of Reconciliation – Corrymeela in Northern Ireland; Taizé in France; Pax Christi throughout the world; may we all be living parables of reconciliation

                 [reader]                        JESUS IS RISEN…
                 [response:]                 HE IS TRULY RISEN!

Jesus speaks the Easter ‘Peace’:  may we always serve peace in our fractured world:  serve healing for every distressed heart and wounded mind especially those traumatised by refugee journeys; for peace, harmony and justice in the streets and homes of our City of Bristol

                 [reader]                        JESUS IS RISEN…
                 [response:]                 HE IS TRULY RISEN!

Jesus comes among them and heals:  for the sick of body and mind, and for all who are darkened by depression; we pray in particular for all suffering with the Corona virus and for all caring for them and families anxious for them: …. ;
May Risen Lord share His Resurrection with all who have died recently, especially Prince Philip,  Fr Hans Kung, the victims of Covid-19 and all killed by terror and conflict
and for all whose anniversaries are at this time: …

                 [reader]                        JESUS IS RISEN…
                 [response:]                 HE IS TRULY RISEN!

Mary,  sharing most fully the Resurrection of Jesus, pray with us and for us…
HAIL MARY…

Let us pray in a moment of the silence of peace…