Prayers for Life
Saint Paul writes, “First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior,” (I Tim 2:1-3).
The Prayers of the Faithful, or intercessions, are a very important part of the celebration of the Holy Mass. The General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM) says, “In the Universal Prayer or Prayer of the Faithful, the people respond in some sense to the Word of God which they have received in faith and, exercising the office of their baptismal Priesthood, offer prayers to God for the salvation of all. It is desirable that there usually be such a form of prayer in Masses celebrated with the people, so that petitions may be offered for holy Church, for those who govern with authority over us, for those weighed down by various needs, for all humanity, and for the salvation of the whole world.”
In their Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities, the U.S. Bishops emphatically state –
In our present social context, marked by a dramatic struggle between the “culture of life” and the “culture of death”, there is need to develop a deep critical sense, capable of discerning true values and authentic needs.
Quoting Blessed John Paul II they observe –
What is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life. All together, we must build a new culture of life.
In response to the current crisis of respect for the sanctity of human life and the dignity of all persons, the Bishops call for pro-life petitions (prayers of the Faithful) at every Mass.
Typically, when I am leading the prayers, I will pray –
– For the Church: Our Holy Father, our Bishop, all the Bishops in communion together, the clergy, the religious, the consecrated and the lay faithful, that we may be witnesses to the gift of life and love to the world…
– For all elected and appointed officials, and all those responsible for public policy, that they may keep before them the sanctity of every human life, the dignity of every person and the common good of all people.
– For the sick and the suffering, the weak and vulnerable, those without advocates or voices; the preborn, their mothers and fathers, the aging, those deemed terminally ill, the disabled, the incapacitated, subjects of scientific experiments that injure and destroy life, those who feel hopeless and helpless, the mentally and emotionally ill, the homeless, those without a nation or country to defend and protect their rights, victims of violence, those condemned to death and victims of war.
– For dying and those who have died, that they may see the face of God and enjoy Him forever.
The Pro-Life Secretariat of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops publishes the Word of Life series (on line and hard copy) as an easy way to follow their instruction that a pro-life petition be prayed at every Mass. While their stated purpose is to “develop a deep critical sense” of the respect for all human life and the dignity of all persons, it is not necessary to always mention abortion. The whole range of concerns for human life may be included over a reasonable course of time, weekly, monthly or seasonally. Still, the Bishops have called for some expression of the aspirations of the Gospel of Life in the petitions at every Mass.
In the words of the Bishops, in this way “we proclaim that human life is a precious gift from God; that each person who receives this gift has responsibilities toward God, self, and others; and that society, through its laws and social institutions, must protect and nurture human life at every stage of its existence.” Lord, hear our prayer, amen!
THE WORD OF LIFE pro-life petitions can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/resources-for-the-eucharist/word-of-life/
Pro Life prayers can be found at: http://www.priestsforlife.org/prayers/index.aspx