Thursday, 3 May 2012

More about praying outside the Cathedral

A few days into the Vigil I put some thoughts about praying outside the Cathedral on this post. Another week or so has elapsed and praying outside the Cathedral still feels right.

The attraction is not just about praying with the life of the City filling our senses – for the City is where we have to be Church, as is shown daily by so many people. It is also that praying there feels a bit vulnerable – it stretches us beyond our comfort zone.  It therefore feels like a place in which we can pray for renewal with integrity – for we want more laity to take risks and challenge their leaders, their leaders to challenge the Cardinals and the Cardinals to assert their roles in the Vatican – with all of us, even including the Curia, being brought out from our comfort zones of churchiness into… into what??  Into something new and deeper than the malaise we have now, a malaise indicated by the silencings, the Mass text, the inadequate ways in which we envision and express priesthood and ministry,….

Tonight we prayed that people would hear the challenge to protest and accept that risk of standing out. 


  1. You might be interested in some Pentecost petitions drawn up by a small group of members of a parish in Vermont in the US, some years ago:

    As part of our response to the crisis now besetting the Church, both in North America and abroad, we, as concerned laymen and laywomen, call for Sunday May 19, 2002, the Feast of Pentecost, to be considered a Special Day of Prayer for the Reform of the Church. To that end, we suggest the use of any or all of the following petitions, to be read following the Gospel that tells us of God’s sending of his Holy Spirit to dwell among us.

    * * * * *

    On this Feast of Pentecost, when the whole Church gathers in faith to celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit, and that Spirit’s indwelling in all who seek to follow the Lord’s ways, we pray for our Church, and for strength in the adversities that beset it.

    We pray for the men, women, and children who have been the victims of those holding positions of authority in the Church, whether through an abuse of trust, through arrogance, or the simple failure to understand their duties and accountabilities to the faithful.

    We pray that we, as laywomen and laymen, may be strong in a time of adversity, that we put aside despair and cynicism, so that we in turn may become a source of strength and help to those leaders who sincerely seek our help in their living out of the values of the Gospel.

    We pray that the Church become truly Catholic, genuinely universal and open, humbly ready to learn from the experiences of others: from our sister churches, from all others who seek to follow in the ways of the Lord, and in particular, from the wisdom and examples of the laywomen and laymen whom it should be serving.

    We pray that the leaders of the Church, in their fidelity to Christ’s call, put aside the external trappings of pomp, power, and mere earthly prestige, so that they may never confuse organizational forms, ranks, and hierarchies, with the their mission to preach and to live out the values of the Gospel.

    We pray that we all, women and men, lay and clerical, may never lack the courage to answer the Spirit’s invitation for the reformation of our own lives, of our own ways, and of the Church that we all, in our different callings, seek to serve.

  2. Thanks Nicholas!
    We've had some wild weather outside the Cathedral (not only there, I hasten to add - it has been wet and windy across Scotland) so I've been preparing a one-page prayer handout to laminate for use at the vigil - the prayers we typically use either side of the silence. I'd like to use your Vermont group's prayers on the flip-side. I'll soon be posting this as a page on this blog so anyone so inclined can pray it from where they are. If you or the group wants any further attribution do let me know and I'll add it.

    Did that prayer initiative persist in any way?

    Again, thanks for the comment.