Monday, January 11, 2010

Petitions -- An Idea for Sundays

One last little intercessions thing. For those who go to Mass mostly on Sundays, some of what we've been talking about is probably a little moot. I don't know a lot of places where parishioners get the opportunity to actually share their prayers aloud on Sunday. Too many people, too big a space. Rather, somebody up front reads a set of petitions, and if you're lucky maybe they mention something about other prayers "in the silence of our hearts."

But -- if your parish staff is interested -- there are ways of still bringing people's individual prayers in. For instance, after the speaker prays for the sick and/or the dead, instead of moving right into the response, some places offer a long pause, maybe even step back from the ambo for a moment. The idea being, this is the moment where you can silently add your own prayers for those you know who are sick or have died.

And in other places, the congregation is invited to quietly say aloud the names of those they're thinking of who are sick or have died. If you've never been a part of something like that, it might seem a little kooky. And it seems from the outside like a little bit of a risk, saying a name aloud. But when a group gives themselves to it, even as individuals might overlap one another, it really does create a sense of us all participating in the prayer, offering our own thoughts and concerns. It's a little like wind passing through tree branches. They each sound as the wind moves through, but it's not the individual creaks or hush that you notice from below, but the loveliness of the overall.

Maybe you've seen other practices that work well.

No comments: