Seven Days of Prayer for the Bishops' Retreat - Please Join Us


In case you hadn't heard, the United States bishops were asked by the pope to gather for a week long retreat led by the preacher of the papal household. The retreat will take place from January 2-8. In the words of Father Cantalamessa the preacher, it is "to lead a series of spiritual exercises for the episcopal conference so that the bishops, far from their daily commitments, in a climate of prayer and silence and in a personal encounter with the Lord, can receive the strength and light of the Holy Spirit to find the right solutions for the problems that afflict the U.S. church today" (source).

I have no doubt there are lots of opinions about this (which I'm intentionally unaware of). I just know that this is a gigantic opportunity for prayer and for God to move powerfully. I'm asking you to join a movement of people that will be praying and sacrificing from January 2-8 for the bishops during this retreat. May the Holy Spirit move powerfully and drench them with all His gifts. There are so many facets to this whole thing and so many emotions resulting from it but frustration, anger, confusion, and complaining alone are worthless. If anything they, on their own, just make a complex situation even worse. Even letter writing, campaigns, forums, and the like, while important, will be fruitless and potentially cause even more hurt to the Body if they are not coming from a place of deep prayer, discernment, and virtue.

(We'll be praying this every day during the retreat along with the intentions below. Please feel free to save and print this image if it helps.)

The Gospel from yesterday tells of when Our Lord is found preaching in the temple. There is confusion, perhaps fear, misunderstanding, and the whole situation can seem pretty messy. If the Holy Family dealt with that, then it certainly makes sense that our little families and the whole family of God is going to be way more so. But He's here in all of it. He is with us. He never left and He never will. Let our faith rest in that and may our prayer and sacrifices be effective in drawing as much grace, discernment, and healing as possible upon those at this retreat, those who have been hurt, and the entire Body of Christ.

The following is taken from an email from the Foundation of Prayer for Priests leading this effort that I'm simply passing along. Please consider joining in.

Seven days of intercessory prayer and sacrifice
for the U.S. Bishops Retreat, January 2-8, 2019.

Invitation: to all the faithful, clergy, laity, consecrated, individuals, prayer groups, apostolates, parishes, and dioceses.

Re: The Bishop's Retreat
The U.S. Bishops will gather for a retreat January 2nd to 8th, at Mundelein Seminary, Chicago, IL. Pope Francis suggested the bishops hold the retreat and offered the services of Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM, who has served as preacher of the papal household since 1980.

The theme of the bishop's retreat will be "the mission of the apostles and of their successors" and will draw from Mark 3:14, which says Jesus "appointed twelve - whom he also named apostles - that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach."

Commitment: 7 days of intercessory prayer and sacrifice for the bishops retreat

Re: Intercessory prayer (CCC 281-283)
The Catechism defines intercessory prayer as "a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did." Though he is the "one intercessor with the father on behalf of all men," we can be united to him in this form of prayer.

For a concrete example of intercessory prayer, the Holy Father points us to St. Paul, who tells the Philippians, "I constantly pray with you in every one of my prayers for all of you...because I hold you in my heart" (Phil 1:4, 7). "When evengelizers rise from prayer, their hearts are more open; freed from self-absorption...desirous of doing good and sharing their lives with others". When we intercede for others, "God's heart is touched" - our prayer has true power - and "yet, in reality, he is always there first."

Suggested Practices (one or more of the following)
  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
  6. Fasting/sacrifice
  7. Offering up your suffering
  8. Acts of reparation
Scripture Reflection: 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.

Suggested Daily Reflections 
(Based on the acronym ACTS: adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, supplication)

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 to promote 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.

Daily Prayer: 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 a pure heart and a 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, forever and ever. Amen.

No comments

Your nice comment makes my day. Thank you for taking the time to do that! Please know I read and appreciate every comment even if I can't always reply personally.