With Christianity being wiped out in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East and so many truly important things to pray for in the New Year consistent with our Catholic faith and what the Catholic Church teaches us to pray for, we regret to inform you that a church in the Archdiocese of Boston under Cardinal Sean O’Malley is holding a prayer vigil this Saturday with 7 hours of prayer “to express our desire to be free of prejudice and fear of difference,” including fear of difference with respect to sexuality, race and gender.
The flyer below from last weekend’s parish bulletin at St. Marys in Foxboro can be found below. The pastor is Fr. Steven Madden, known for constantly citing the New England Patriots in his homilies. It appears that he and the organizers are confusing what is appropriate for Catholics to pray for. The flyer says there will be Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 4-11pm on January 3, with individual hours for prayer, including for “Those hated because of sexuality.” Yup. They are not praying that those who suffer from homosexual attractions or engage in homosexual activity experience conversion to God’s plan and a life of holiness. Their other prayer intentions include to be free of prejudice for refugees, immigrants, and those oppressed by race.
A parishioner commented to BCI in disbelief about how their local parish was subtly yet blatantly endorsing secular societal view points and using the Blessed Sacrament for “their propaganda…Am I supposed to support this?”
We would advise parishioners to pray elsewhere, and we would express the concerns a little differently. The Catechism of the Council of Trent says the following about what we should pray for:
What We Should Pray For
Under the head of each Petition we shall point out in its proper place, what is, and what is not a proper object of prayer. Hence it will suffice here to remind the faithful in a general way that they ought to ask of God such things as are just and good, lest, praying for what is not suitable, they may be repelled in these words: You know not what you ask. Whatever it is lawful to desire, it is lawful to pray for, as is proved by the Lord’s ample promise: You shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you, words in which He promises to grant all things.
In the first place, then, the standard which should regulate all our wishes is that we desire above all else God, the supreme Good. After God we should most desire those things which unite us most closely to Him; while those which would separate us from Him, or occasion that separation, should have no share whatever in our affections.
Goods Of The Mind
It is also lawful to pray for the goods and adornments of the mind, such as a knowledge of the arts and sciences, provided our prayers are accompanied with this condition, that they serve to promote the glory of God and our own salvation.
The only thing which can be absolutely and unconditionally the object of our wishes, our desires and our prayers, is, as we have already observed, the glory of God, and, next to it, whatever can serve to unite us to that supreme Good, such as faith and the fear and love of God, of which we shall treat at length when we come to explain the Petitions.
The Prayer Of Petition Should Be Offered For All
We are to pray for all mankind, without exception of enemies, nation or religion; for every man, be he enemy, stranger or infidel, is our neighbour, whom God commands us to love, and for whom, therefore, we should discharge a duty of love, which is prayer. To the discharge of this duty the Apostle exhort: when he says: I desire that prayer be made for all men. In such prayers we should first ask for those things that concern spiritual interests, and next for what pertains to temporal welfare.
Those For Whom We Should Especially Offer Our Petitions: Pastors, Rulers Of Our Country, The Just, Enemies And Those Outside The Church (those that persecute us), The Dead, Sinners
In short, we should most desire those things which unite us most closely to God. Praying for those marginalized by society is fine. But if the parish and pastor cannot or will not pray for intentions such as spiritual goods, goods of the mind, the conversion of sinners, for Catholics and Christians persecuted because of their faith, the protection of life from the moment of conception to natural death, or the intentions referenced above from the Catechism, then there seems to a fundamental misunderstanding of the Catholic faith at this church. Pray for the conversion of heart of the pastor, Fr. Steven Madden. Forward this blog post to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.