by Alice Ann Pfeifer, CSA
We know that Lent is six weeks long. We begin Lent in what may seem like the grip of winter. We usually celebrate Easter in the spring. And while most of the school year is history by this time, weary catechists and students know full well that it’s not yet time to take an extended vacation. In short, this is a month of living in the between times. Dag Hammerskjöld, twentieth-century diplomat and author, wrote a short prayer that is especially good for us to recall at this time of year: “For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes.”
Two readers are needed for this prayer service. You also will need soft instrumental music and a music player. Cover your prayer table with a violet cloth on place on it a crucifix, a lit candle, a green plant, an empty basket, and a small placard on which you’ve lettered Hammerskjöld’s prayer. Provide everyone present with an index card and a pen or pencil.
Leader: Our prayer today is divided into two parts. First we reflect on the blessings we have received since beginning the year as volunteer catechists. Then we ask God for all the help we need to complete the work we have begun. Turn on the soft music.
As yourself this question: What is one of the greatest blessings I have received during this year of teaching? Think about your answer and compose a short prayer of thanks for that particular blessing. Write your prayer on the index card. When the music is turned off, all cards will be collected and used as part of our prayer. When the music concludes, pass around the basket to collect the cards. Then return it to the prayer table.
First Reader: Colossians 3:12-16 (let peace control your hearts; be thankful)
Leader: Our response to each prayer of thanks will be the opening words of Psalm 106: Give thanks to the Lord, who is good, whose mercy endures forever.
All: Give thanks to the Lord, who is good, whose mercy endures forever.
One by one, the leader draws a card from the basket, reads it aloud, and concludes, “Let us give thanks.” The group answers with the response. After all cards have been read:
Leader: Lord, we are encouraged by all the blessings we have received during this year of serving you as catechists. We praise you, O Lord, and we bless you.
All: For you have sent the word of Christ to dwell in us richly.
Leader: Our year of teaching God’s children is not yet complete, and so we rely on God’s continuing help to finish the work we have begun.
Second Reader: Lamentations 3:22-26 (God’s favors are never exhausted)
Leader: Our response to each petition will be “We hope in silence for your saving help, O Lord.”
All: We hope in silence for your saving help, O Lord.
Leader: Lord God, help us use well the time we have left with the children you have entrusted to us, we pray. R.
Lord God, help us remain patient yet firm with our most restless and challenging students, we pray. R.
Lord God, help us see and respond to the needs of our quietest and shyest students, we pray. R.
Lord God, help us plan lessons that stir the hearts and minds of your children, we pray. R.
Lord God, help us grow in our faith so that we might help your children grow in theirs, we pray. R.
Lord God, help us persevere in our efforts, especially when discouragement or fatigue weakens us, we pray. R.
Lord God, help us teach as Jesus did, we pray. R.
Leader: Lord God, you are indeed good to all those who wait for your favors, and your favors are without end. For all that has been, we thank you, Lord God. For all that will be, we say yes.
All: Thank you, Lord. Yes, Lord. Amen. Amen.
Sister Alice Ann Pfeifer, CSA, has worked in religious education as a teacher and writer for the past 25 years. She holds a master’s degree in pastoral studies from St. Joseph’s College of Maine and presently resides in Fond du Lac, WI.
© CATECHIST, March 2014. Peter Li, Inc. Dayton, OH 45439
Permission is granted to copy for community prayer.
Copyright 2014, Bayard, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, redisseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Bayard, Inc.
This article was written by the Catechist Staff and appeared in Catechist magazine, July 2014.
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