40 Lenten Lessons on the Mass.

Lesson 20: Prayers of the Faithful

There are four ‘ends’ of the Mass, just as there are four ‘ends’ of prayer: Petition, Adoration, Reparation, and Thanksgiving. Pope Benedict XVI observed that we are “at our most attentive in prayer of petition and prayer of thanksgiving.” When I read that observation, I thought about my own experience in prayer, and realized that it’s true.

The “Prayers of the Faithful” follow the homily, and while they are not mandatory at every Mass, I don’t know why you would omit them since we have such a wonderful opportunity to win God’s mercy by asking for His help.

The Priest introduces and closes the Prayers of the Faithful, while the reader(s) announces the various intentions and invites the congregation to pray by saying, “We pray to the Lord,” and the people respond, “Lord, hear our prayer.”

There is an order to the petitions, starting with universal needs of the Church and moving down to local needs, often mentioning by name the sick and recently deceased in the parish.

I always make a point of praying for the Holy Father and the Bishops, as well as for peace in the world and the special protection of Christians persecuted in the Mideast and Nigeria; I also remember to pray for mothers and the safety of unborn children and an increase in vocations . . .and the list could go on and on because there is an infinite amount of grace available at each Mass, so ‘why leave money sitting on the table’?

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