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Pray & Learn About Our Faith

How to Pray

“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”  -St. Therese of Lisieux 

Five ways we can offer ourselves in prayer

God invites us into a relationship with Him that is both personal and communal. He speaks to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Word-made-flesh. Prayer is our response to God who is already speaking or, better yet, revealing Himself to us. Therefore, prayer is not merely an exchange of words, but it engages the whole person in a relationship with God the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit.

From the Catholic Digest
“The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” — Pope Benedict XVI
Why the Lord sees fit for us to experience the discomforts in life is a mystery. But he does promise us glory in the end if we remain faithful to his will. “But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13). So how can we pray when his will seems to place us outside of our comfort zones?
These five ways may help us stay in the confidence of the salvation awaiting us.
Ask. God knows we’re human. He made us this way! So the first and most natural reaction we experience when in pain is to cry out for help. And God is pleased, for he tells us to ask (see Matthew 7:7). If the blind man in Jesus’ time asked for pity, it’s a lesson for us to do the same. Christ will turn his gaze toward us and help us (see Mark 10:46-52). This form of prayer is not so much for God as it is for us. God never changes, especially in his great love for us. Though sin and suffering mark this broken stage of salvation history, we have a Savior who came into our mess to heal and restore us to wholeness.
Listen. After we ask in prayer, a beautiful and powerful next step is to listen to God’s response. Imagine your heart as a blank sheet of paper on which he can write his own words of love to you. The big lie during time outside the comfort zone is that we have been abandoned by God. We somehow begin to think we may have done something wrong and must suffer because of it. Fear, shame, and guilt can easily creep in when we have suffered a wound of the heart.
Here is the complete article on Catholic Digest.

What is Prayer?

Talking to God and to the Saints

What is prayer

By Scott P. Richert

Prayer is a form of communication, a way of talking to God or to the saints. Prayer may formal or informal. While formal prayer is an important element of Christian worship, prayer itself is not synonymous with worship or adoration.

The Origin of the Term
The word pray is first found in Middle English, meaning to “ask earnestly.” It comes from the Old French preier, which is derived from the Latin word precari, which simply means to entreat or ask. In fact, although pray is not often used this way anymore, it can simply mean “please,” as in “pray continue your story.”

Talking to God
While we often think of prayer primarily as asking God for something, prayer, properly understood, is a conversation with God or with the saints. Just as we cannot hold a conversation with another person unless he can hear us, the very act of praying is an implicit recognition of the presence of God or the saints here with us. And in praying, we strengthen that recognition of the presence of God, which draws us closer to Him. That is why the Church recommends that we pray frequently and make prayer an important part of our daily lives.

Talking With the Saints
Many people (Catholics included) find it odd to speak of “praying to the saints.” But if we understand what prayer truly means, we should recognize that there is no problem with this phrase. The trouble is that many Christians confuse prayer with worship, and they understand quite rightly that worship belongs to God alone, and not to the saints. But while Christian worship always includes prayer, and many prayers are written as a form of worship, not all prayer is worship. Indeed, prayers of adoration or worship are only one of the five types of prayer.

How Should I Pray?
How one prays depends on the purpose of one’s prayer. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in discussing the five types of prayer in paragraphs 2626 through 2643, provides examples and pointers on how to engage in each type of prayer.
Most people find it easier to begin praying by making use the traditional prayers of the Church, such as the ten prayers every Catholic child should know or the rosary. Structured prayer helps us focus our thoughts and reminds us of the way in which to pray.
But as our prayer life deepens, we should advance beyond written prayer to a personal conversation with God. While written prayers or prayers that we have memorized will always be a part of our prayer life—after all, the Sign of the Cross, with which Catholics begin most of their prayers, is itself a prayer—over time we should learn to speak with God and with the saints as we would with our fellow men and women (though always, of course, maintaining a proper reverence).

The Holy Spirit speaking through the Church provides prayers that are the wellspring for the prayer life of all Catholics.

Praying the Rosary

The Holy Spirit speaking through the Church provides prayers that are the wellspring for the prayer life of all Catholics.

The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium. It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer.
—From On the Most Holy Rosary 

The Rosary is a Scripture-based prayer. It begins with the Apostles’ Creed, which summarizes the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. The Our Father, which introduces each mystery, is from the Gospels. The first part of the Hail Mary is the angel’s words announcing Christ’s birth and Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary. St. Pius V officially added the second part of the Hail Mary. The Mysteries of the Rosary center on the events of Christ’s life. There are four sets of Mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and––added by Pope John Paul II in 2002––the Luminous.

The repetition in the Rosary is meant to lead one into restful and contemplative prayer related to each Mystery. The gentle repetition of the words helps us to enter into the silence of our hearts, where Christ’s spirit dwells. The Rosary can be said privately or with a group.

Here at St. Columba, the Rosary is prayed each day before the morning Mass.

Are you new or out of practice with the Rosary? Or maybe you would like to try a new format for the Rosary? You can go to to pray either in real time with people around the world, or in individual mode, in English or Spanish. Or, use the parish app, under the “prayers” button, select “Rosary.” Or, use an app such as iRosary for an interactive Rosary experience on a tablet or smart phone.
You can also use YouTube to watch instructive videos such as “Virtual Rosary” while saying the rosary, or use podcasts such as “A Rosary Companion” to hear and join the rosary while on the move. Our own Youtube channel also has Rosary videos made with Msgr. Lawrence last year. Even in this technological age, there are endless opportunities to pray the Rosary.

Rosary Websites

Come Pray the Rosary
The Rosary Center

How to Pray the Rosary

Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel

St. Michael (his name in Hebrew means “Who is like God”) is one of the archangels and a powerful protector of those who serve Our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Michael is also a patron of those who work in dangerous situations, such as police, paramedics, and soldiers.
The 15th-century St. Lawrence Justinian once said, “Let all acknowledge St. Michael as their protector and be devoted to him, for he cannot despise those who pray to him… But he guards them through life, directs them on their way, and conducts them to their eternal home.”
Many years later, in 1884, Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903; pope from 1878-1903) prescribed the praying of the St. Michael Prayer (which he composed) after Low Masses. This practice was continued universally until 1964.
In 1994, Pope St. John Paul II asked us to pray the St. Michael Prayer: “Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.” In many parishes today, this powerful prayer is now prayed before or after Mass.
This prayer is a prayer against evil, so when we pray the St. Michael Prayer, we are praying for protection from evil in our lives and in our world:

Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and the other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

In 1935, St. Faustina received a vision of an angel sent by God to chastise a certain city. She began to pray for mercy, but her prayers were powerless. Suddenly she saw the Holy Trinity and felt the power of Jesus’ grace within her. At the same time, she found herself pleading with God for mercy with words she heard interiorly:

Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us. (Diary, 475)

As she continued saying this inspired prayer, the angel became helpless and could not carry out the deserved punishment (see 474). The next day, as she was entering the chapel, she again heard this interior voice, instructing her how to recite the prayer that our Lord later called “the Chaplet.” This time, after “have mercy on us” were added the words “and on the whole world” (476). From then on, she recited this form of prayer almost constantly, offering it especially for the dying.

Friends of Mercy logo

What’s Friends of Mercy?

For more than 60 years, the Marians of the Immaculate Conception have helped thousands of people discover this healing message of God’s merciful love. Whether you are just learning about Divine Mercy or you’ve been touched by it for years, Friends of Mercy will inspire you to grow deeper in faith and to allow God’s mercy to transform your life and the lives of those around you.

Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated annually on the Sunday after Easter, the ninth day after the death of Jesus.

The Blessings of First Friday Adoration

According to the words of Christ through His apparitions to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, there are several promises to those that practice the First Friday Devotions:

“In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.”

The devotion consists of several practices that are performed on the first Fridays of nine consecutive months. On these days, a person is to attend Holy Mass and receive communion. If the need arises, in order to receive communion in a state of grace, a person should also make use of the Sacrament of Penance before attending Mass.

How did the First Friday Devotion begin?

While some saints referenced the Heart of Jesus in their writings even centuries earlier, in 1673, a French Visitandine (Visitation) nun named Margaret Mary Alacoque had visions of Jesus, wherein he asked the Church to honor His Most Sacred Heart. In particular, Jesus asked the faithful to “receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months.”

The request was connected to a specific promise made to all who venerated and promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart. After Margaret Mary’s death, the First Friday practice steadily spread in the Church — endorsed by popes and promoted by saints — but it greatly increased in popularity when Margaret Mary was canonized a saint in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.

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First Friday Websites

First Friday Devotions

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