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Prayer Service Celebrating Religious Life

Opening Song: Where Charity and Love Prevail

(Based on Ubi caritas, 9th cent. Paul Benoit, Omer Westenforf)

Where Charity and love prevail, there God is ever found;
Brought here together by Christ’s love, by love are we thus bound.

With grateful joy and holy fear - God’s charity we learn;
Let us with heart and mind and soul - now love God in return.

Let us recall that in our midst - dwells God’s begotten son;
As members of his body joined, we are in Christ made one.

Reading: Luke 8:16-18

“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lamp stand so that those who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” The Gospel of the Lord.

(Silent Reflection)

Prayer of Petition

(based on selections from Vita Consecrata)

Leader: “The consecrated life may experience changes in its historical forms, but there is no change in the substance of a choice which finds expression in a radical gift of self for love of Jesus and every member of the human family.” (VC#3)

All: We pray that through our lives and work, we may manifest a radical love for God and God’s people.

Leader: “Community life is more than an instrument for carrying out a specific mission, community is a God-enlightened space in which to experience the hidden presence of the risen Lord.”

All: We pray that our life together may be experienced by us and by all who encounter us, as God enlightened space.

Leader: “The option for the poor is inherent in the very structure of love lived in Christ. All of Christ’s disciples are therefore held to this option; but those who wish to follow Jesus more closely, imitating his attitudes, cannot but feel involved in a very special way.” (VC#82)

All: We pray that our choice for the poor is not an option, but a mandate, at the heart of who we are. May our presence with and among the poor inspire others to join us in praying for and responding to the unmet needs of our brothers and sisters.

Leader: “Prophetic witness requires the constant and passionate search for God’s will, and the exploration of new ways to apply the Gospel in history, in expectation of the coming of God’s reign.” (VC#84)

All: We pray for a burning desire to proclaim God’s word with our lives as well as with our lips.

Leader: “Sometimes we ask ourselves: have we lost the capacity to attract new vocations? Besides promoting prayer for vocations, it is essential to act, encouraging in those called to consecrated life that free, willing, and generous response which carries into effect the grace of vocation. (VC#64)

All: May we be people of courage, willing to invite others to consider this way of life for the sake of God’s people.

Closing Prayer:

Prayer to Saint Gaspar to Obtain Love for the Precious Blood (From United in Prayer)

Leader: Saint Gaspar, you loved the Lord so much, having also followed the way of the Cross. For you, suffering and life’s difficulties were not an evil, but a sure sign that God works through such to purify us and lead us to holiness.

Thus you did not let yourself become discouraged when afflicted with physical suffering, fear, or inner trials. On the contrary, you lifted your gaze to the Lord, present on the cross. You believed in the love of God, communicated to us abundantly in the blood of Christ.

For you the Lord’s wounds were a refuge. In them you found peace, intimacy, and the heartfelt joy which you shared with others.

All: Saint Gaspar, help us to share in your faith, your hope, and your charity. May your example and intercession give us a true and firm love for the blood of Christ, which will help us to become ever more like Christ crucified.

We hope to praise this river of mercy not only with words, but with our whole life as well, so that the greatest number of people can find true happiness and eternal glory. Amen!

Blessing

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