Our sixth grader's basketball games in our little Christian league always began with a prayer. Players, coaches and officials gathered at the center of the court and recited the same prayer each week from battered pieces of paper that were collected to be used again the following week.
But at one away game last season, somebody forgot to pack the prayer papers. There was a moment of stunned silence before one of the coaches on the opposing team volunteered to lead an extemporaneous prayer.
"It’s a good thing we’re playing a Baptist school," I whispered to the parent sitting next to me, "or we would have been here all day."
It's no secret that many lay Catholics in the United States are uncomfortable in the role of prayer leader. Usually, if a priest, brother or sister is present, we are happy to take a spiritual step back when it's time for group prayer, hoping that the spiritually educated will take the lead...