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Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer intentions for March ’11

March 5, 2011

Come back to the Lord with all your heart; leave the past in ashes, and turn to God with tears and fasting, for he is slow to anger and ready to forgive.  (Joel 2: 13)

The words of the prophet Joel on Ash Wednesday ring loud in March, with a late arrival of Lent this year.  And while his book is an apocalyptic one, calling the people to penance before the second coming – before it is too late – we are reminded to pray constantly even in the face of dismay.  Coincidental to current events, the Holy Father’s monthly intentions mirror the goings on in Africa.

General Intention
Latin American Nations.  That the nations of Latin America may walk in fidelity to the Gospel and progress in justice and peace.

How does the Gospel contribute to justice and peace?  Where do we fit in?

Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed, and lie in sackcloth and ashes?  This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:  releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke;  Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.  Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I AM!  Isaiah 58: 5-7, 9  

Mission Intention
Persecuted Christians.  That the Holy Spirit may give light and strength to those in many regions of the world who are persecuted and discriminated against because of the Gospel.

Have you ever been persecuted or discriminated against because of your faith?  How did you respond?  How does that experience help you understand and pray for the millions throughout the world who are persecuted? 
Do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say.  You will be given at that moment what you are to say.  For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.  Matthew 10: 19-20 

(Reflections and Scripture from the Apostleship of Prayer)


Prayer of the Month

Pope Benedict gave this prayer on His Holiness’ visit to Brazil in 2007:

Our Mother, protect the Latin American family.  Pray with your Son Jesus for their constant peace and prosperity.  Pour out upon our Latin American brothers and sisters a missionary ardor to spread faith and hope. Make your plea at Fatima for the conversion of sinners a reality that transforms our society.  Intercede, Mother, from the Shrine of Guadalupe for the people of the Continent of Hope.  Amen. 


Remember that stopping persecution starts at home!  When we join our spirits with the democracy movement abroad, praying for the Christian minorities caught in the middle of this Muslim strife, remember to notice the heads of those you are looking over the top of – the marginalized immigrant workers we fail to notice here at home.  They are the children of the Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, and the Star of the New Evangelization.  She reminds us of our brethren, too.



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