From our pastor Father Neil Herlihy
 
Many families have recently returned from summer vacations and their children will soon be starting school again, and will be settling into a certain routine. This may be a good time to remind families of the need for daily prayer in the midst of their busy lives.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has challenged families to pray together as a true sign of Christian witness. He spoke of the Christian family as an institution that prays, keeps faith, and experiences joy.  He reflected on the joy of living as a Christian family. He stated, “The family which experiences the joy of faith communicates it naturally.”  He added, “That family is the salt of the earth and the light of the world, it is the leaven of society.”  In another address, he stated, “It is in the family that we first learn how to pray. Don’t forget: the family that prays together stays together!”  He also reminded us that, “In the family we learn how to love, to forgive, to be generous and open, not closed and selfish.  We learn to move beyond our own needs, to encounter others and share our lives with them.  That is why it is so important to pray as a family! So important!  That is why families are so important in God’s plan for the Church.”

The publication, “Loyola Press” also indicated the need for family prayer, as parents seek what is best for their children.  It stated, “This desire is expressed in a variety of practical ways every day: preparing healthy foods, ensuring adequate opportunity for sleep, teaching good manners, and sharing enriching activities as a family.”  It also suggested incorporating prayers of blessing into a family’s daily routine, asking God to bless us, to bless others, and to bless our activities. It reminded us that, “When we pray for God’s blessing, we acknowledge that God is the source of all that is good,” and that “to pray in blessing for our children is to join our desires for them with God’s own desire for them.”

The following prayer, composed by Vienna Anderson, called “A Prayer for Our Family”, reflects the desire of Our Holy Father for family unity and fidelity:
LOVING GOD, BLESS OUR FAMILY WITH YOUR LOVE.
GUARD US FROM ALL DANGER AND HARM;
DELIVER US FROM ANGER THAT LEADS TO DIVISION;
EMPOWER US TO FORGIVE AS WE HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN;
AND SEND US INTO THE WORLD
TO WITNESS TO YOUR LOVE AND GRACE;
IN THE NAME OF JESUS WE PRAY. AMEN.

As we reflect on this prayer, and as our children return to rigors and discipline of school, we are invited to make time to pray daily as a family as we seek to get closer to the Lord who loves us.
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