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Holy Father’s Prayer of Intention: January

We pray that Christians, followers of other religions, and all people of goodwill may promote peace and justice in the world.


This month we are praying that the gift Jesus promised us will spread over all the world. The Holy Father invites not only Christians to pray with us, but followers of other religions and all people of goodwill. We are praying for peace as well as for justice.

“Peace I leave with you, peace is my gift to you.” (Jn 14:27) The peace that Jesus gives brings se-renity and freedom: The Hebrew word for peace, is shalom. In the translation of the bible into Greek it became eirene, which includes a sense of wholeness, completeness, success, fulfillment, harmony, security and even well-being. Still Jesus warned: “I do not give as the world gives.” His peace is otherworldly, and may await us in our heavenly reward. Still we labor here to establish the kingdom.

The Holy Father desires that his prayer intentions be directed towards “the challenges facing hu-manity.” As such they are of interest to people of other cultures, countries and even religions. The desire for peace and justice is deeply seated in the hearts of all men and women of goodwill and for this the Holy Father welcomes the cooperation of all.

What about justice, what does it look like? A wise Jesuit, Fr Earl Weis, SJ once challenged me when discussing social justice: “Are you talking about man’s justice, or God’s?” It was a great question and caused me to pray for justice on a entirely new plane. May God’s peace and justice reign in our hearts, be established here on earth, and await us in the kingdom of heaven.

Source: Apostleship of Prayer


Holy Father’s Prayer of Intention: December

That every country take the measures necessary to prioritize the future of the very young, especially those who are suffering.


Shortly after my ordination I was missioned by the Jesuits to England for doctoral studies. There are few British winter traditions more famous than the service of Lessons and Carols held on Christmas Eve at Kings College Cambridge and broadcast throughout the country on the BBC. Since 1919 the choir at Kings College has opened this service with the same hymn, “Once in Royal David’s City,” the simple lyrics of which speak to the profound paradox of the mystery of Christmas. “He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all. / And his shelter was a stable, and His cradle was a stall. / With the poor, and mean, and lowly, lived on earth our Savior holy.”

By the mystery of the Incarnation, God became a little child. There are few religious scenes more moving and tender than the infant Jesus in the arms of his mother. The Lord of all, now weak and vulnerable, is enwrapped in the loving care of Mary.

The same Mary is not only our mother but also our model. So many children throughout the world today, likewise weak and vulnerable, are also subject to poverty, injustice, and violence. In them Christ comes to us anew, albeit in “distressing disguise.” As we enjoy the beauty of Christmas creches and hear the old, familiar carols, let us pray that these venerable traditions may really move us to become more like Mary, to set aside our own interests and preoccupations to tend to those of Christ, the Christ who beckons us to care for the vulnerable and needy among us, prioritizing the “very young, especially those who are suffering.”

Source: Apostleship of Prayer