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Catholic Prayer: Book of Blessings: Blessing for a Catechetical or Prayer Meeting

Description:

509 Whenever Christians or catechumens come together in the name of Christ, he himself, as he has said, is present in their midst. It is therefore entirely natural that those taking part in the meeting should wish to offer prayers in praise of Christ and in petition for the divine help needed to achieve the purpose for which they have gathered. This is particularly the case in meetings held for the purpose of catechesis or communal prayer, but it is also proper that other meetings be planned in such a way that a period of time is set aside so that the meeting begins with liturgical prayer.

This is the reason why the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours (see no. 27) encourages lay groups that gather for any reason (prayer, apostolic work, etc.) to fulfill the Church's duty by celebrating part of the liturgy of the hours. "The laity must learn above all how in the liturgy they are adoring God the Father in spirit and in truth (see John 4:23); they should bear in mind that through public worship and prayer they reach all humanity and can contribute significantly to the salvation of the whole world."

But in some circumstances a celebration of the liturgy of the hours may not be possible. In this case the meeting should begin with an invocation of the Holy Spirit and of the divine blessing in the hymn Veni, creator, or the antiphon Veni, Sancte Spiritus, or some other suitable song; then there is a short, well-chosen reading from sacred Scripture, followed by an opening prayer from the Roman Missal: from the Proper of Seasons, "Pentecost"; from Votive Masses: "7. Holy Spirit"; from the Proper of Seasons, one of the Masses in the seventh week of the Easter season; or from Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions: "16. For Pastoral or Spiritual Meetings."

510 At the end of a meeting a blessing may be celebrated by use of the prayer of blessing provided in no. 516.

511 This prayer of blessing is not to be used when celebration of the eucharist immediately follows the meeting.

512 The present order may be used by a priest or deacon. It may also be used by a layperson, who follows the rites and prayers designated for a lay minister. While maintaining the structure and chief elements of the rite, the minister should adapt the celebration to the circumstances of the place and the people involved.

Prayer:

ORDER OF BLESSING

513 In the following or similar words, the minister prepares those present for the blessing. Through this meeting Jesus himself has spoken to us. We should now, therefore, give thanks to him who has revealed to us the mysterious design that for ages was hidden in God. Since our task is to conform our lives to the word we have heard, before leaving let us raise our minds and hearts to God, praying that he may guide us through the Holy Spirit to a fuller possession of the truth and give us the power always to do what is pleasing to him.

INTERCESSIONS

514 As circumstances suggest, the prayer of blessing may be preceded by the intercessions. The minister introduces them and an assisting minister or one of those present announces the intentions. From the following intentions those best suited to the occasion may be used or adapted, or other intentions that apply to the particular circumstances may be composed. The intentions are followed immediately by the prayer of blessing, no. 516.

The minister says: The words of the Lord are spirit and life. Let us pray then to him, who has the words of eternal life, that we may be not only hearers of the word of God but doers, and workers with him in bearing witness to the truth.

R. Speak, Lord, for you have the words of eternal life.

Or: R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister: Christ, Son of God, you came into the world to proclaim the Gospel of the Father's love; increase our faith, so that we will receive your word as the sign of his love. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: Christ, Son of God, the Father's favor rested on you and he commanded us to listen to you; give us the gift of understanding, so that we may contemplate your word and experience its gentle power. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: Christ, Son of God, you said: "Blest are they who hear the word of God and keep it"; grant that with Mary we may keep your word in our hearts and dwell upon it. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: Christ, Son of God, your word lights up the darkness of our minds and gives understanding to the lowly; help us to listen to your word with simplicity and to treasure the mysteries of your kingdom. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: Christ, Son of God, you continually proclaim your word in the Church, so that the one faith may enlighten all who hear it and the one charity may bind them together; make us grow as lovers and doers of your word, so that as Christians we may all be of one mind and one heart. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: Christ, Son of God, your word is a lamp to our feet, showing us the way through life; become our companion on the road, making our hearts burn within, so that we may run in the way of your commands. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: Christ, Son of God, you gave us your word to hasten our salvation for your greater glory; fill our minds and hearts with that word to make us heralds and witnesses of the Gospel. (For this we pray:) R.

515 When there are no intercessions, the minister, before the prayer of blessing, invites those present to ask for God's help in these or similar words. My brothers and sisters, let us ask God, our all-powerful Father, to keep our steps always in the way of his commandments.

As circumstances suggest, all may then pray for a moment in silence before the prayer of blessing.

PRAYER OF BLESSING

516 A minister who is a priest or deacon says the prayer of blessing with hands outstretched; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined. We thank you and bless you, Lord our God. In times past you spoke in many varied ways through the prophets, but in this, the final age, you have spoken through your Son to reveal to all nations the riches of your grace. May we who have met to ponder the Scriptures be filled with the knowledge of your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, and, pleasing you as we should in all things, may we bear fruit in every good work.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

CONCLUDING RITE

517 The minister concludes the rite by saying: God, the Father of mercies, has sent his Son into the world. Through the Holy Spirit, who will teach us all truth, may he make us messengers of the Gospel and witnesses of his love to the world. R. Amen.

518 It is preferable to end the celebration with a suitable song.

Prayer Source: Book of Blessings by Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops' Conferences, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1989
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