The Liturgical Commission and the Office of Worship of the Diocese of Erie have prepared a series of prayers and prayer services designed to be helpful in the coming weeks and months as parishes work on restructuring. What follows is an introduction to the documents linked at the bottom of this page.
Ritual prayer is essential in times of change to allow communities to recognize, name and address possible emotions of anxiety, fear, and even anger.
The following prayer tools are meant to assist your community in processing the news of the parish changes ahead.
Available in the links below:
• A simple prayer service with reflection and sharing opportunities; ready-to-print format
• Reflection prayers that may be used to extend or replace parts of the simple prayer service
• Additional prayers for private or communal reflection
Related to concerns over anxiety, fear, anger for use with prayer services
General intercessions on the parish restructuring that may be used at Sunday (Saturday evening) Liturgies
• Use these prayer tools whenever a group of parishioners are interested in gathering and combine with a social setting of coffee and donuts, pizza, etc.
• Create a prayerful environment that symbolizes Christ’s presence, especially if not in the church worship space. Light a candle as a sign of Christ; display a Bible or a crucifix as a sign of God’s Word and image of Christ’s sacrifce; prepare a vase of flowers as a sign of God’s creation.
• Utilize music that is singable and appropriate to the prayer. Music often touches us more deeply than words alone. Ask your music ministry to support the prayer. Call the Office of Worship if you need a musician in your area.
• Encourage the use of multiple ministries as lector, cantor, facilitator and leader.
• Leave room for silence to allow people to process feelings and emotions.
• Create a welcoming and safe environment where people can speak of their feelings without fear of recrimination.
• Consider providing writing materials for those who process ideas and emotions, more easily on paper.
• Remind participants to use the “I” format when speaking and address their own feelings. Prayer is not the time to propose alternatives
or place blame for the current plan.
These materials have been created and assembled for use in the Diocese of Erie by the Erie Diocese Liturgical Commission. Please direct any questions or feedback to the Office of Worship.