- Intercessory prayer teams should gather once a week and pray specifically and intentionally for the return of Catholics to the mass and parish life, and for the success of all evangelization efforts at the parish.
- Anyone involved in leadership at the parish should be dedicated to intercessory prayer for the parish. This includes, but is not limited to: Parish Staff, Parish Council, Finance Council, Stewardship Committee, Athletic Association, Ministry Leaders, Catechists, etc.
- Intercessory Prayer teams can be formed of any interested parishioners (not only those in leadership positions).
- Ask each of these groups to devise a plan and commit to a time to pray for the success of evangelization at the parish level.
- In addition to any devotional activities (rosary, chaplet of divine mercy, adoration, etc…) the following prayer (or a similar one) can be recited at the conclusion of your prayer time:
“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Way, the Truth and the Life. We pray that all members of our parish community and those who live within our parish boundaries would come to know your saving love. Make each of us into witnesses of Your good news to all that we meet. We pray for the return of all inactive Catholics in our parish and ask that you would provide us opportunities to invite them home. We pray this in your Holy Name, Amen.”
“Prayer of intercession has particular value, for it is an act of trust in God and, at the same time, an expression of love for our neighbor”– Pope Francis, Gaudete et Exultate, 154
“One form of prayer moves us particularly to take up the task of evangelization and to seek the good of others: it is the prayer of intercession. Let us peer for a moment into the heart of Saint Paul, to see what his prayer was like. It was full of people: “…I constantly pray with you in every one of my prayers for all of you… because I hold you in my heart” (Phil 1:4, 7).” – Pope Francis, Joy of The Gospel, 281
Pray by name
Gather volunteers form your parish willing to be committed to intercessory prayer. Divide up the parish directory into sections and ask these volunteers to pray and fast weekly for the members of your parish directory.
The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful" (James 5:16).
By denying ourselves some of the things that we consume everyday, we can create time to spend in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to draw us closer to Jesus. In the greatest commandment, in Matthew chapter 22, Jesus tells us: “You shall love the Lord Your God with all Your heart, with all Your soul, and with all Your mind.” By fasting from the goods of the world, we re-orient ourselves to focus on Christ.
We say to ourselves that the things of heaven are even more real than the things of this earth and we develop a willingness to sacrifice for the Gospel and for our neighbor.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? – Isaiah 58:6
Communal prayer events
In addition to being effective by it's own power, by offering prayer together in visible ways as a community as we beg the Lord to bless our evangelization efforts we also send a clear message to those in our community that evangelization is a priority. This helps us as a community and as individuals to develop a heart for our absent brothers and sisters and zeal for souls.
- Host a weekly Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Holy Hour, or any similar devotional activity with the specific and announced intention of welcoming people back to mass and life in the parish.
- Recommend a Day of Fasting for current parishioners for the sake of the return of those not yet back to mass or those who have left the practice of the faith. This fasting helps us develop a heart for others and can be done on a recurring basis.
- Ask homebound Catholics to participate in parish evangelization as specials intercessors for those away from the Church.
Use any of the following or a similar prayer in the universal prayers at every mass:
- For all baptized Catholics within the boundaries of our parish that are not active in our faith community, that they may return to full participation in the sacraments and find in us a welcome reception into the faith, let us pray to the Lord
- May we understand the need for renewed evangelization among our parishes and faithful, and remember the importance of sharing our faith with all those we encounter, let us pray to the Lord.
- For all those in our community who have stopped practicing their Catholic faith during the pandemic, that they may come to experience Jesus' saving love in their lives and return to membership in our faith community, let us pray to the Lord.
- For all Christians, may we hear the call of the New Evangelization to deepen our faith, to grow in confidence to proclaim the Gospel to all who are away, and to boldly witness to the saving grace of Our Lord, Jesus Christ in everyday life, let us pray to the Lord.
“Again, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" -Matthew 18:19-20