December 26, 2005

Prayers For Victims Of The Tsunami

Episcopal News Service] Committed to rebuilding communities and responding to individuals' and families' basic needs, Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) has partnered with churches throughout Asia this past year to help millions of people whose lives have been affected by the December 26, 2004, tsunami.

Triggered by a magnitude 9 earthquake, the tsunami pounded coasts along India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand and, although the official death toll is still unclear, the giant wave claimed more than 220,000 lives, conservative estimates suggest. -- Tsunami relief central to churches' mission one year on

Today is St Stephen's Day, but it will forever also be remembered as the anniversary of the devastating tsunami in South Asia.

We remember the victims and their families with this prayer from Grace Cathedral, San Francisco from last year:

Prayer For The Victims of the Tsunami


-- by Wilma Jakobsen
Most merciful and compassionate God,
Giver of Life and Love,
hear our prayers
and let our cries come unto you.


We weep with your people in South Asia
We hear the cries of orphaned children and laments of bereaved parents
We feel the desperation of those searching for loved ones
We behold the silence of vanished villages.


We see the devastation.
We are overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.
Our hearts are hushed, our minds are numb.
Let not our hands be stopped, our voices dumb.


God of the universe,
our hearts to feel your compassion
Galvanize in us the act of continued giving
Bond us to our sisters and brothers in need
Comfort and heal the injured, the bereaved, the lost
Strengthen the aid workers and medical personnel
Bolster the resolve of governments and those with power to help
through this tragedy pathways to partnerships and peace
In Your Name of mercy and healing and compassion we pray,
Amen.

The Rev. Wilma T. Jakobsen is an associate pastor for liturgy and justice at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California. She is a native South African, and previously served as Anglican chaplain at the University of Cape Town.


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October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks, Dead at 92

ROSAPARKS.jpg

Civil Rights pioneer Rosa Parks has died. Please remember her and her family in your prayers, and give thanks for her courage.
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October 24, 2005

Hope In a Time of Crisis - Katrina

Anletter from our bishop:

Dear clergy and people of the Diocese of Chicago,

Many of you are concerned about how we can best and most effectively respond to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. There are unlimited needs and many groups are mobilizing to bring aid. While numbers of churches have been totally destroyed and others badly damaged, existing churches and congregations are being used to feed and house refugees from the storm.

Most needed at this time are prayers and cash. I would encourage each congregation to raise a special offering for the U.S. Hurricane Fund of Episcopal Relief and Development. Also, please print the following and publicize it as widely as you can.

To make a contribution to help people affected by Hurricane Katrina, please donate to the US Hurricane Fund by credit card at http://www.er-d.org/ or by calling , ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, c/o US Hurricane Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101.

As is so often the case, long after the TV cameras leave, the needs will continue. Also, persons who are poor, who lack resources and insurance, will continue to suffer greatly. As part of the Episcopal Church, we have a special responsibility to care for our brothers and sisters whose lives have been so shaken. Of course, our love and care extend from them to all who need our prayers and support. I am confident that the people of our diocese will be generous in responding to this disaster.

Thank you and God bless you as you help to focus our response.

Faithfully,

William D. Persell Bishop of Chicago

From Forward Movement/Day by Day:

God of goodness and love, In whom we can trust in every hour of need; Have mercy on all who are faced with fear and distress. We ask that help may be given to them speedily, And that this emergency may be turned into an opportunity To strengthen the bonds of love and service Which bind men and nations together; Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and beyond who are forced to flee home and property from the raging aftermath and continuing peril of Hurricane Katrina.

Episcopal Relief and Development, an official agency of the Episcopal Church, has been working to mobilize help and aid for those affected by the hurricane, and donations can be made via their website at Episcopal Relief & Development. Also, a list of needed supplies is available on the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi website. And further news and resources are available from The Episcopal News Service.

Additional information about help and support can be found at the websites for the Diocese of Louisiana, the Diocese of Western Louisiana, the Diocese of Central Florida, and the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast.


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August 17, 2005

Prayers for Brother Roger

Brother Roger, founder of the ecumenical Taize' community, was murdered Tuesday during a vespers service.

This is a terrible loss to Christians everywhere, as Brother Roger was working to reconcile divided Christianity and the disenfranchised.

UPDATE:

The Taize' community, founded in 1940 by Brother Roger when he was 25, became a safe haven for political refugees and people of all faiths, among them Jews fleeing the Holocaust. Since the late 1950s, thousands of young adults from many countries have come to Taize' to take part in weekly meetings of prayer and reflection. More than 100 Taize' brothers, committed to material and spiritual sharing, celibacy, and simplicity of life, make visits and lead meetings in Africa, North and South America, Asia, and in Europe, as part of what they call "a pilgrimage of trust on earth." Eight years ago, Brother Roger designated Brother Alois to succeed him as the person in charge of the community.

On the morning after his death, the following prayer was read in the church:

"Christ of compassion, you enable us to be in communion with those who have gone before us, and who can remain so close to us. We confide into your hands our Brother Roger. He already contemplates the invisible. In his footsteps, you are preparing us to welcome a radiance of your brightness."

Via AKMA's Random Thoughts


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July 07, 2005

Prayers for London

Reports are still sketchy at this point, but there were at least 4 explosions on the London Underground and London Transport buses this morning at around 9am London time. From official announcements, it's being treated as a possible terrorist attack, timed to coincide with theng of the G8 summit.

An award-winning blog about the London Underground is being updated continuously. It may be found at London Underground Tube Diary - Going Underground's Blog.

UPDATE: I amng comments on this post so you may add your prayers for the people of London and for visitors to that great city who have been caught up in today's tragic events.

For Peace Among The Nations

Almighty God our heavenly Father, guide the nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

For our Enemies

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth: deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And finally, let's not forget one of the reasons for the G8 summit in the first place:

For the Poor and the Neglected

Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From The Book of Common Prayer


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June 12, 2005

The Diocese of Renk in the Sudan

Most Sundays, we pray for a variety of local and global Episcopal and Anglican bodies, including the diocese of Renk in the Sudan. A neighbor parish, St Michael's Barrington, has established a relationship with and helps support the Episcopal churches in the Renk diocese. Their information page notes:

Profile of the Diocese of Renk, Sudan

Since 1986, the fundamentalist Islamic government in northern Sudan has been waging a civil war against Christians and Animists in the south. To date, over 2 million people have been killed, with another 4 million displaced from their homes. Many of these refugees have resettled in Renk diocese, where they are ministered to by Bishop Daniel Deng Bul and his clergy. These people have suffered untold horrors in the name of Jesus Christ, yet their faith remains strong. Our relationship with Renk offers us a chance to make a difference in the lives of our brothers ans sisters, and in turn their strength of spirit leads us to deepen our faith. - St Michaels Barrington: Sudan Covenant Care Commission

.

St Michael's level of support and their relationship with the people and clergy of Renk is to be commended.

A recent event at Elmhurst College highlighted the amount of support parishes in Northern Illinois continue to give to Sudan and the diocese of Renk and for relief efforts in the region of Darfur. This event was conceived of and implemented by diocesan youth.

The Episcopal Church has been urging action on Darfur (western Sudan) for some time, but the problem is ongoing. Renk (southern Sudan) has seen its share of conflict - as far back as 1998, southern rebels were accused of killing northern merchants near the town of Renk by the Sudanese government; this was likely a pretext for the northern Arab/Islamic northern government to crack down on the Christian/animists of south Sudan.

Fortunately, a peace agreement has been reached between the government and the rebel forces in the south, and there is much cause for celebration. Unfortunately, there are still many problems confronting the people of Sudan. Not only that, the Khartoum headquarters and guest house of the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ESC) were "confiscated" in a disputed property sale related to the actions of a defrocked former bishop last year, and recently an Arab-owned company took over the building. They still have many challenges to overcome that make our own problems seem minor by comparison.

So next Sunday, when we pray for the diocese of Renk and Bp. Daniel Deng Bul, keep in mind all Sudanese who have been affected by the years of civil war. Here are just a few stories:

The survivors of the forced evictions in Soba Aradi on May 18th. An estimated 15-22 adults and some children died in the unannounced destruction of a settlement for internally displaced Sudanese, many of whom are Episcopalians.

The bishops of Sudan who had to cancel a historic synod because the roads to the south from Khartoum are still mined and unsafe for travel. Several US and British dioceses were sending delegations, but are now re-evaluating travel plans.

Former "Lost Boys" who have found homes and a future in Chicago, and other cities in the US, but who may soon be returning to rebuild their shattered country.


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April 24, 2005

For The Sick or Home-Bound

Day 24 (from Day By Day Crisis Edition)

Our prayers at Holy Innocents are asked our infirm or home-bound members, especially Ruth S. and Michael J.

Our prayers at St Columba are asked for Audrey.

Prayers for the Sick

For a Sick Person
O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need: We humbly beseech thee to behold, visit, and relieve thy sick servant N. for whom our prayers are desired. Look upon him with the eyes of thy mercy; comfort him with a sense of thy goodness; preserve him from the temptations of the enemy; and give him patience under his affliction. In thy good time, restore him to health, and enable him to lead the residue of his life in thy fear, and to thy glory; and grant that he may dwell with thee in life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Recovery from Sickness
O God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers: Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to your servant N. the help of your power, that his sickness may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

or this

O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity: Be present in your goodness with your servant N., that his weakness may be banished and his strength restored; and that, his health being renewed, he may bless your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

...

Prayers for use by a Sick Person

For Trust in God
O God, the source of all health: So fill my heart with faith in your love, that with calm expectancy I may make room for your power to possess me, and gracefully accept your healing; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In Pain
Lord Jesus Christ, by your patience in suffering you hallowed earthly pain and gave us the example of obedience to your Father's will: Be near me in my time of weakness and pain; sustain me by your grace, that my strength and courage may not fail; heal me according to your will; and help me always to believe that what happens to me here is of little account if you hold me in eternal life, my Lord and my God. Amen.

For Sleep
O heavenly Father, you give your children sleep for the refreshing of soul and body: Grant me this gift, I pray; keep me in that perfect peace which you have promised to those whose minds are fixed on you; and give me such a sense of your presence, that in the hours of silence I may enjoy the blessed assurance of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In the Morning This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen. - The Book Of Common Prayer


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March 11, 2005

Let Us Not Be Too Comfortable?

Day by Day: Eleven

Luke 12:32. Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Once a friend brought a wolf to our house, and though he was a very well behaved wolf, he stirred up a good deal of anxiety in the household. Our cat, often troublesome, disappeared into the winter night. When we found him he had to be forced to come in from the cold. In the aftermath of the wolf's visit, I wrote the following prayer:

Lord, days and even years go by and we are satisfied that in the routine of our daily lives we are not only comfortable, but secure; and then the wolf comes, and we know better. We are grateful, despite our selfishness and our tendency to be a nuisance, that you care for us; that you are stronger than the predators that wait in the shadows; that you are willing to search for us in the cold and darkness of our terror; and that at last you will bring us into your house...

Today is the anniversary of the Madrid terrorist attacks. If you recall, terrorists (many of whom were later killed or captured) left 11 backpacks full of dynamite on commuter trains that morning, and detonated them via cell phone. Hundreds were killed, maimed, or injured.

At this moment, an important international summit on democracy, terrorism, and security is just ending. Many of the participants, members of the "wired" generation, either blogged the meetings they attended in real time, or took photos with their cameraphones - such as this one of the five minutes' silence that was observed by all Madrid in honor of the hundreds of victims who were lost one year ago today.

In an increasingly "wired" world it's good to know that technology can be used for peace and democracy and not only for terror and anarchy. Let us pray that people of goodwill, and of all faiths, can someday banish the wolf forever.


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March 07, 2005

Prayers For The Sick/Thread

Day By Day - Seventh Day

Yesterday in church we participated in a simple rite of laying on of hands and annointing with oil one of our number who will be undergoing surgery soon. For a moment, we were all "ministers of the church" united to offer our support and prayer.

There are a number of different prayers for the sick in the Book of Common Prayer. A selection are reproduced below. Substitute the appropriate name and pronoun for "N." and him.

Comments for this post arefor a period of time if you would like to add prayer requests of your own.

Prayers for the Sick

For a Sick Person
O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need: We humbly beseech thee to behold, visit, and relieve thy sick servant N. for whom our prayers are desired. Look upon him with the eyes of thy mercy; comfort him with a sense of thy goodness; preserve him from the temptations of the enemy; and give him patience under his affliction. In thy good time, restore him to health, and enable him to lead the residue of his life in thy fear, and to thy glory; and grant that he may dwell with thee in life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Recovery from Sickness
O God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers: Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to your servant N. the help of your power, that his sickness may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
or this

O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity: Be present in your goodness with your servant N., that his weakness may be banished and his strength restored; and that, his health being renewed, he may bless your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For a Sick Child
Heavenly Father, watch with us over your child N., and grant that he may be restored to that perfect health which it is yours alone to give; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Page 459

or this
Lord Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd of the sheep, you gather the lambs in your arms and carry them in your bosom: We commend to your loving care this child N. Relieve his pain, guard him from all danger, restore to him your gifts of gladness and strength, and raise him up to a life of service to you. Hear us, we pray, for your dear Name's sake. Amen.

Before an Operation
Almighty God our heavenly Father, graciously comfort your servant N. in his suffering, and bless the means made use of for his cure. Fill his heart with confidence that, though at times he may be afraid, he yet may put his trust in you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

or this

Strengthen your servant N., O God, to do what he has to do and bear what he has to bear; that, accepting your healing gifts through the skill of surgeons and nurses, he may be restored to usefulness in your world with a thankful heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Strength and Confidence
Heavenly Father, giver of life and health: Comfort and relieve your sick servant N., and give your power of healing to those who minister to his needs, that he may be strengthened in his weakness and have confidence in your loving care; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Page 460

For the Sanctification of Illness
Sanctify, O Lord, the sickness of your servant N., that the sense of his weakness may add strength to his faith and seriousness to his repentance; and grant that he may live with you in everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Health of Body and Soul
May God the Father bless you, God the Son heal you, God the Holy Spirit give you strength. May God the holy and undivided Trinity guard your body, save your soul, and bring you safely to His heavenly country; where He lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

For Doctors and Nurses
Sanctify, O Lord, those whom you have called to the study and practice of the arts of healing, and to the prevention of disease and pain. Strengthen them by your life-giving Spirit, that by their ministries the health of the community may be promoted and your creation glorified; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thanksgiving for a Beginning of Recovery
O Lord, your compassions never fail and your mercies are new every morning: We give you thanks for giving our brother (sister) N. both relief from pain and hope of health renewed. Continue in him, we pray, the good work you have begun; that he, daily increasing in bodily strength, and rejoicing in your goodness, may so order his life and conduct that he may always think and do those things that please you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Page 461

Prayers for use by a Sick Person

For Trust in God
O God, the source of all health: So fill my heart with faith in your love, that with calm expectancy I may make room for your power to possess me, and gracefully accept your healing; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In Pain
Lord Jesus Christ, by your patience in suffering you hallowed earthly pain and gave us the example of obedience to your Father's will: Be near me in my time of weakness and pain; sustain me by your grace, that my strength and courage may not fail; heal me according to your will; and help me always to believe that what happens to me here is of little account if you hold me in eternal life, my Lord and my God. Amen.

For Sleep O heavenly Father, you give your children sleep for the refreshing of soul and body: Grant me this gift, I pray; keep me in that perfect peace which you have promised to those whose minds are fixed on you; and give me such a sense of your presence, that in the hours of silence I may enjoy the blessed assurance of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In the Morning
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.



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March 04, 2005

Day by Day: Fourth Day Of The Month

Day Four
Psalm 57:1b. In the shadow of your wings will I take refuge until the time of trouble has gone by.


Americans seem to have lived a charmed life. Or so many of us thought until September 11, 2001.

Set apart by vast oceans, our nation has experienced a degree of security rare in the history of the world. Rich in natural resources, stable government and human enterprise, we have enjoyed unparalleled prosperity.

Suddenly, everything's changed. Serene order has collided head-on with tragic chaos. Our fragile hold on things has been ripped from our fingers. The very ground under our feet has shifted. We are vulnerable, exposed.

I feel nausea, like sea-sickness. I recognize this as grief. I know that there will be waves of numbness, disorientation, anger and depression...perhaps even despair.

Then I remember: I did nothing to earn life. I can do nothing to hold onto it. I am not God. God is God.

And we are God's.


O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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March 03, 2005

Day by Day: Third Day of the Month

Day ThreeMatthew 5:44. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

This is Jesus at his most demanding, most know-ledgeable, most insightful. What Jesus says to us is not just difficult, it is brilliant.

For if we are going to live in this world, fully and thoughtfully and well, then we shall live with and for and alongside all those persons whom life has given to us. Some of these are our friends. And some of these are our enemies. We belong to both groups, and both groups belong to us.

It is not given to us to exclude any of these people, for we shall go down to the gates of death, and thereafter, together. So let us begin now. Begin by praying for them, those who are our enemies. And through time, perhaps we shall be able to accept the fact that we are given the opportunity to dwell in this world together, as one people.

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Dear God, I give myself to thee this day, thine only, thine ever to be. Amen.

(The webmistress craves pardon for letting this feature lapse while she was on vacation. She meant to do this while she was gone, honest. We rejoin now with the meditation for today, the third day of the month)


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February 02, 2005

Day By Day: Second Day Of the Month

Day Two
Micah 4:3b.
Neither shall they learn war any more

Who's responsible for all the fright, the disaster, the loss, and the pain? Whom shall we blame? Someone made all this happen. Whoever that is must be searched out and found, be punished and made to suffer.

When disaster strikes, we naturally want to assign blame. Thousands of people have died, many thousands more have suffered. It is at such a time as this that we stop and listen to ancient words echoing down through the ages that say, "Now is not the time for retribution but forgiveness; not for hate, but for love."

The endless cycle of retribution, ever escalating, must stop and stop now. Let there be no more fighting. There must be peace, and if there is to be peace, it will begin with me.

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father, to whom be dominion and glory, now and forever. Amen.

Dear God, I give myself to thee this day, thine only, thine ever to be. Amen.


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February 01, 2005

Forward Day By Day Online

While looking for something completely different, the webmistress stumbled upon an online edition of Day by Day, the popular and accessible prayer guide. The booklets are available for "takeaway" on the table on the right as you enter the sanctuary. There are two online versions; the one quoted below comes in a 30-day format, and both will be added to the links . There is a great deal of other useful information at the Forward Movement site as well.

Since today is February 1, it seems a good time to start at the beginning:

Day 1 Psalm 121:1. I will lift my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come?

The Psalmist looked around at the dry, barren, bleak, forbidding hills of his native land, hills that supported no life and were the source of absolutely no hope or encouragement of any kind, and he asked, "From where is my help to come?"

Sooner or later, and right now is a time when the need is immediate, we realize that there is no source, none, for our help other than God.

Everything that begins ends. Disaster, desertion, failure, death; the loss of everything we know, everything we value or fear is absolutely inevitable. Nothing is forever. Only God is the source of our help and refuge.

My help comes from the Lord. So it is that today, in the midst of loss and desolation and unexpected disaster, we know from whence our help comes. Our help comes from the Lord.


O Lord, arise, help us;

And deliver us for thy Name's sake.

We humbly beseech thee, O God, mercifully to look upon our infirmities; and, for the glory of thy Name, grant that in all our troubles we may put our whole trust and confidence in thy mercy, and evermore serve thee in holiness and pureness of living, to thy honor and glory; through our only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



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January 30, 2005

In Thanksgiving, In Praise, In Supplication.

The prayers today were Form I in the Book of Common Prayer. In addition to praying for our companion dioceses of Renk in the Sudan and of Southeaster Mexico, we pray for other parishes in the Diocese of Chicago and especially our own parishes of Holy Innocents and St Columba of Iona.

Prayers of the People may be added any time on entering the church; the binder is on the right hand side as you enter the sanctuary.


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