Dear Lord Jesus Christ, we gather in your holy presence, mindful of your words that where two or three are gathered together in your name, you are there in the midst of them. We believe that you are here present today in our midst, because we do gather in your name, and you keep your word. You are present in our midst because you are the Son of God, and as God, you are everywhere in the world you have created, with Father and Holy Spirit. You are present before us, dear Lord, particularly as God made man, under the appearance of bread. You are here present with us in the gift of the Holy Eucharist, your gift to us; your tremendous gift to the Church.
Act of Faith.
We gather, dear Lord, today, in a spirit of faith: faith in the loving Father who made us all, and wishes us to share eternity with him, with you, with your Spirit. We gather in faith before you, God the Son, the perfect image of the Father. We gather in faith in the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us and gathers us together today. We gather in profound faith, dear Lord, in your holy presence, responding to your invitation to watch an hour with you.
Act of Hope.
Dear Lord, we gather together in Christian hope. We know that you know everything, that you are all powerful, that you love us all. You are our first beginning, our Redeemer, our eternal destiny. You wish us to come to you, and we know that you will not be heedless of our prayers. Our very sorrows and crosses draw us to you in confident prayer: that is your way, that is your will. We have so much to lay before you today, and we do so in a spirit of loving confidence.
Act of Love.
Dear Lord, we gather together in love: your love for us is unquestionable since everything we have, everything we are, our existence itself comes from you. You do, and have done, so much for us all in becoming man to redeem terrible sinners so that we could be freed from slavery to sin and death and the devil, and enjoy eternal life with you. We are trying to return your wonderful love in our own feeble way. We are trying to express our love for you, dear Lord, in coming here and kneeling before you: in speaking to you personally. We express our love, dear Lord, in seeking your holy will, for that is what we want. We want to know your will for us: we want to carry it out to the best of our ability. We need the gift of that light you alone can shed upon us to reveal yourself, to reveal the right direction for us, to accomplish what you want. We express our love, dear Lord, in seeking your help. We express it in caring for others, and in caring especially for infants in the womb, about whom we wish to speak to you in a special way. We express our love in trying today to put you first; to put our neighbours next for your sake -- especially infants in the womb -- and then all our neighbours. We express our love in putting ourselves last of all.
Act of Sorrow.
We come then, dear Lord, as your followers should, in a spirit of faith, a spirit of hope, and a spirit of love. We also come to you, dear Lord, in sorrow. We come in sorrow for our own faults, to beg pardon for them, to see what they are, to ask your grace to overcome them, to assure you that we do not cling any more to any deliberate sin. We want to empty ourselves of all worldly attachments, all the attraction of evil, all the attraction of materialism, all the attraction of selfishness, all the attractions which are not of you. We want to rid ourselves of them all, and come to you with contrite and humble hearts to give ourselves at last entirely to your love. We beg pardon for all the faults of the past, all the things that we have done and ought not to have done, all the things we have done badly, all the things that we should have done but failed to do, and we come to pray to you today for the conversion of others. We are aware that conversion must begin with our own repentance; with the conversion of our own selves.
We ask, seek, knock ...
Although so weak, dear Lord, we come to ask a great deal. Listen please to all our intentions. We are simply responding to your command to us, that we should ask to receive, that we should knock and the door will be opened, that we should seek, to find. And so we come, dear Lord, to pray for infants still in their mother's womb, in this our own country, or anywhere in the world. Today, they are being persecuted beyond belief, treated in the most horrible fashion imaginable, denied the gift of developing their lives, of coming to birth, of being eligible for the waters of baptism, of being eligible to work out their own vocation in the full development of their physical and spiritual gifts.
For the baby in the womb.
Dear Lord, we kneel before you to pray first and foremost for them. We ask you to end this frightful time of their persecution. We ask for a new understanding of their wonderful status as fellow human beings of ours, made in your image and likeness, sharing your creation, sharing our intellectual gifts, sharing our common destiny to Heaven. We ask that all those who should be caring for them will come to realise the wonderful gift of the baby in the womb, and respond with the utmost kindness, compassion, care and love, the outpouring of all the gifts which we are meant to pass on to them from you.
For the handicapped.
A particular target of the abortionists, dear Lord, and a very special gift from you is the handicapped baby. We make a special prayer, therefore, for unborn handicapped babies, so liable to be sought out, identified, and put to death before birth precisely for being handicapped, and for their newborn handicapped brothers and sisters who can also face rejection, neglect and death at the hands of those appointed to care for them. Show us the special love you have for them all, and your purpose in creating them. Help us all to appreciate the special graces you give to them and to those who care for them, particularly their parents. Show the world that satan hates them so much only because of the innocence which distinguishes their lives even into adulthood. Teach us to recognise the innocence of your holy childhood in them. Teach us to love them and help them in their marvellous work of binding families and communities together with ties of sympathy and love. Teach us to magnify and reciprocate the joy which wells up from them, whatever crosses they may bear. Today, dear Lord, we gladly make our own the teaching of our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, when he visited Scotland: "let us keep the sick and the handicapped at the centre of our lives. Let us treasure them and recognise with gratitude the debt we owe them. We begin by imagining that we are giving to them: we end by realising that they have enriched us."
For mothers in pregnancy.
Dear Lord, we pray for the mothers of all unborn babies today, particularly for those who are unhappy, misled, persecuted, denied the love, care and compassion, assistance of all kinds, which is their right. Bring at once the right kind of help to those tempted to seek an abortion. Please see to it, and use us in whatever way you wish to see to it, that all such mothers receive the proper care from now on for the rest of the whole history of the great human family.
For fathers of the unborn.
Dear Lord, we think of the fathers of unborn children. They too can be misled, abandoned, neglected, given false values, led in completely wrong paths, and they can even think they are doing some good when they co-operate with or pressurise the mother to destroy the new life which is within her. Dear Lord, grant them the right understanding, the right gifts of intelligence and grace to appreciate their true responsibilities and help them to discharge them to the utmost of their ability.
For our youth.
Dear Lord, after the parents there are so many others we must pray for. We pray for young people who can be misled, lack religious education, or be given unsound moral values by those who should know better. We pray for all young people that they will have the right understanding of you, of themselves, of their creative gifts, the right understanding of the vocation of marriage, the right appreciation of the wonderful gift of bodily purity, so that all young people will learn to practise chastity before marriage, fidelity within marriage, if indeed marriage should be their true lifelong vocation.
For doctors and nurses.
Dear Lord, we pray also today for those who are members of the medical profession. Many of them have abandoned the standards by which they ought to work. Many of them fail to appreciate the patient they have in a mother's womb. We ask you to restore sound values to all the medical profession so that once more doctors will do all that is in their power to safeguard both mother and child and all others entrusted to their care. Similarly, dear Lord, we pray for nurses, that they will co-operate only with the proper practice of nursing and caring: co-operate only with the proper behaviour of doctors. We say a special prayer for any nurses or doctors who are persecuted because they stand up for life, because they stand up for humanity, because they stand up for sound values. Help them, dear Lord, in their distress, to persevere in the true apostolate they have chosen.
For those in civil authority.
We remember, dear Lord, all those charged with civil authority in our country. Teach them sound values. Teach them the Ten Commandments. Teach them obedience to you, Christ their King. Teach them that man is not supreme, but is subject to a higher law: the law of the good God who made him. Teach them to discharge their responsibilities accordingly. Teach them to display the wisdom of the serpent and the simplicity of the dove in discharging their grave obligations to the whole of society.
For the Pope.
Dear Lord, we pray for our Holy Father the Pope, who suffers so much in discharging his extraordinary apostolate. We pray in a spirit of thanksgiving that he has stood up for the right to life of the baby in the womb so forcibly, so clearly, so consistently, so courageously, in so many parts of the world. Strengthen him in his apostolate and teach the whole world to listen to him.
For religious who care for the unborn child and its parents.
We pray for religious like Mother Teresa of Calcutta who are working, often in complete silence and obscurity, to discharge their vocation and to bring assistance to all those in need, including the unborn child and its parents.
For bishops and priests.
We pray for bishops and priests that they will all have the grace to follow the example of the Holy Father: to repeat his work and to take practical action to implement an effective pro-life programme in every parish.
For all pro-life workers.
We pray, dear Lord, for ourselves, and for all our fellow pro-life workers. Grant us to understand how to co-operate with one another in sound policies, in sound strategies, to work out the redemption of the unborn baby and the salvation of the whole of society. Teach all pro-life workers to discharge the various areas of their apostolate, be it caring or educational, or prayerful and contemplative, or active and political, in harmony with one another: a harmony based on truth and justice, wisdom and love, so that our work can come rapidly to reach its full fruits.
For other sections of society.
We pray, dear Lord, for all other members of our society: for members of the mass media, for writers, for trade unions, for those in the armed forces, for those in the police force, for lawyers and judges, that each, according to his own vocation, will be the means of safeguarding all in our community, including the unborn child, whom they too can neglect, or even, in some cases, actively persecute.
For the dying.
We have prayed, dear Lord, for all those in danger of being deliberately killed at the very beginning of their lives, and for those responsible for them. We also remember now all those in danger at the end of their lives through the practice of euthanasia, and with them all the sick and dying. May we always recognise in the frail bodies of our sick brothers and sisters, no matter how ravaged by disease, your own divine image and our responsibilities. Help the dying to sanctify their last hours on earth. You brought us untold grace from your last hours on Calvary: may our dying brethren also win a rich harvest of grace for themselves and for us all from their share in Calvary. Grant them also the love and care that they need at their supreme moment, especially the sacramental anointing of the sick. Inspire all those who care for them with the highest and purest motives of unselfish love, devotion and compassion. May their very presence be a consolation, like Mary at the foot of the cross. Banish from the home of the dying anyone who would usurp your sovereignty be deliberately putting an end to their lives. May this temptation of satan, the temptation to euthanasia, be completely rejected by all humanity.
For the conversion of atheists.
Dear Lord, abortion is one terrible fruit of atheism. Those who deliberately take the life of the baby reject the creative love of the Father, the redemptive love of the Son, the sanctifying love of the Spirit. They act as though man were subject to no higher law than his own selfish interests, and lives for no purpose but this life only. Dear Lord, please guide all those lost in the meaninglessness of atheism to the light of faith in the one true, eternal, all powerful God, to the consolation of hope in the life to come which is the destiny offered to all your children, and to the joy and strength of love of God above all things, and love of their neighbour including their unborn neighbour as themselves.
We appreciate, dear Lord, that there are many other faults in the human family. We cannot speak of them all today. We have come to pray particularly for the pro-life intention, and we lay all these concerns before you now, trusting in you that you will give renewed guidance and strength to your wayward children, so that the works of your redemption will come to full fruition in all men at this age of human society. Amen.