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Pope’s Intentions for January 2012

As we begin the New Year, let’s once again unite our prayers this month with those of Pope Benedict XVI. Here are the Holy Father’s intentions for January 2012, as published by the Apostleship of Prayer:

  • Victims of Natural Disasters. That the victims of natural disasters may receive the spiritual and material comfort they need to rebuild their lives.
  • Dedication to Peace. That the dedication of Christians to peace may bear witness to the name of Christ before all men and women of good will.

January is also a month especially devoted to the Holy Name of Jesus, which was popularized by St. Bernardine of Siena in the 15th century. For more on devotion to the Holy Name, click here.

Pope’s Intentions for December

Let’s once again unite our prayers this month with those of Pope Benedict XVI. Here are the Holy Father’s intentions for November 2011, as published by the Apostleship of Prayer:

Peace among All Peoples. That all peoples may grow in harmony and peace through mutual understanding and respect.

Children and Youth. That children and young people may be messengers of the Gospel and that they may be respected and preserved from all violence and exploitation.

Further, as we enter a new liturgical year and head toward Christmas, the Holy Father  invites us to remain “watchful” and “alert” by entering prayerfully into this holy season, so that we may be ready to greet Jesus Christ, who is God with us.

Holy Souls

Let’s once again unite our prayers this month with those of Pope Benedict XVI. Here are the Holy Father’s intentions for November 2011, as published by the Apostleship of Prayer:

Eastern Catholic Churches. That the Eastern Catholic Churches and their venerable traditions may be known and esteemed as a spiritual treasure for the whole Church.

Justice and Reconciliation in Africa. That the African continent may find strength in Christ to pursue justice and reconciliation as set forth by the Second Synod of African Bishops.

Since the 16th century, Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. As a reminder of our duty to pray for those in Purgatory, the Church has dedicated the month of November to the Holy Souls.

The Holy Souls in Purgatory are those who have died in the state of grace but who are not yet free from all punishment due to their unforgiven venial sins and all other sins already forgiven for which satisfaction is still to be made. They are certain of entering Heaven, but first they must undergo purification.

The Holy Souls cannot help themselves because for them the night has come, when no man can work (John 9:4). It is our great privilege as their brothers and sisters in Christ that we can shorten their time of separation from God by our prayers, good works, and, especially, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

October Prayers

Let’s once again unite our prayers this month with those of Pope Benedict XVI. Here are the Holy Father’s intentions for October 2011, as published by the Apostleship of Prayer:

  • Terminally Ill. That the terminally ill may be supported by their faith in God and the love of their brothers and sisters.
  • World Mission Day. That the celebration of World Mission Day may foster in the People of God a passion for evangelization with the willingness to support the missions with prayer and economic aid for the poorest Churches.

October is also the month of the Holy Rosary, and the Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (formerly known as the feast of Our Lady of Victory, in memory of the Battle of Lepanto) on October 7th.

If we don’t already do so, why not offer our Rosaries this month for the intentions recommended by the Holy Father?

Prayer Intentions

Let’s once again unite our prayers this month with those of Pope Benedict XVI. Here are the Holy Father’s intentions for September 2011, as published by the Apostleship of Prayer:

  • Teachers. That all teachers may know how to communicate the love of truth and instill authentic moral and spiritual values.
  • Church in Asia. That the Christian communities of Asia may proclaim the Gospel with fervor, witnessing to its beauty with the joy of faith.

In addition, as we approach the tenth anniversary of 9/11 this month, may we also pray for a new outpouring of healing, mercy, and peace throughout the world. Check out the USCCB website for resources for parish and diocesan observances of the anniversary.

Renewal in the Spirit

Let’s once again unite our prayers this month with those of Pope Benedict XVI. Here are the Holy Father’s intentions for August 2011, as published by the Apostleship of Prayer:

  • World Youth Day.  That World Youth Day in Madrid may encourage young people throughout the world to have their lives rooted and built up in Christ. 
  • Western Christians.  That Western Christians may be open to the action of the Holy Spirit and rediscover the freshness and enthusiasm of their faith. 

The intentions this month beckon us to pray for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church, and in particular upon our youth. Like past World Youth Days, may this year’s WYD draw many young people to a deep, vibrant love for Christ and His Church.

Expanding Our Hearts

Let’s once again unite our prayers this month with those of Pope Benedict XVI. Here are the Holy Father’s intentions for July 2011, as published by the Apostleship of Prayer:

  • Those Suffering with AIDS.  That Christians may ease the physical and spiritual sufferings of those who are sick with AIDS, especially in the poorest countries.
  • Religious Missionary Women.  That religious women in mission territories may be witnesses of the joy in the Gospel and living signs of the love of Christ.

One beautiful consequence of praying for the Holy Father’s intentions is that it causes us to expand our horizons, to pray for people we might not otherwise think about, because they are so far removed from our own limited experience.

So let us pray for the relief and missionary efforts identifed above, and in the process ask the Lord to make our hearts like unto His.

Priests After the Heart of Jesus

Let’s once again unite our prayers this month with those of Pope Benedict XVI. Here are the Holy Father’s intentions for June 2011, as published by the Apostleship of Prayer:

  • Priests.  That priests, united to the Heart of Christ, may always be true witnesses to the caring and merciful love of God. 
  • Missionary Vocations.  That the Holy Spirit may bring forth from our communities many missionaries who are ready to be fully consecrated to spreading the Kingdom of God.

All of us have a role to play in the evangelistic, missionary activity of the Church, and a great way to start is by praying for these intentions each day!

Praying with the Church

Let’s once again unite our prayers this month with those of Pope Benedict XVI. Here are the Holy Father’s intentions for May 2011, as published by the Apostleship of Prayer:

  • Communication Media.  That those working in communication media may respect the truth, solidarity, and dignity of all people.
  • Church in China.  That the Lord may help the Church in China persevere in fidelity to the Gospel and grow in unity.

All of us have a role to play in the evangelistic, missionary activity of the Church, and a great way to start is by praying for these intentions each day!

Apostleship of Prayer

I always keep on my desk a leaflet from the Apostleship of Prayer, containing the Pope’s intentions for each month. It just dawned on me that this would be a most helpful thing to post at the beginning of each month.

It’s good to recall that all vocations come through the Church. They’re not about “doing our own thing.” Uniting ours prayers with those of the Holy Father and the universal Church is an excellent way to open ourselves to God’s personal call in our lives.

Before giving the Pope’s intentions for March (I’m almost a week late, so another few minutes won’t hurt anybody), I’d like to recommend two privileged times for remembering the Pope’s intentions:

First, there’s the Morning Offering, which is a great way to commit our day to the Lord:

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and for all the intentions recommended by our Holy Father this month. Amen.

Second, there’s the family Rosary. At the beginning or end of the Rosary, to gain the indulgence for praying the Rosary–and again to manifest the unity of our prayer with that of the universal Church–it’s customary to pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the Pope’s intentions.

But what are the Pope’s intentions this month? Here they are:

Latin American Nations.  That the nations of Latin America may walk in fidelity to the Gospel and progress in justice and peace.

Persecuted Christians.  That the Holy Spirit may give light and strength to those in many regions of the world who are persecuted and discriminated against because of the Gospel.

I will post his intentions for subsequent months at the beginning of each month. In the meantime, check out the website of the Apostleship of Prayer for more information on this pious practice.