Prayer of the Faithful

Most Masses include a Prayer of the Faithful. The prayer is in the form of a litany led and concluded by the presiding Priest, with prayer intentions announced by a reader.

 

The Prayer of the Faithful is the final act of the Liturgy of the Word. It follows the readings of the day, the chants between the readings, the homily and the profession of faith. It should take account of these liturgical actions as well as the local community circumstances and temporal situation.

 

The structure of the prayer follows the following general pattern:

 

  • A call by the presider to the assembly to present their intercessory prayers to God.
  • A litany of petitions presented to the assembly by a deacon or a reader. They follow a traditional form, always including four subjects, as follows:
    • prayer for the church,
    • prayer for the world,
    • prayer for the poor and needy,
    • prayer for the gathered assembly.
    • Additional petitions may be added for particular circumstances.
  • Each intercession is presented to the assembly in the format "For ...." or "That ...." or a combination of the two.
  • Each intercession concludes with a call to the assembly to give their assent to the proposed intercession, such as "Let us pray to the Lord."
  • The assembly responds in the form of a litany, with a common response to each intercession, giving assent to each one. These are usually short responses, such as "Lord, hear our prayer"  or "Lord, have mercy" or "Kyrie Eleison."
  • after the final intercession, the presider summarises the prayer and concludes it "through Christ our Lord," with the people give their final "Amen."

 

Role

The Writer of the Prayer of the Faithful takes into account the readings of the day, the homily and the temporal circumstances of the local community and the world at large. The invitation to prayer, the intercessions and the concluding prayer generally make use of some of the scriptural texts or images proclaimed during the Liturgy of the Word. The intercessions are composed with reference to local and global temporal circumstances. The prophetic proclamation of the homily is a third consideration for the writer, though this may require special considerations and strategies if there are different priests and homilies given at different weekend Masses.

 

Ministry Commitment

The Writer would need to spend at least an hour in preparation per liturgy. Usually scheduled by roster weekly, fortnightly or monthly. There is a requirement for ongoing training and formation.

 

Spiritual Gifts

 

Requirements for Admission to the Ministry of Writer of the Prayers of the Faithful

  • at least 16 years of age
  • approval by Parish Priest
  • a firm will to give faithful service to God and the Christian people.

 

Ministry Authorisation

The Parish Priest may authorise Writers of the Prayers of the Faithful as circumstances require.

 

Other Ministry Resources

General Intercessions, Elizabeth Harrington, Liturgy Lines, Liturgy Brisbane. This article provides a foundational grounding in the principles of writing intercessions. Highly recommended.

 

Prayer of the Faithful, Elizabeth Harrington, Liturgy Lines, Liturgy Brisbane. This article provides practical feedback on traps and opportunities in preparation of intercessions. Highly recommended.

 

Intercessions for Mass, Mary Grace Melcher, OCD (Liturgical Press, 2013). Covering all Sundays, weekdays and feast days, this e-Book provides an excellent starting point for the writing of intercessions, drawing on the text and images of the scripture of the day. The intercessions would then need to be adapted to the temporal situation of the local community and the world situation.

 

Some care needs to be taken in using the book, as it follows the USA liturgical calendar and the USA lectionary. There are a number of notable differences from the Australian liturgical calendar, especially our National celebrations - St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Anzac Day, Australia Day, Australia's patron saints and others. Refer to the Australian Ordo to be sure. There are also differences between the translation of scripture used in the USA (New American Bible) and that used in Australia (Jerusalem Bible and Grail psalms translation). Therefore, some of the words used in the prayer might be slightly different to the words heard in the reading from the Australian lectionary.

 

With these caveats in mind, this resource is highly recommended.

 

LabOra Worship, Liturgy Brisbane. A liturgy resources subscription service, including suggestions for general intercessions and Prayer of the Faithful. Highly recommended.

 

LiturgyHelp, Creative Ministry Resources, Hobart. A liturgy resources subscription service, including suggestions for general intercessions and Prayer of the Faithful. Highly recommended.