Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain
21 February 2016 - 27 February 2016
Give thanks for:
- Faithful Christians who have nourished and renewed the long tradition of Christianity in these countries.
- St Peter and St Paul, whose work for the gospel eventually resulted in the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity.
- The Catacombs and all the other monuments where the history of early Christianity inspires a renewed faith.
- St James, whose shrine at Santiago de Compostela is a place where contemporary pilgrims unite in prayer for a reconciled Europe.
- Those who reinterpret the story of St James so that it is not used against Muslims.
- Pilgrims who try to find a deeper faith and a healing of the spirit.
- Those who welcome and care for migrants and refugees.
- Guitars, stomping feet, castanets, the whirl of flamenco dancers, the charm of Neapolitan songs, the thrill of an outdoor opera in an ancient arena.
- Renewers of the church, including Peter Valdes, Benedict and Scholastica, Francis and Claire, Catherine of Siena.
- Fiestas full of family and friends.
- Michelangelo, de Vinci, Titian, Velazquez and all who used their art to proclaim the gospel.
- The Vatican, and all who hold positions of power in the Roman Catholic Church.
- An end to terrorism and violence; solutions to the conflicts with the Basque region of Spain.
- Better use of land, sea and air resources.
- Wisdom and guidance in dealing with immigration issues.
- Young people, that they may find opportunity in their homelands and renewed hope in Christ.
- The immigrants and the victims of human trafficking.
- The unemployed.
- An end to corruption and crime, so that justice may exist for all people.
- Continued struggles against intolerance and hatred.
- A renewal of the spirit of the church, amid an increasingly secular and materialistic society.
Take, Lord, all my liberty.
Receive my memory, my understanding, my whole will,
all that I have and possess;
You have given all to me;
I return it all to you;
Give me only your love and your grace.
With these I am rich enough
and I desire nothing more.
(Ignatius of Loyola, 1491 - 1556)
Affirmation of faith
I believe in a Father
who so loves his children
to wait in silence for their return
in order to give them the best robe,
kill the fatted calf
and celebrate the feast of reconciliation.
I believe in a Spirit
whose power is not revealed in the thunder of the gale
nor in the dread of the earthquake
but in the still, small voice.
I believe in a Son
who broke the power of Silence
with the piercing cry,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Dying on the cross
he transformed the silence of death
into the death of every silence.
(Massimo Aprile, Italy. Rete di Liturgia, 1996, No. 2 © Rete di Liturgia.)