We are thankful for:
- the many ways in which these countries have moved beyond their colonial histories, especially the scars related to slave trade
- this area’s distinctive music and cultural practices of storytelling (griots)
- economic and educational advances that have lifted some out of poverty
- promising transitions into democracy and changes in government leaders
- the persistent, faithful witness of churches in the midst of other faiths.
We pray for:
- those people in these societies who continue to live in abject poverty
- an end to policies, systems, and cultural practices that continue to exploit and marginalize some groups
- the fair election of more just government leaders who respect the rights of all people
- faith communities witnessing and working together for the common good.
Prayer to the Holy Child
Holy child of Bethlehem, born in a stable:
help us to remember all those children living in poverty or even abandoned by their parents.
Holy child of Bethlehem, whom Herod sought to kill:
help us to remember all those holy innocents of our own time who suffer abuse or neglect in so many different ways.
Holy child of Bethlehem, a refugee in Egypt:
help us to care for all those children who are forced to live far away from their homes.
May the God of love bless all of you,
your families and our nation with his gift of peace and happiness.
(From the Christmas message of the Most Rev. Robert P. Ellison CSSp, Bishop of Banjul.)
Prayer for The Gambia
Lord, grant our leaders the qualities of leadership they need
to stride securely through our times,
and on the hard-fought path of life
give them a generous portion of the grace they need
to lead us with a sincere heart and with wisdom.
May the difficult sacrifices
we joyfully make for the development of our country
reach up to you as a living plea
to lavish kindness, faithfulness and power
and keep watch over our land.
Lord, let us believe in your power
to bring all people together
and let no one deprive us of this song of unity.
Let us form the great image of the human person and community
among us which fulfils your will.
We pray for peace and unity in our homeland,
that we may be able to live as one family
working for the betterment of our nation and her people.
We pray for all those who have to witness to their faith
in situations where they are ridiculed, threatened and persecuted:
that they may find in you, Lord, the courage they need.
(Prayer submitted by the Most Rev. Michael J. Cleary CSSp, Bishop of Banjul.)
Prayer from Senegal
Lord, hear my prayer of peace and forgiveness!
Lord God, forgive the white slave-traders of Europe and over the seas!
They hunted our children like wild elephants. They caught them, tied
them up, whipped them and soiled their hands with their blood.
Bless my people, Lord, those who seek their own faces under the threat
of being recognized. May they continue to seek you in spite of the cold
and famine that eats at their very bones, at their very insides. The
woman who laments her absent husband, the fiancée her lost love, the
mother her dead son, bless those who have lost loved ones, may we all
unite under your love.
With your help, may all the people of Europe, Asia, Africa, and all who
have sweated blood and suffering look beyond and see the haloed heads
of my people. Extend a warm handshake to them so that we may all
interlace our fingers to belt the earth in fraternal love.
(Excerpted from “Prayer for Peace and Brotherhood”, Sedar Senghor, president of Senegal, 1960-81. Hallelujah for the Day, ed. Anthony Gittins, Liguori/Triumph, Ligouri MO, USA, 2002, p.103.)
1. A Gala mama, na-Doun Zunui vaazu. Nii é zaani, é bag aga toun sebei no.
2. Gi niina volu, è zebei ve gi ve, è bo gi va gi vile Da-velei no ma.
3. Toga va volu, ga-Masagi Yesu. Ga mama fe be za, eyesu googo.
Alleluya, Gala è mama ; Aleluya, amina. Aleluya, Gala è mama ; gi niina volu.
1. Praise God for his Son, who died and by his own power rose again.
2. Renew us again, you give us power. You help us to follow your way.
3. Our King Jesus will come again. Today we thank him, to all eternity.
Refrain: Alleluia, thank you, God; Alleluia, amen; Alleluia, thank you, God. Renew us again.
(Words of a song in the Toma language, Republic of Guinea.)