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Prayers and Reflections for July/August




The Pope's Monthly Intentions
July: Universal: We pray that, in social, economic and political situations of conflict, we may be courageous and passionate architects of dialogue and friendship.
August: Evangelisation: Let us pray for the Church, that she may receive from the Holy Spirit the grace and strength to reform herself in the light of the Gospel.

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World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly o 25 July
On 31 January 2021, Pope Francis announced, after the Sunday Angelus, that the First World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly will be celebrated on Sunday, 25 July, the Sunday nearest the memorial of Ss Joachim and Anne (26 July). The voice of the elderly 'is precious,' Pope Francis said, 'because it sings the praises of God and preserves the roots of the peoples.' The elderly, he continued, 'remind us that old age is a gift and that grandparents are the link between the different generation, to pass on to the young the experience of life.'
    The theme chosen by Pope Francis for this inaugural commemoration is 'I am with you always' (Mt 28:20). It expresses the closeness of the Lord and the Church to every older person, especially in these challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic.
    The theme, 'I am with you always' is also 'a promise of closeness and hope that young and old can mutually share', notes the press release. Not only are grandchildren and youths invited to be present in the lives of older people, but older people and grandparents also have a mission of evangelisation, proclamation and prayer and of encouraging young people in their faith.
Prayer for Grandparents
Written by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2008 for the Catholic Grandparents Association

Lord Jesus,
you were born of the Virgin Mary,
the daughter of Saints Joachim and Anne.
Look with love on grandparents the world over.
Protect them! They are a source of enrichment
for families, for the Church and for all of society.
Support them! As they grow older,
may they continue to be for their families
strong pillars of Gospel faith, guardians of noble domestic ideals,
living treasuries of sound religious traditions.
Make them teachers of wisdom and courage,
that they may pass on to future generations the fruits
of their mature human and spiritual experience.
Lord Jesus,
help families and society to value the presence and roles of grandparents.
May they never be ignored or excluded,
but always encounter respect and love.
Help them to live serenely and to feel welcomed
in all the years of life which you give them.
Mary, Mother of all the living,
keep grandparents constantly in your care,
accompany them on their earthly pilgrimage,
and by your prayers, grant that all families
may one day be reunited in our heavenly homeland,
where you await all humanity for the great
embrace of life without end. Amen.

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St Mary Magdalene: An Apostle to the Apostles o 22 July
In the resurrection stories, Mary in her grief is asked: 'Why are you crying'? Then her name, MARY was spoken. She was valued and acknowledged. She makes a profession of faith in four words: IT IS THE LORD. She is asked to GO AND TELL the frightened disciples that the Lord is alive. Give yourself time to hear God whisper your own name in loving invitation.

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St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) o 31 July
Do everything for the glory of God. Ignatius wrote over 7000 letters. His writings then were an encouragement in the way of the 'dialogue and friendship' that Pope Francis refers to in his prayer-intention for this month. This year we unite with the Jesuits in celebrating the 500th anniversary of the conversion of Ignatius.

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Feast of the Transfiguration o 6 August
The feast invites us to 'go up the mountain', to set aside time and space to listen to God's Word, as we are asked to do by the voice from the cloud. Our encounter with God's Word inspires us to 'come down the mountain' and meet God's presence in all those whose lives are blighted by worry, fear, injustice, poverty - materially and spiritually.

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Edith Stein - St Teresa Benedict of the Cross (1891-1942) o 9 August
Edith managed to write little notes that were smuggled out to her Carmelite community from Auschwitz concentration camp. One note read; 'A "science of the Cross" can be gained only if one is made to feel the Cross in the depths of one's being.' Making the Sign of the Cross shows us that our lives are forever guided by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

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St Clare (1193-1253)  o 11 August
Clare is often portrayed in art as holding a monstrance with the Eucharist in defence of an attack by Saracen mercenaries on her convent community. Clare witnessed to holiness and humanity, wisdom and welcome to all. She was canonised two years after her death.

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St Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941)
14 August
Maximilian worked to spread the message of God's love in Poland and in Japan through the setting up of a printing press. He gave radical expression to God's love when he offered to take the place of a father who was going to be executed by the Nazis in 1941 in Auschwitz.

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