Guided Holy Hour-Vigil of Prayer for the protection of the 8th Amendment

Guided Holy Hour
Vigil of Prayer for the protection of the 8th Amendment
8th of April 2018

Opening Hymn: Be not afraid
(Bob Dufford, S.J)

1)You shall cross the barren desert
But you shall not die of thirst
You shall wander far in safety
Though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words in foreign lands
And all will understand
You shall see the face of God and live.

Ref: Be not afraid, I go before you always, come follow Me and I shall give you rest.

2) If you pass through raging waters
In the sea, you shall not drown
If you walk amidst the burning flames
You shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the pow'r of hell
And death is at your side
Know that I am with you, through it all.

3)Blessed are your poor
For the Kingdom shall be theirs
Blest are you that weep and mourn
for one day you shall laugh.
And if wicked men insult and hate you
All because of Me
Blessed, blessed are you!

Introduction: We gather this evening for this vigil of prayer and fasting to intercede for our country as we approach a referendum next month which wants to remove the 8th amendment from our Constitution. To remove this amendment is to remove the protection of unborn life, life of the weakest and the most vulnerable. Tomorrow the Church celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation, that great event where we contemplate Mary’s YES to life, even though she was unmarried, she was afraid, unsure of what the future held. It is fitting to listen to this quote from Pope Francis from Amoris Laetitia:

 “Each child has a place in God’s heart from all eternity; once he or she is conceived, the Creator’s eternal dream comes Let us pause to think of the great value of that embryo from the moment of conception. We need to see it with the eyes of God, who always looks beyond mere appearances. (Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, 168)

We pause for some moments of quiet prayer to gather our thoughts, our emotions, our prayers and we present them before the Lord.

We listen now to the Gospel of the Annunciation:

From the Gospel according to St. Luke

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you." But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.  He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."  Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"  The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore  the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.”
The Gospel of the Lord. R/ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflection: Sr. M. Louise (Pro-life testimony given from experience of praying outside abortion clinics in Canada)

We pray Psalm 139 in two choirs.
O Lord, you search me and you know me,
you know my resting and my rising,
you discern my purpose from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down,
all my ways lie open to you.

Before ever a word is on my tongue
you know it, O Lord, through and through.
Behind and before you besiege me,
your hand ever laid upon me.
Too wonderful for me this knowledge,
too high, beyond my reach.

O where can I go from your spirit,
or where can I flee from your face?
If I climb the heavens, you are there.
If I lie in the grave, you are there.

If I take the wings of the dawn
and dwell at the sea’s furthest end,
even there your hand would lead me,
your right hand would hold me fast.

If I say: “Let the darkness hide me
and the light around me be night,”
even darkness is not dark for you
and the night is as clear as the day.

For it was you who created my being,
knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you for the wonder of my being,
for the wonders of all your creation.

Already you knew my soul
my body held no secret from you
when I was being fashioned in secret
and moulded in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw all my actions,
they were all of them written in your book;
every one of my days was decreed
before one of them came into being.

To me, how mysterious your thoughts,
the sum of them not to be numbered!
If I count them, they are more than the sand;
to finish, I must be eternal, like you.

O search me, God, and know my heart.
O test me and know my thoughts.
See that I follow not the wrong path
and lead me in the path of life eternal.

Song: O the word of my Lord
Chorus  O the word of my Lord, deep within my being, 
O the word of my Lord,  You have filled my mind.    

1) Before I formed you in the womb  I knew you through and through,  I chose you to be mine.  Before you left your mother’s side  I called to you, my child, to be my sign.    Chorus
2)  I know that you are very young,  but I will make you strong  I’ll fill you with my word;  And you will travel through the land,  fulfilling my command  which you have heard.    Chorus
3) And everywhere you are to go , my hand will follow you;  You will not be alone.  In all the danger that you fear  You’ll find me very near,  Your words my own. 


Rosary: The Joyful Mysteries:

1st Mystery- The Annunciation. Mary is troubled by the angel's greeting, yet rejoices to do God's will. Let us pray that those who are troubled by their pregnancy may have the grace to trust in God's will.

2nd Mystery- The Visitation-John the Baptist leapt for joy in his mother's womb. We pray that people may realize that abortion is not about children who "might" come into the world, but is about children who are already in the world, living and growing in the womb, and are scheduled to be killed.

3rd Mystery-The Birth of Jesus-God Himself was born as a child. The greatness of a person does not depend on size, for the newborn King is very small. Let us pray for an end to prejudice against the tiny babies threatened by abortion.

4th Mystery-The Presentation-The Child is presented in the Temple because Jesus belongs to God. We are reminded that children are given to parents to look after on this earth, until the day where they return to God.

5th Mystery-The Finding of Jesus-The boy Jesus was filled with wisdom, because He is God. Let us pray that all people may see the wisdom of His teachings about the dignity of life, and may understand that this teaching is not an opinion, but the truth.

Hymn: When Mary listened to God’s word

Concluding prayer:
Choose Life: Prayer for the Child in the Womb

Lord Jesus, you are the source and lover of life.
Reawaken in us respect for every human life.
Help us to see in each child the marvellous work of our Creator.
Open our hearts to welcome every child
as a unique and wonderful gift.
Guide the work of doctors, nurses and midwives.
May the life of a mother and her baby in the womb
be equally cherished and respected.
Help those who make our laws to uphold
the uniqueness and sacredness of every human life,
from the first moment of conception to natural death.
Give us wisdom and generosity to build a society that cares for all.
Together with Mary, your Mother,
in whose womb you took on our human nature,
Help us to choose life in every decision we take.
We ask this in the joyful hope of eternal life with you,
and in the communion of the Blessed Trinity.

Our Lady of Knock, pray for us.
All the Saints of Ireland, pray for us.

Closing hymn: Hail Queen of Heaven