Tag Archive for: Prayer

Jerusalem - Holy Land

Prayer Service for Peace In the Middle East

It can be overwhelming to read the headlines from Iraq, Syria, Israel and Palestine. So many have died as a result of war and genocide, and so many are now fleeing from the terrors sweeping through their homelands.

We are called to hope in Christ, who absorbs all of the world’s sin and transforms it into radiating love. We are called to unite in compassion, to help our brothers and sisters in need, especially in these most dire situations. We have confidence in Jesus, who assured us that prayer and fasting can drive out demons.

Mary Jane and Deacon Tom Fox hosted a special prayer service for peace in the Middle East August 11, 2014.

Related Resources

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Website
Franciscan Holy Land Website

Want to show your solidarity with Christians in the Middle East? Wearable Jerusalem Cross pins are available at the Pilgrim Center of Hope for a $5 donation. All proceeds will benefit the Church in the Middle East.  Contact us for your Jerusalem Cross pin.

Prayer to Our Lady of Jerusalem

O Mary Immaculate, gracious Queen of Heaven and Earth, we beseech you to turn a pitying glance on the Holy Land, which more than any other land belongs to you, and from there you have given the Redeemer to the world. Watch, therefore, with special protection over your native country, bring Peace and Justice to the people of the Holy land.

Obtain for us all the grace to serve the Lord in sanctity and justice during all the days of our life, so that by the merits of Jesus with your motherly aid, we may pass at last from this earthly Jerusalem to the splendors of the heavenly one.

Our Lady of Jerusalem, pray for us. Amen.

Friends In High Places

Why do Catholics pray to saints? Some Christians think that we should only pray to God, not any human being.

We pray to saints to ask for their prayers on our behalf (called “intercession”). Intercessory prayer builds up the Body of Christ, the Church, because it is a demonstration of our mutual dependence and love for one another in Christ.

Prayer to saints is a tradition founded in biblical theology and practiced throughout the history of the Church. In several instances in the Old Testament, angels are described as praying for God’s people on Earth. In Revelation 5:8, John receives a vision in which the “elders” in Heaven each “were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”

Around 258 AD, St. Cyprian, in a letter to Pope Cornelius, wrote:

“Let us be mutually mindful of each other, let us ever pray for each other, and if one of us shall, by the speediness of the Divine vouchsafement, depart hence first, let our love continue in the presence of the Lord, let not prayer for our brethren and sisters cease in the presence of the mercy of the Father.”

Nan Balfour and Julie Reyna chatted with Melanie Rigney, speaker for the 2014 Catholic Women’s Conference and author of Sisterhood of Saints.

Getting Prayers Answered

Is there a secret to having your prayers answered?

What might it mean if you don’t get what you asked God for?

Fr. Ed Hauf, OMI, chatted with Rob and Camille DiMaio to answer these and all your questions about prayer.

Catholicism Live! was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.

The Importance of Prayer

What is prayer and why is it important?

Prayer is our communication with God. As St. Therese of Lisieux has said, “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned towards heaven; it is a cry of recognition and love; embracing both trial and joy.”

God made us to live united with Him and with one another. After the rupture caused by original sin, God still bound himself to a sinful humanity and made his presence known by covenants and the voices of prophets. Jesus came that unity with God would be fully restored, and prayer is the pulse of communication in this intimacy.

Mary Jane and Deacon Tom Fox discuss the importance of prayer with Fr. Patrick Martin, blind missionary priest.

Introduction to the Devout Life

Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales

Francis de Sales’s Introduction to the Devout Life has remained a uniquely accessible and relevant treasure of devotion for nearly four hundred years. As Bishop of Geneva in the first quarter of the seventeenth century, Francis de Sales saw to the spiritual needs of everyone from the poorest peasants to court ladies. The desire to be closer to God that he found in people from all levels of society led him to compile these instructions on how to live in Christ.

Francis’s compassionate Introduction leads the reader through practical ways of attaining a devout life without renouncing the world and offers prayers and meditations to strengthen devotion in the face of temptation and hardship.


Purchase this book at your local Catholic bookstore or online. Don’t forget – if you shop on Amazon, make sure to start at Smile.Amazon.com and request that Pilgrim Center of Hope receive a portion of your purchase at no cost to you. Thank you for your much-needed support of this ministry.

Eucharistic Adoration

Eucharistic Adoration pamphlet

It is the heart of who we are as Catholics: the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The Holy Father, in his recent encyclical The Church and the Eucharist, is calling for heightened appreciation of this beautiful gift from God through adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. But how many Catholics in the pews participate in Eucharistic adoration, or even really understand what it is?

A new pamphlet from Our Sunday Visitor is the perfect tool with which to teach and inspire your parishioners. Eucharistic Adoration is a how-to guide for prayerful and thoughtful devotion. Concrete suggestions, spiritual meanings, even illustrated explanations of the objects used in adoration are wrapped into an attractive, easy-to-read, and distribute, package.

Use this pamphlet to challenge your parishioners or religious-education students to apply one of the suggestions for Eucharistic adoration during your next exposition. Or send it to the households in your church community with a letter encouraging adoration and listing times to observe this devotion in your parish.

Make pamphlets available at the church entrances during scheduled exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Or supply copies to your youth and young-adult group.

Published by Our Sunday Visitor Press – Click here to order online.

Limited copies are available at Pilgrim Center of Hope; call us in advance to inquire, at 210-521-3377.

Lectio Divina Guide

Lectio divina (Latin for “divine reading”) is a simple method of praying with Scripture. It was already known by the Church Fathers in the early days of the Church. Lectio divina was recommended by Saint Cyprian (a third-century bishop and martyr). It has been part of the prayer of Christians throughout the history of the Church. Monasteries kept the practice alive. Saint Benedict (480–547 A.D.) taught his monks to pray in this way 1500 years ago, and it is still a wonderful way to pray today.

Getting ready for Lectio Divina

FIND THE RIGHT TIME AND PLACE. Set aside a few minutes (aim for ten to fifteen minutes a day if you can manage it) in a quiet, comfortable place where you can be relatively free of distractions. Have your Bible available.
PRAY FOR HELP. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. You are about to have a conversation with God Himself; invite Him to take the lead in the conversation!

PICK A SCRIPTURE PASSAGE. Choose a Scripture passage as the subject of your prayer time. It should not be too long, perhaps a short Psalm (or a section of a longer one), a story from one of the Gospels, etc. We STRONGLY RECOMMEND using the Mass Readings of the Day. You can find them listed at http://www.usccb.org/nab/ . There are other ways to choose:

You might choose a book of the Bible that appeals to you, and read and pray with a little bit of it each day. The Psalms are great; they were Jesus’ prayer book, so they should be good enough for us! Or you might choose one of the Gospels or one of Paul’s letters.

QUIET YOUR MIND FOR A FEW MINUTES. Now you’re really ready to get started!
“If we delight in the law of God or the Word and mediate on it day and night, we will be blessed and prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

The four stages of Lectio Divina
Lectio divina has four stages, or parts, each with its Latin name:

Lectio (reading)
Meditatio (meditation)
Oratio (prayer)
Contemplatio (contemplation)

1) Lectio (reading)
Read the passage.
Reread it again s-l-o-w-l-y, line by line, pausing from time to time. Notice any words or phrases that appeal to you or attract your attention.
You’re not reading just to get the gist of the story; every word or phrase can have meaning.

2) Meditatio (meditation)
Mull over the passage you have just read. Remember, this is God speaking to you. The words or phrases that caught your attention may contain God’s special message for you. (He speaks to each one of us in a unique and individual way. No two people will get the exact same thing out of the passage. And if you were to read it again a year from now, you might hear something different.)

Spend extra time thinking about the meaning of the words that “jumped out” at you. Ask yourself,
• What is God saying to my heart?
• How can I relate this passage to my daily life?
• What is God asking of me at this moment?

3) Oratio (prayer)
Now it’s your turn to speak. Respond to God’s word in silent prayer. What do you want to say back to God? The passage you just read may inspire you to …
• Thank God.
• Praise Him.
• Tell Him you are sorry about something.
• Give yourself to Him in complete trust.
• Ask Him for something you need. Has the passage brought to mind any personal needs you might have? Or the needs of others?
• Make a resolution. Has the passage prompted you to take some action in your life? To overcome a bad or sinful habit? To reach out to someone in need?

If you would like, you can go back to the Scripture passage and repeat the meditatio and oratio stages with another phrase or two. It’s up to you. Let the Holy Spirit lead you.

4) Contemplatio (contemplation)
When you are finished reading, listening, and talking to God, it’s time to just rest in His loving presence for a few minutes.
No words are needed. Be at peace and rest in silence before the Lord.
Just love Him, and let Him love you. (Kind of like a couple falling in love — sometimes it’s enough just to be in the same room together.)

Finish with a prayer of thanksgiving for the gifts and inspirations received during your prayer time. In JOURNALING – you can include your insights, prayer in writing.

COPYRIGHT (c) Pilgrim Center of Hope, Inc.

You may request copies of this guide from us by calling our office: 210-521-3377. For bulk copies, we ask for a donation toward our ministry to help cover costs.

Pilgrims carry the Cross along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem - January 2017

Stations of the Cross meditations by St. Alphonsus Liguori

These are the most widely-used meditations on the Way of the Cross that Jesus experienced during his Passion. They were written by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the Redemptorist religious order.


You may inquire about this prayer at your local Catholic bookstore, or acquire it from Pilgrim Center of Hope for a small donation 210-521-3377.

Our outdoor Stations of the Cross are available for families/groups who want to pray and have a picnic lunch; click here for more information.

St Joseph of Nazareth

On Devotion to St. Joseph (Quamquam Pluries)

“On Devotion to St. Joseph (Quamquam Pluries)” encyclical by Pope Leo XIII

“In Joseph, faith is not separated from action,” said Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. For centuries, the model of St. Joseph has quietly resided in the hearts of Christians. Many popes have called his example out of the quiet, so that we would gain from friendship and devotion to him – towards a stronger faith in Christ.

Pope Leo XIII was one of these popes. His encyclical demonstrates why St. Joseph is so special, and why we should look to him for prayerful help, protection and guidance in following the Lord. At the end of the encyclical, he also mentions a special prayer to St. Joseph that we should especially include during our Rosaries for the month of October:

To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. Through that charity which bound thee to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which thou embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg thee to graciously regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with thy power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness; and, as once thou rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by thy constant protection, so that, supported by thy example and thy aid, we may be able to live piously, to die holy, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.

Perhaps your parish office would print a copy for you in exchange for a small donation, as well.

Purchase this book at your local Catholic bookstore or online. Don’t forget – if you shop on Amazon, make sure to start at Smile.Amazon.com and request that Pilgrim Center of Hope receive a portion of your purchase at no cost to you. Thank you for your much-needed support of this ministry.

Christ and the Beloved Disciple icon


Icons are holy images; paintings or mosaics representing the saints, the Lord Jesus, or images of the Lord’s life. They are the “official art” of the Church as it developed in the early centuries. Over time, those of us in the western tradition of the Church opened up to other forms of religious art, but our art also continues to be based upon the original style of icons.

Icons are sometimes called “theology in color” because they are not simply artwork, but the result of intense prayer and a rich spiritual life. Those who make icons are called iconographers. They live a lifestyle of simplicity, modeled after monastic life, praying and fasting as preparation for creating the icons. In fact, sometimes instead of ‘painting’ an icon, an iconographer is said to ‘write’ an icon. This is because icons are like theology or prayer. As someone might write a prayer using words on a page, an iconographer writes an icon to be their own prayer, with color and lines, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

When icons are blessed, they are sacramentals. Other sacramentals you may be familiar with are rosaries, crucifixes and holy water. All these things prepare us more readily to receive God’s grace in our lives.

We at Pilgrim Center of Hope have many icons at the Center, and certainly invite you to come and pray with them. You can also find icons at your local Catholic bookstore, or even in books at the library.

One of our Speaker Team presenters also offers a talk on icons for parishes, schools, or other groups.