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Stories of Prayer, the Second Pillar of Stewardship at St Vincent de Paul

As pastor, I like to promote the ways we promote prayer at St Vincent de Paul to brother priests and friends in other parishes. We have a plethora of opportunity and my prayer for my current parishioners is that we all (including me) take advantage of these tremendous opportunities. Today, we are one of five parishes in the diocese who normally schedule two masses per day Tuesday through Friday. On Friday’s after 6:30am Mass, we pray The Seven Offerings of the Precious Blood. We are one of only a few parishes in the diocese who offer exposition of the Blessed Sacrament more than once a week; we also offer Benediction on Fridays. With our six weekend Masses, we are offering more weekend masses than any other parish in the diocese. We pray the rosary before weekend Masses at 4pm, 7:30pm, 10 and 11:30am. We try to offer the sacrament of reconciliation at least twice a week and three times the first weekend of the month.
In our bulletin, we offer a list of people to pray for who are sick, as well as those who are in the military. I know of a few people who purposefully take a bulletin with them to the adoration chapel so they can pray for these people by name. We offer a monthly rosary for those who are experiencing prolonged health concerns. We start and end every parish meeting with a prayer.
We start and end our school day with prayer; we showcase and highlight one method of prayer per grade during the academic year with our Armor of God program. We provide an eighth grade retreat and a Freshmen through Junior retreat. We provide a Senior Mission Trip which includes Mass and evening prayer each day. Our students come to Mass at least once a week during the school year and many times they are there twice a week. We offer them adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and three scheduled times to come to Reconciliation during the school year.
Our confirmation candidates come together once a month for a prayer experience. Our PSR students are introduced to many of the Armor of God prayer experiences during their time in PSR as well. We teach the importance of prayer and give several prayer experiences to our RCIA candidates, during Marriage Preparation and at Baptism preparation.
And, we place many specific prayer opportunities on our parish calendar that we promote throughout the year. – Blessing of Pets, Blessing of Throats, Blessing of Seeds at harvest, Blessing of Cemeteries, Mass with anointing of the sick, prayers for first responders, prayers for our medical providers, prayers for teachers, prayers for a good school year, prayers for students during final exams, prayer at the end of the school year, and much more. We are a house of prayer and we are a family at prayer!
This week, I encourage you to examine your prayer life. Does prayer happen at least once a day for 5 minutes? If not, why not? Ask the Lord to show you how to pray – then pray the “Our Father.” Finally, and really importantly, let God lead you in the rest of your day after you have prayed. Don’t compartmentalize your prayer leaving God in the box and going about your day relying on your own resources. He is always with you; let him lead you. Every encounter and activity is an opportunity for God to lead you closer to him through what is about to happen, is happening and just happened. Let him by being present to him throughout the day after you have left your prayer time. Then, return to him at the end of the day in prayer giving thanks for all he has lead you through that day. God bless you in your prayers today and as you and I grow in our prayer lives together.