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Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network

The Holy Father has asked the Jesuits across the world to promote a network of prayer as a new initiative from the former Apostolate of Prayer.

Each province has a national contact for this work, ours being Fr. David Stewart SJ.

Each month the Holy Father will have a main prayer intention for people to use as part of their daily prayer, and he will also announce an "urgent intention" for people’s prayer. A short video based on the main intention published each month and known as 'The Pope Video'.

Fr. Stewart publishes a webpage each month with prayer reflections based on the main intention.

Bookmark this page and revisit monthly for the latest intentions.

Further information through the Pathways to God and Click to Pray websites.

 

Image reproduced courtesy of The Catholic Church in England and Wales.


September 2021

An Environmentally Sustainable Lifestyle

Who is leading new projects to protect and sustain the environment? Young people, beyond a doubt. They know well that social and environmental progress are very connected. Older people can learn a great deal from the young. “Let us take advantage of their example,” as the Pope says, “and reflect on our lifestyle, especially during these moments of health, social and environmental crisis.” Share this message of Francis with your family and friends.

It makes me very happy to see that young people have the courage to undertake projects for environmental and social improvement, since the two go together.

We adults can learn much from them, because in all matters related to care for the planet, they are at the forefront.

Let us take advantage of their example and reflect on our lifestyle, especially during these moments of health, social and environmental crisis.

Let us reflect on how the way we eat, consume, travel, or the way we use water, energy, plastics, and many other material goods, is often harmful to the Earth.

Let us choose to change! Let us advance with young people towards lifestyles that are simpler and more respectful of the environment.

Let us pray that we all will make courageous choices, the choices necessary for a simple and environmentally sustainable lifestyle, taking inspiration from our young people who are resolutely committed to this. And they aren’t foolish, because they are committed to their own future. This is why they want to change what they will inherit at a time when we will no longer be here.

Link to Fr. Stewart's webpage for September.


NB. All previous videos can be viewed on our YouTube channel.


August 2021

Church on the Way

The Church is a living thing. Like all living things, it is constantly transforming itself. In this process of change, it may encounter difficulties, but it never forgets its evangelizing identity. Renewal of the Church, the Holy Father tells us, is guided by the Holy Spirit and begins with “a reform of ourselves, without prefabricated ideas, without ideological prejudices, without rigidity.” Let us join Francis’s dream of a Church with “an even more missionary option: that it go out to meet others without proselytism and that it transform all its structures for the evangelization of today’s world.

If you share this dream, share the Pope’s message with all those who want to progress along the path which he is showing us.

The specific vocation of the Church is evangelization, which isn’t proselytism, no. Its vocation is evangelization; even more, the Church’s identity is evangelization.

We can only renew the Church by discerning God’s will in our daily life and embarking on a transformation guided by the Holy Spirit. Our own reform as persons is that transformation. Allowing the Holy Spirit, the gift of God in our hearts, remind us what Jesus taught and help us put it into practice.

Let us begin reforming the Church with a reform of ourselves, without prefabricated ideas, without ideological prejudices, without rigidity, but rather by moving forward based on spiritual experience, an experience of prayer, an experience of charity, an experience of service.

I dream of an even more missionary option: one that goes out to meet others without proselytism and that transforms all its structures for the evangelization of today’s world.

Let us remember that the Church always has difficulties, always is in crisis, because she’s alive. Living things go through crises. Only the dead don’t have crises.

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.

Link to Fr. Stewart's webpage for August.

July 2021

Social Friendship

Friendship is one of the great gifts that life gives us. Being able to count on friends, during good times as well as bad, is a gift from God. Wouldn’t it be stupendous if we could “go beyond (our) groups of friends and build social friendship, which is so necessary for living together well,” as Francis tells us? We need to seek friends instead of enemies, understanding each other instead of fighting – in the Pope’s words, “leaving polarization behind.” Let us extend a hand and listen to others so we can work together for the common good. Share this message of Francis with your friends, and also – why not? – with people who aren’t friends yet.

The Bible says that whoever finds a friend has found a treasure.

I would like to invite everyone to go beyond their groups of friends and build social friendship, which is so necessary for living together well.

We especially need to have a renewed encounter with the most impoverished and vulnerable, those on the peripheries. And we need to distance ourselves from populisms that exploit the anguish of the people without providing solutions, proposing a mystique that solves nothing.

We must flee from social enmity which only destroys, and leave “polarization” behind.

And this isn’t always easy, especially today when part of our politics, society and media are bent on creating enemies so as to defeat them in a game of power.

Dialogue is the path to seeing reality in a new way, so we can live with passion the challenges we face in constructing the common good.

Let us pray that, in social, economic, and political situations of conflict, we may be courageous and passionate architects of dialogue and friendship, men and women who always hold out a helping hand, and may no spaces of enmity and war remain.

Link to Fr. Stewart's webpage for July.

June 2021

The Beauty of Marriage

Some people say that marriage has gone out of style and that these days aren’t the right time to undertake the adventure of getting married. And yes, it’s an adventure, a great adventure – or, as Francis says, “a demanding journey, at times difficult, and at times complicated, but it’s worth making the effort.” In order to get married, as when preparing for any journey, you need to prepare yourself well. You need to understand that “marriage isn’t just a ‘social’ act; it’s a vocation that’s born from the heart,” as the Pope says in this month’s video. Go ahead and share this message of joy that reminds us that “sharing one’s life is something beautiful.” “Is it true, what some people say – that young people don’t want to get married, especially during these difficult times? Getting married and sharing one’s life is something beautiful. It’s a demanding journey, at times difficult, and at times complicated, but it’s worth making the effort. And on this life–long journey, the husband and wife aren’t alone; Jesus accompanies them. Marriage isn’t just a ‘social’ act; it’s a vocation that’s born from the heart; it’s a conscious decision for the rest of one’s life that requires specific preparation. Please, never forget this. God has a dream for us – love – and He asks us to make it his own. Let us make our own the love which is God’s dream for us. And let us pray for young people who are preparing for marriage with the support of a Christian community; may they grow in love, with generosity, faithfulness and patience. Because a great deal of patience is necessary in order to love. But it’s worth it, isn't it?"

Link to Fr. Stewart's webpage for June.

May 2021

The World of Finance

Today, when we hear talk of finances, we often feel as if it’s a subject very distant from our day-to-day life. As Francis says, “How far the world of high finance is from the life of the majority of people!” It doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways of bringing the world of high finance closer to ordinary people and, above all, of putting it at the service of all people, not just a small number of speculators. This is what the Pope reminds us about this month: “We still have time to begin a process of global change to practice a different kind of economy, one that is more just, more inclusive and sustainable —and leaves no one behind.” We can all contribute, to a greater or lesser degree, to make this global change possible. Share this petition of the Pope that financial speculation be regulated and high finance serve the common good.

Link to Fr. Stewart's webpage for May.

April 2021

Fundamental Rights

In many parts of the world, defending fundamental human rights can imply risk. This is true not only under dictatorial regimes, but also in some democracies undergoing a crisis. As Francis says, it requires courage to “actively” combat “poverty, inequality, the lack of work, land and housing, and the denial of social and labor rights.” This month, the Pope invites us to support those who willingly accept the consequences of defending fundamental rights in places where it isn’t easy, so that “they may see their sacrifice and their work bear abundant fruit.” Let us not leave them on their own. Pray, and share these words of the Pope so that those valiant people may feel accompanied in their work.

Link to Fr. Stewart's webpage for April.

March 2021

Sacrament of Reconciliation

What does the sacrament of reconciliation mean to you? Have you already had that experience? Francis tells us: “When I go to confession, it is in order to be healed, to heal my soul. To leave with greater spiritual health.” The Pope invites us to live this sacrament of love that transforms our life: “The center of confession is not the sins we declare, but the divine love we receive, of which we are always in need.” God is greater than our sins. Share this message full of joy with everyone you care about, and go to the sacrament of forgiveness to savor the Lord’s infinite mercy. It’s a gift for you!

Link to Fr. Stewart's webpage for March.

February 2021

For women who are victims of violence

Women. Suffering. Violence. Too often, we see these three words together in the news. As if this weren’t enough, the pandemic has caused an increase in abuse. How can we repair this damage? You can begin by responding to the call that comes to us from women who suffer any kind of violence: HELP. As Pope Francis says, “If we want a better world, that will be a peaceful home and not a battlefield, we all need to do a lot more for the dignity of each woman.” Get into action, sharing The Pope Video on all your social networks! Make the Holy Father’s message denouncing this evil reach many people.

Link to Fr. Stewart's webpage for February.

January 2021

At the service of Human Fraternity

In this new year that begins, the Holy Father proposes a new challenge to us: to be more fraternal. “Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.” Are you willing to cultivate dialogue and give yourself space to get to know others better? Join this initiative and put fraternity into practice. Help spread Francis’ message by sharing this video!

When we pray to God following Jesus, we come together as brothers and sisters with those who pray according to other cultures, other traditions and other beliefs.

We are brothers and sisters who pray.

Fraternity leads us to open ourselves to the Father of all and to see in the other a brother or sister, to share our lives or to support, to love, and to know each other.

The Church values the action of God in other religions, without forgetting that for us Christians, the source of human dignity and fraternity is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We believers must return to our sources and concentrate on what is essential. What is essential to our faith is the adoration of God and love of neighbour.

Let us pray that the Lord may give us the grace to live in full fellowship with our brothers and sisters of other religions and not fight each other, and praying for one another, open ourselves to all.

Link to Fr. Stewart's webpage for January.