Next we'll move to the Universal Prayer (also known as the Prayers of the Faithful, or General Intercessions). This is the climax of the Liturgy of the Word. We have already prayed for our own needs and concerns at the beginning of mass in the silence after the "Let us pray" invitation before the opening prayer. Now however, the Universal Prayer should be "globally" oriented, for in our baptism we were given the privilege of interceding for all humanity. This is the role of Universal Prayer. I recently (re)examined some of what the church documents have to say about the Universal Prayer and have been working toward crafting more prayers in line with that universal nature of the prayer.
One of the first things I did 13 years ago when I started at St. Francis was to unify the Universal Prayers between masses on a given weekend. Previously, the English and Spanish communities prayed separate intentions. I felt this was incredibly important to unite the Universal Prayers, since we as one parish regardless of language pray the Universal Prayer together. I'm going to resume posting these intercessions on the parish webpage, so that if you'd like to pray them at home as well you can. Go to stfrancisholland.org and in the "About Us" menu there is the link for "bulletins, announcements and intercessions."
Also in keeping with a renewed refocusing the Universal Prayer on the "global" needs, in the very near future will be moving the announcement of the priests intention of the mass (the name of the person for whom the mass is offered) from the universal prayer to an announcement made right before mass begins, this announcement will also include some specific people who need our prayers such as members of the parish who have died since last Sunday.
This lent, we're exercising an option rarely chosen: to conclude each petition with a period of silence. My hope is that the period of silence gives everyone the opportunity to really pray these prayers well. -PK