Prayer and Worship

Featured Image: Old Woman Praying MET DP146510.jpg     Matthias Stom, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


“Responses in this category were moving and heartfelt, as people described their faith as “Centre of my
life” and described also the call to holiness: “I feel the Holy Spirit is asking me to develop a much
greater love, knowledge and understanding of Scripture.”
The joy of going through sacraments with others, children, grandchildren, along with ‘shared beliefs ’
and “a community of like-minded people” were all mentioned but it was clear that views of practicing
Catholics differ greatly. Some people cannot tolerate any more involvement in the Church and said
they have had to walk away and others, apparently holding similar views, are able to suspend their
criticisms most of the time and still find some spiritual comfort and nourishment in coming to Church.
A few suggested the parish should be more full of “Happiness and joyfulness.” “We are a dismal
church, closer to purgatory than heaven, we should be more outward looking”
People talked in very real terms about their relationship with God, e.g. being angry with God. There
was a generous acknowledgement that different people appreciated the liturgy differently and that
there is room for different ways of praying. Music was felt to be a possible way to encourage young
people to stay involved and of being inclusive to different cultures.
Others suggested the Church should be more missionary, explain the Mass more, help different people
to find a role, for example, single people getting overlooked as a group. Some people regretted the old
days when the church was a more tight-knit community. There were specific concerns e.g. for a new
sound system, for disabled parking, for priests to speak loudly and clearly for the benefit of those who
had difficulty hearing, and a request to make sure the church is warm enough. People said it was nice
to have the choice of different types of liturgies, from the quiet to the songful. One person invoked the
blessing of her favourite, St Anthony. One concern was from a person who said that the sacrament of
reconciliation should be done to respect the anonymity and privacy of the penitent, which may be a
response to some of the Covid arrangements for Reconciliation. Access to the Sacraments was
mentioned, particularly in relation to ‘due reverence’ at Mass, the loss of Sacramental opportunities
during lockdown and the looming shortage of priests.

from The Synthesis Report on Hallam Diocese Synodal Journey by the Diocese of Hallam: April 2022
This retreat material uses the diocesan synod report as the basis of a prayer journey. The themes raised in synod meetings by the people of God in the diocese of Hallam were gathered into a synthesis report which Bishop Ralph conveyed to the Bishops  Conference of England and Wales. This was incorporated into the Continental report sent to Rome in 2022. While these are not necessarily his views, Bishop Ralph is fully supportive of the synodal process and encourages the synodal method of Conversations in the Spirit, prayerful reflection and further discernment with these themes.

Opening prayer

If you are using this prayer by yourself at home, then remember that you are not alone. You are a valued member of this group, you are sharing this retreat together. Each person will pray and ponder in their own time and place, but the Spirit is with each and every one and all of you. You are together in God.

A: God, you have gathered all your people in Synod,
We give you thanks for the joy experienced by those who decided to set out to listen to God and to their brothers and sisters, with an attitude of welcome, humility and siblinghood. Help us to enter these pages as on “holy ground”.

A: Creator of the world, eternal God,
B: we come together from our own places for a little while.

A: Redeemer of humanity, God with us,
B: we have come with all our differences seeking common respect

A: Spirit of unity, go-between God,
B: we have come with stories of our own to a place where stories meet.

A: So here, in this space, let us take time together. for when your people gather and stories are shared, there is much to celebrate and honour.
B: In your name, three in one God, pattern of community. Amen.

Adapted from “Iona Abbey Worship Book”, 2001. copyright © WGRG, Iona Community, Glasgow, Scotland. Reproduced by permission.

Summary of the Diocesan Report

  • “My faith is the centre of my life”.
  • Many described a call to holiness.
  • “I feel the Holy Spirit is asking me to develop a much greater love, knowledge and understanding of scripture”.
  • Sharing the Sacraments with others is a joy.
  • Sadness from some about reduced opportunity to attend the pre Vatican ll liturgy in Latin. People can appreciate liturgy in different ways, there is room for different ways of praying together.

A. First impressions

  • What I like about this summary is ………
  • What I do not like about this summary is ……..
  • This summary makes me feel ……..


Matthew 6:7-13

Jesus said, “When you pray do not go on babbling endlessly as the pagans do, for they believe that they are more likely to be heard because of their many words. Do not imitate them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts
as we forgive our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”

Points to Ponder

  • Maybe consider these as headings for a prayer.
  • Try and pray this prayer slowly, pausing after each phrase, and notice my response.
  • Maybe try expressing this prayer in another medium – dance, drawing, music?

Reflect, Respond. Share

B. Reflect

  • In this passage Jesus is saying to me …
  • My response to this is …
  • This makes me feel …

C. Respond

  • If I was to review my responses to parts A and B I would say …
  • Something I have discovered is …

D. Share

  • A few days later, read what you have written for C. Is there something that you are comfortable to share with the group? It could be what you have written, or maybe a poem, painting or photo could better express what you want to say.

Closing prayer

A: As we continue in our retreat together, in this day and in our lives
B: May we be grateful for the blessings of this day, today and each day.
B: May we be grateful for the new stories and new ways of thinking we have explored, today and each day.
B: May we be grateful for kind company, heedful to God, heedful to ourselves and heedful to each other, today and each day
A. We pray for God’s presence amongst us  
B. That we might be drawn into the Trinity
A. We pray for God’s generosity
B .In sharing our inheritance of prayer and scripture with each other
A. We pray for God’s creativity
B. As we seek new ways to engage all-comers in our liturgy
A. We pray for God’s blessing
B. On all those we hold in our prayer
A. We pray for God’s Wisdom
B. That we might recognise the Trinitarian love we share together
A: God from whom all gifts come, who shares our adventure, and delights in our friendship
B: We thank you for your presence with us as we continue in our retreat this day, and each day of our lives. Amen