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  Less In Lent By Fr Brian O'Toole  
Spiritan Prayers

To download the prayers below please click to download or right click on each image and select "Save target as" or "Save link as" to save the prayer slides to your computer.

Please note: these prayer slides are in PowerPoint or PDF format. Microsoft PowerPoint or the free Microsoft Office PowerPoint Viewer are required to view PowerPoint files. Adobe Reader, also free, is required to view PDF files.

September Morning Prayer

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File format: Adobe Reader PDF
File size: 955kb

May \ Graduation Reflection

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File format: Adobe Reader PDF
File size: 491kb

Lenten Prayer

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File format: PowerPoint 97 - 2003
File size: 3.44mb

You are either Bread or Stone

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File size: 57.1kb

Lenten Prayers for Hungry People

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File size: 82.2kb

Lenten Prayers

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File size: 65.8kb

Primrose

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File size: 0.55mb

Leadership Prayer

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File size: 284kb

Advent Prayer

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File format: PowerPoint 97 - 2003
File size: 1.75mb

Saints of the Season

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File size: 208kb

A Service of Remembrance

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File size: 103kb

Our Candle Prayer

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File size: 68kb

Fully Alive in God's Love

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File size: 104kb

A Prayer for November

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File size: 58kb

 

‘Less’ is a word that we have certainly taken to in recent times. Our food is sugarless and fatless. Our new gadgets are cordless and wireless. We know that too many people are homeless and jobless. Our politics shameless; our education system is deemed by many as useless and our banks worthless.

There are times when we find the word ‘less’ very disconcerting. We hear about peak-oil and money running out. The situation in turbulent oil producing countries makes us worried that pipelines will dry up.  Less can indicate decline, shortage, shortfall, resources running out and we don’t like this because in many ways we have become addicted and frenetic to having what we want and having it now.  Our desires have become swollen and we want more, more, more.

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  Ask Anna - Ashes on Ash Wednesday  
 

Dear Anna,

My question is:  Why are ashes placed on our heads on Ash Wednesday?  I believe it's in the Gospel of Luke, where Jesus says that when fasting you should not go out like the hypocrites do and make it seem as though you are fasting.  Fasting is a form of penance, and the tradition of the ashes used to only apply to penitents.

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  Background to the season of Lent  
 

Lent probably originated with the pre-Easter baptismal rituals of catechumens, although the number of days set aside for fasting varied according to region. Irenaeus (AD 180) testifies to the variety of durations of pre-Easter fasts in the second century. Tertullian (AD 200) suggests that Catholics fasted two days prior to Easter, but that the Montanists (a heretical sect that Tertullian later joined) fasted longer.

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  November - We Remember  
 

In November we remember our loved ones who have died. Create a backdrop for this very important time of year. Liturgical Colours: White (purity, holiness, joy, innocence and triumph). Seasonal Colours: Some darker autumnal colours: dark greens, oranges, navy and so on.

Tree of Remembrance
With a large white sheet of paper on a wall, draw the trunk of a tree with branches. The leaves will be placed on the tree by the group. Each person traces their hand on a piece of green paper, or one might like to use white paper. Groups enjoy colouring the white paper to some background music; this invites ownership by allowing the person to give their hand shape an obviously visual unique identity. On the hand shape, each person is invited to write the names of their loved ones who have died. The hand shapes are then cut out and placed on the branches to make a wonderful display of a full tree. The hand shapes make perfect leaves! (This can also be done as part of a prayer service). The Tree of Memories can be displayed on a prominent wall and/or used as a focus in a Sacred space during November. The visual impact is inspiring and whispers great hope to all who have placed names there.

Autumn Leaves

Tree of Memories
The Tree of Memories is a wonderful idea for communal gardens or school gardens. A deciduous tree is nominated as the Tree of Memories and perhaps a seat can be placed nearby. (The tree should not be too large as people need to be able to reach the branches). Each person is given a thin metal strip. The local cobbler or metal work teacher can engrave the names of the loved ones who have died on the metal strips. During a prayer service or remembrance ritual the strips of metal are then placed around the branches of the tree to look like bangles or hoops. During the winter months the bangles will chink in the wind to keep the memories of our loved ones present. When the spring comes the leaves will eventually stop the bangles chinking and each one will be cradled in new growth and new life. The visual presence of the Tree of Memories offers great hope and consolation to many and physically marks the journey of grief as one that moves forward to hope and new life. The use of a water feature can be very appropriate here as it also symbolises hope and healing.

Remembrance Tree

The Tree of Memories is a wonderful support for people with special needs and has offered great solace and comfort to many people who may find it difficult to comprehend the natural cycle of life.

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  October  
 

By the end of October you might have ...

  1. Prayerfully read Matthew 6:28 (‘Consider the lilies of the field’). Jesus refers constantly to the beauty of the natural world. During this month we begin to see a clear change as autumn begins to change the colours around us. Try and go for a walk making a special effort to take in all the beauty that surrounds us.
  1. St Francis of Assisi is often regarded as the quietly pray his ‘Canticle of Creation’.
  1. The Church also has a ‘green’ message. Look at paragraphs of the Catechism which outline the Church’s teaching on the environment.
  1. October is the month of the Rosary: take a look at the mysteries again. Think about the advantages of this kind of prayer.

Autumn Leaves

Adapted from ‘The light of his face’ John Bollan

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  September  
 

By the end of September you might have...

  1. Prayerfully read St Paul’s letter to the Philippians 2:6-11 (‘Jesus humbled himself, therefore God raised him high’), which is the second reading for the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross on 14 September. There is a strong message about Christ’s humility.

  2. The early Christians were ashamed of the cross (they inherited the Jewish view that ‘to hang upon the tree was a sign of God’s curse’) and the cross was not represented in art until the year 439 AD. Compare that with the situation today when many people wear crucifixes as accessories without much understanding of their symbolism. How do you speak to a class about the importance of the cross?

Harvest

Adapted from ‘The light of his face’ John Bollan