PRAYER SERVICES FOR THE PARISH RESTRUCTURING PROCESS
INCLUDING ALL STAND-ALONE PARISHES
For assistance, contact the Office of Worship at 814-824-1270.
The prayer services are as follows in both PDF and Publisher formats for your convenience:
Prayer is the center and the lifeblood of Christian life offered in response to our every joy and sorrow. The parish restructuring process is no exception. Here is an opportunity to invite parishioners more deeply into the restructuring process. The pastoral planning prayer was woven into our gatherings from the beginning. Every parish was asked to pray it. This package extends our prayer resources to give voice to the varied experiences of parishioners whether they are partnering, merging or remaining as a stand-alone parish.
These prayer services
- RESPOND TO NEEDS: Parishioners may react in a variety of ways to the restructuring announcement. As they anticipate a new reality, parishioners may experience strong emotions. Communal prayer can provide an environment to express and process feelings of anxiety, fear and denial. Additional services can offer a path toward building hope, trust and acceptance of an uncertain future while honoring and revering a shared past.
- OFFER RELEVANT PRAYERS: The prayer services in this packet were prepared by the Diocesan Liturgical Commission, comprised of ordained and laity who represent all corners of the diocese. Working with the Office of Worship to assist the bishop and parish leadership in the spiritual care of the people of the Diocese of Erie, the commission has envisioned a variety of parish responses to restructuring and has prepared relevant prayers.
- ARE FLEXIBLE and may be used in many ways. Here’s how:
First, identify your need or goal -— Choose the service(s) that you think will work best for your community now and throughout the transition process. Second, look for opportunities — Parish groups may have varying needs and may be available at differing times. Ministry groups, committee meetings, small Christian communities can gather to pray. The entire parish community might gather. Third, discern who leads — To provide the greatest flexibility, services are designed to be led by a priest, deacon, or experienced lay leader. The pastor may not always be available. Prayer should happen anyway. Fourth, prepare carefully — Services are designed in a simple two-page, 8 ½” X 11” format. They can be printed easily and used immediately. Options for readings and music are noted. Contact the Office of Worship for a Microsoft Publisher or Word version, if you wish to modify the service further to better suit your needs. Finally, engage the senses — Prayer is more than words. Whether you gather in church or in a meeting room, establish a reflective mood and environment. Light a candle; enthrone a Bible; prepare a vase of flowers. Use music—even unaccompanied—to set the mood and draw people together. Leave sufficient time for silence, especially during the period of reflection. A time of sharing among individuals, small groups or entire communities, is also a valuable component.