“The Lord tells us: ‘the first task in life is this: prayer.’ But not the prayer of words, like a parrot; but the prayer, the heart: gazing on the Lord, hearing the Lord, asking the Lord. We know that prayer works miracles.”
-- Pope Francis, Oct. 8, 2013
From our first word, we are Catholic. It is tempting to rush into the charity, solidarity and team aspects of our program, but in so doing we squander the riches that our Catholic identity brings. As Pope Francis has noted, “we ourselves, when we don’t pray, what we’re doing is closing the door to the Lord. And not praying is this: Closing the door to the Lord, so that he can do nothing.”
“On the other hand, prayer, in the face of a problem, a difficult situation, a calamity, is opening the door to the Lord, so that he will come.”
At CCST, we have moved past the perfunctory prayers that sometimes mark church meetings. We invite our members into a more reflective space in our work, and even to begin a kind of spirituality that marks the various religious orders of the world.
We believe that the more than 70 years of Catholic Relief Services’ experience with the poorest and most vulnerable around the world has created a wellspring for reflection and prayer. As we work in Guatemala, the Philippines, Kenya and elsewhere, we seek, in a sort of Ignatian way, to find God in all things, and all people. Prayer gives expression to our search.
CRS’ current tag line is: Faith. Action. Results. At CCST, we believe this is an interweaving process, but one that never quite leaves faith and prayer, no matter the results.
CCST holds monthly prayer evenings. Invariably the evenings will connect with both a Catholic liturgical or devotional theme and an event of current concern in the world. Our most recent one was July 30, 2015, to celebrate Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato Si'. At a service in January 2014 we combined the USCCB National Migration Week with a collection for Syrian refugees. We joined with the USCCB in making Aug. 17, 2014 a Day of Prayer for Peace in Iraq, supporting prayer events in three counties of the Metuchen Diocese. On Oct. 7, 2014, Bishop Paul Bootkoski and Eparch Gregory Mansour (Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn) led a prayer service for peace at Holy Family Parish, New Brunswick.
Visit our site often for the next scheduled prayer events.
Click below for our unofficial calendar of justice-related prayer events.
We are empowered by these words from the Apostle Paul to the Galatians:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.