Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey





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The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.”

We are probably all familiar with the second part of this definition. Who among us, in some time of need or distress, has not called upon God for assistance? But what does the first part of this definition really mean? What does it mean to raise one’s mind and heart to God?

Most of us can come to a basic understanding of this by answering the question, “What does it mean to unite in mind and heart with a fellow human?” We do this by talking and listening, spending time with each other, sharing our thoughts, emotions, experiences, values and goals, by trusting and by demonstrating our own trustworthiness. The more we spend time with each other, positively communicate and work together toward common objectives, the closer the relationship we can develop. In the closest relationships, we often are happy just to be in the presence of that person.

This is also what it means to raise one’s mind and heart to God. God wants a close, intimate relationship with us, a relationship which involves Him in every aspect of our lives. He wants us to trust in Him, to share our good times and troubles, to request His assistance. But we will not have such a relationship if we fail to spend time with God. We do this through prayer. We use our minds and hearts to bless, adore and praise God as our divine creator, and strive to listen to God as our loving Father. We ask God to help us in our daily needs and in times of trouble and offer our thanks for all of the blessings and graces He provides us.

Every loving relationship has to be nurtured. It requires time set aside for each other, communication, trust and, not least, persevering effort. No less, our prayer-life needs to be nurtured; it requires time set aside, a spirit of openess and trust to acknowledge God's presence, and perseverance through hard times as well as good.





Basic Prayers

There are times, especially when we are in a group, that we need some well known prayers to join in together. These prayers form a sort of basic stock for personal prayer also; they can be recited and shaped into a daily pattern of prayer; they can be very helpful in times of stress, when we feel unable toform our own words; they can also be used as a framework of prayer, taking one verse at a time and expanding on it with our own thoughts and expressions. Below are some of the very basic prayers most Catholics would be expected to know.


The Sign of the Cross 
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Our Father 
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.


Hail Mary 
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now at the hour of our death. Amen.


Glory Be 
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


Prayer to the Holy Spirit  
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. 
Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created. 
And you shall renew the face of the earth. 
Let us pray 
O God, who has taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Prayer Before Meals 
Bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.


An Act of Contrition 
O my God I am sorry for all my sins and by the help of your grace I will not sin again.


A prayer for the dead 
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.






Some popular prayers
There are many prayers, published in a wide variety of prayer books, some of which become favourite sources of help for different individuals. It is not the aim here to liist every possibility but simply to include some of the most popular prayers among Catholics. 


The Apostles' Creed 
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He decended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.


The Angelus 
V. The angel of the Lord declared uto Mary. 
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. (Hail Mary...)

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord. 
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word. (Hail Mary...)

V. And the Word was made flesh. 
R. And dwelt among us. (Hail Mary...)

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. 
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: 
Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy grade into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by his passion and cross, be brought to the glory of his resurrection, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


Prayer to Our Lady 
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our light, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. 
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. 
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


Remember, O most blessed Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, we turn to thee, O VIrgin of virgins, our Mother. To thee we come, before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word incarnate, do not despise our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us. Amen.


Serenity Prayer 
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.


Prayer of St. Francis 
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. 
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; 
where there is injury, pardon; 
where there is doubt, faith; 
where there is despair, hope; 
where there is darkness, light; 
where there is sadness, joy. 
O, Divine Master, 
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; 
to be understood as to understand; 
to be loved as to love with all my soul. 
For it is in giving that we receive; 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; 
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.