Yesterday, our churches were crammed full of people. I know mine was full of happy people dressed in their absolute best, smiling and being patient with one another. I could not help but think, “Every Sunday could be like this.” If we would all just go to church, every Sunday could be full. With more people, more talents, more personalities, maybe, just maybe, community can form.
This leads me to today’s intention. Today, we pray for women who have left the Church and who have never truly heard the Gospel. By the world’s standards, it is awfully difficult to be a woman and be Catholic. What society expects of women often runs completely counter of what the Church expects.
Society expects us to put ourselves and our careers first, the Church asks us to put our families first.
Society tells us that childbearing is a burden that needs to be avoided all costs, the Church tells us that childbearing is a holy vocation.
Society wants us all to be skinny and sexy, the Church wants us to be saintly and follow Mary as our role model.
The term “New Evangelization” originated with John Paul II. “New Evangelization” means evangelizing to baptized people who have fallen away. I remember reading once, that if all fallen-away Catholics made their own church, they would be the second biggest denomination in the United States. Only a fourth of all self-identified Catholics attend church regularly. So all of those beautiful, smiling women you saw on Sunday are definitely not alone in their struggles. They need a “New Evangelization” to instill upon them a new hope.
Where hope is absent, faith itself is called into question. Love too is weakened by the loss of this virtue. Especially in times of growing unbelief and indifference, hope is a stalwart support for faith and an effective incentive for love. It draws its strength from the certainty of God’s desire for the salvation of all people (cf. 1 Tim 2:4) and from the constant presence of the Lord Jesus, the Emmanuel who remains with us always, until the end of the world (cf. Mt 28:20). – Pastores Gregis 3
We pray through the intercession of John Paul II for all women who struggle in their faith. We pray that they get the opportunity to truly hear the Gospel from someone who knows and lives the Truth. Let them hear God’s call in their hearts. Let them see that the body of the Church has so many holes, it resembles Swiss cheese, and one of those holes has their name on it. One of the pews is there specifically for them. Their worth, their unspeakable, undeniable dignity comes from God, not the world. Jesus Christ and His Church can give them the love and acceptance that they search for.
Let us conclude by praying the Litany to John Paul II:
Christ hear us, Christ graciously hear us
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us
Blessed, John Paul II, pray for us
Perfect disciple of Christ, pray for us
Generously gifted with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, pray for us
Great apostle of Divine Mercy, pray for us
Faithful Son of Mary, pray for us
Totally dedicated to the Mother of God, pray for us
Persevering preacher of the Gospel, pray for us
Pilgrim Pope, pray for us
Pope of the Millennium, pray for us
Model of industry, pray for us
Model of priests, pray for us
Drawing strength from the Eucharist, pray for us
Untiring man of prayer, pray for us
Lover of the rosary, pray for us
Strength of those doubting their faith, pray for us
Desiring to unite all those who believe in Christ, pray for us
Converter of sinners, pray for us
Defender of the dignity of every person, pray for us
Defender of life from conception to natural death, pray for us
Praying for the gift of parenthood for the infertile, pray for us
Friend of children, pray for us
Leader of youth, pray for us
Intercessor of families, pray for us
Comforter of the suffering, pray for us
Manly bearing his pain, pray for us
Sower of divine joy, pray for us
Great intercessor for peace, pray for us
Pride of the Polish nation, pray for us
Brilliance of the Holy Church, pray for us
That we may be faithful imitators of Christ, pray for us
That we may be strong with the power of the Holy Spirit, pray for us
That we may have trust in the Mother of God, pray for us
That we may grow in our faith, hope, and charity, pray for us
That we may live in peace in our families, pray for us
That we may know how to forgive, pray for us
That we may know how to bear suffering, pray for us
That we may not succumb to the culture of death, pray for us
That we may not be afraid and courageously fight off various temptations, pray for us
That he would intercede for us the grace of a happy death, pray for us
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us
Pray for us, Venerable Blessed John Paul II
That we may become worthy of the promises of Christ
We ask all of this in Jesus’ name, Amen.