Prayer Place

Two new Rosary prayers, in honour of Our Lady for the month of May 2020

Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Faithful for the Month of May 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The month of May is approaching, a time when the People of God express with particular intensity their love and devotion for the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is traditional in this month to pray the Rosary at home within the family. The restrictions of the pandemic have made us come to appreciate all the more this “family” aspect, also from a spiritual point of view.

For this reason, I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May. This can be done either as a group or individually; you can decide according to your own situations, making the most of both opportunities. The key to doing this is always simplicity, and it is easy also on the internet to find good models of prayers to follow.

I am also providing two prayers to Our Lady that you can recite at the end of the Rosary, and that I myself will pray in the month of May, in spiritual union with all of you. I include them with this letter so that they are available to everyone.

Dear brothers and sisters, contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial. I keep all of you in my prayers, especially those suffering most greatly, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. I thank you, and with great affection I send you my blessing. 

Rome, Saint John Lateran, 25 April 2020 – Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist


First Prayer

O Mary, You shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.

We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who, at the foot of the cross, were united with Jesus’ suffering, and persevered in your faith.

“Protectress of the Roman people”, you know our needs, and we know that you will provide, so that, as at Cana in Galilee, joy and celebration may return after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the will of the Father and to do what Jesus tells us.

For he took upon himself our suffering, and burdened himself with our sorrows to bring us, through the cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.

We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God;
Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from every danger, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.

Second Prayer

“We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God”.

In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.

Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes towards us amid this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply. Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them. Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.

Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.

Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.

Be close to those who assist the sick night and day, and to priests who, in their pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel, are trying to help and support everyone.

Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that they may find effective solutions to overcome this virus.

Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.

Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

Beloved Mother, help us realise that we are all members of one great family and to recognise the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.

Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.

To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary.

Morning Prayer (Holy Land 2019)

God of my life, I welcome this new day.

It is your gift to me, a new creation, 

a promise of resurrection.

I thank you for the grace of being alive this morning.

I thank you for the sleep that has refreshed me.

I thank you for the chance to make this new beginning.

This day Lord,

Is full of promise and opportunity:

let me waste none of it.

This day is full of mystery and the unknown:

help me to face it without fear or anxiety.

This day is blessed with beauty and adventure:

make me fully alive to it all.

During this day 

keep me thoughtful, prayerful and kind.

May I be courteous and helpful to others,

and not turned in on myself.

Keep me from any word or deed

that would hurt , or destroy, or belittle.

And may the thoughts of my mind

be pleasing in your sight.

When night comes again,

May I look back on this day

with no grievance or bitterness in my heart.

And may nobody be unhappy

because of anything I have done

or anything I have failed to do.

Lord, bless this day for me and for everyone.

Make it a day in which we grow

to have the mind of Christ, your son.

Lord Jesus Christ, friend and brother,

may we know you more clearly,

love you more dearly,

and follow you more nearly,

day by day.



Blessing for the Carrigaline Youth Centre


May this [centre] shelter your life….

May this be a safe place full of understanding and acceptance.

Where you can be as you are, without the need of any mask or pretence or image.

May this [centre] be a place of discovery, where the possibilities that sleep in the clay of your soul can emerge to deepen and refine your vision for all that is yet to come to birth.

May it be a [centre] of courage, where healing and growth are loved, where dignity and forgiveness prevail; where patience of spirit is prized, and the sight of the destination is never lost…….

May it be [centre] of welcome for the broken and diminished.

May you have the eyes to see that no visitor arrives without a gift and no guest leaves without a blessing.
Adapted from Blessing the Space Between Us by John O’Donoghue

Prayer Before Exam

Dear Lord,

Come into my heart so that we can walk through this time together.

Help me, not only with this test, but with the many tests of life that are sure to come my way.

At this exam bring back to my mind everything I studied and be gracious with what I have overlooked.

Help me to remain calm and focused, confident in the facts and in my ability. I know that no matter what happens today you are there with me.


Prayer to the Sacred Heart

O Divine Jesus, you said,
“Ask and you shall receive”.
Your loving heart is the source of all
With a lively faith in You, I come to
I know I am not worthy but this is not
a reason for me to be discouraged.
You are the God of mercies
and You will not refuse a contrite heart.
Look with pity on me, I beg you,
and in the compassion of your Heart
grant my request.
Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on me, Sacred Heart of Jesus I place my trust in you.

Praying the Icons

The Eucharistic Congress Icons
On March 17th 2011 the Pilgrimage of the Eucharistic Congress Bell began travelling from Diocese to Diocese across Ireland, the ringing of the bell an invitation to gather and to mark the journey of Pastoral Preparation towards the 50th International Eucharistic Congress.
A key feature of this journey was the Pastoral Programme exploring the meaning of the Eucharist in our lives. This was facilitated through reflection on the four Eucharistic Congress Icons.
Each icon corresponds to one part of the Mass – Gathering, The Liturgy of the Word, The Eucharistic Prayer and the Dismissal.
Together they invited us to look again at what we are assembled to do and sent out to be through our participation in the Mass.
It is hoped that the icons offer you some direction as you journey into a renewed understanding of the Eucharist, with the theme of the Congress as the goal of this journey: The Eucharist – Communion with Christ and with One Another.

The resources are available to download from here: Resources for the Eucharistic Congress Bell and Four Icons

The Angel’s Prayer

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You, I beg Your pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, I adore You and offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He is offended. And, by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.

Prayers and Hymns by John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890)

Lead, Kindly Light
John Henry Newman penned his well-known poem, “Lead, Kindly Light”, part of a larger work of religious verse and hymns entitled Lyra Apostolica.

Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
the distant scene — one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

A Daily Prayer
May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging, and a holy rest and peace at the last.

Prayer for a Happy Death
Oh, my Lord and Savior, support me in that hour in the strong arms of Your Sacraments, and by the fresh fragrance of Your consolations. Let the absolving words be said over me, and the holy oil sign and seal me, and Your own Body be my food, and Your Blood my sprinkling; and let my sweet Mother, Mary, breathe on me, and my Angel whisper peace to me, and my glorious Saints smile upon me; that in them all, and through them all, I may receive the gift of perseverance, and die, as I desire to live, in Your faith, in Your Church, in Your service, and in Your love. Amen

Prayer for the Light of Truth
O my God, I confess that You can enlighten my darkness. I confess that You alone can. I wish my darkness to be enlightened. I do not know whether You will: but that You can and that I wish, are sufficient reasons for me to ask, what You at least have not forbidden my asking. I hereby promise that by Your grace which I am asking, I will embrace whatever I at length feel certain is the truth, if ever I come to be certain. And by Your grace I will guard against all self-deceit which may lead me to take what nature would have, rather than what reason approves.

O My Lord Jesus
O my Lord Jesus, low as I am in Your all-holy sight, I am strong in You, strong through Your Immaculate Mother, through Your saints and thus I can do much for the Church, for the world, for all I love.

The Mission of My Life
God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nothing. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.

The Ballad of Father Gilligan

THE old priest, Peter Gilligan,
Was weary night and day;
For half his flock were in their beds,
Or under green sods lay.

Once, while he nodded on a chair,
At the moth-hour of eve,
Another poor man sent for him,
And he began to grieve.

“I have no rest, nor joy, nor peace,
For people die and die”;
And after cried he, “God forgive me!
My body spake, not I!”

He knelt, and leaning on the chair
He prayed and fell asleep,
And the moth-hour went from the fields,
And stars began to peep.

They slowly into millions grew,
And leaves shook in the wind,
And God covered the world with shade,
And whispered to mankind.

Upon the time of sparrow chirp
When the moths come once more,
The old priest, Peter Gilligan,
Stood upright on the floor.

“Mavrone, mavrone! the man has died,
While I slept on the chair.”
He roused his horse out of its sleep,
And rode with little care.

He rode now as he never rode,
By rocky lane and fen;
The sick man’s wife opened the door:
“Father! you come again.”

“And is the poor man dead?” he cried.
“He died an hour ago.”
The old priest, Peter Gilligan,
In grief swayed to and fro.

“When you were gone, he turned and died
As merry as a bird.”
The old priest, Peter Gilligan,
He knelt him at that word.

“He who hath made the night of stars
For souls who tire and bleed,
Sent one of His great angels down
To help me in my need.

“He who is wrapped in purple robes,
With planets in His care,
Had pity on the least of things
Asleep upon a chair.”

By William Butler Yeats


Dear Jesus,
As pilgrims to your homeland,

Let us walk in your footsteps.
Help us to see with your eyes.
To hear with your ears,
To speak with your voice,
To touch with your hands,
To think with your thoughts,
And to greet you in everyone we meet.

Make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred let us 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.
( St. Francis of Assisi)

Let us travel together in unity,
Let us walk together as a family.
Let us support and console each other.
Let no strife arise among us,
Let no hurtful words be spoken,
Let us think only the best of each other.
Let us travel as companions,
And let us part as friends.

We ask your protection for all pilgrims,
Wherever they may be.
We pray for all pilgrims from our parish,
Present past and future.
We pray for our families and friends
Who remain behind.
We pray for those we meet on our journey
That they may recognise in us the truth of
Your words: “ the greatest Commandment
is to love God with all your heart, all your mind
And all your soul and your neighbour as yourself.”


The Messiah is among us!

For many years the old monk lived as a hermit in the woods near the monastery.
The monks in the monastery knew his reputation as a great teacher but left him to his own devices.
Over the years the monks allowed small disputes and differences of opinion to create an atmosphere of tension. Petty squabbles , cliques , and malicious gossip had began to destroy the community life of the monastery.
Despite his best efforts the Abbot failed to make any impression on his community and things were going from bad to worse.
In desperation, he decided he would visit the old monk in his hermitage and ask his advice.
He finally persuaded him to come to the monastery and speak to the whole community.
When the community was assembled, the old monk entered and stood before them. They were braced for a dressing down !
“ I have one message for all of you,” he said. “The Messiah is among you.”
With this he turned on his heel and left the monastery.
They sat in silence and tried to absorb the meaning of this simple message.
Because they looked on the hermit-monk with great reverence they treated his message very seriously.
They decided to form a committee to investigate which of their number might be
The Messiah but could not come to any agreement. Not being able to identify who among them might be the Messiah, they soon realised that it could be any one of them.
From that day on, every monk treated each of his brother monks as if he were the Messiah.
After a couple of weeks the the monk from the hermitage paid a visit to the monastery and spoke to the abbott.
“How are things,”he asked’. “Since your last visit everything has changed”, replied the Abbott.
‘Visitors to the monastery marvel at the holiness emanating from the monks.”

Adapted from The Christian Call to Justice and Peace by Joseph Stoutzenberger p.45.

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee

In the gospel of Matthew Chapter 4, V. 18, Jesus walks by the Sea of Galilee and sees the brothers Simon and Andrew fishing by the sea. They are the first of the Twelve Apostles. How did Jesus choose the twelve who would be his constant companions and most trusted disciples? Could he have chosen one of us ?. Would we have the qualities Jesus required?.

READ ON………………………………………………………

To: Jesus, son of Joseph, Carpenter’s Shop, Nazareth.
From: Jordan Management Consultants, Jerusalem.
It is our opinion that the twelve men you have picked to manage your organisation lack the background and the educational and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking.
They do not have the team concept. Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has no leadership qualities.
The two brothers James and John, put personal interest above company loyalty.
Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that will undermine morale.
We feel it it our duty to to inform you that Matthew, the tax collector, has been blacklisted by the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce.
James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus have radical leanings and both register
high on the manic-depressive scale.
One of the men, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, possesses a keen business brain and has contacts in high places.
He is highly motivated and ambitious. As your deputy, controller and right-hand man, we recommend Judas Iscariot”.

The above submitted by Canon M. O’Dalaigh, P.P. as ‘ Thought for the Day ’ to the Cork Examiner.

A Morning Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God,
Teach us to walk in your way more trustfully,
To accept your truth more faithfully, and to share your life more lovingly.
By the power of the Holy Spirit
Help us in our work for the church
So that we may come as one family
To the Kingdom of the Father,
Where you live for ever and ever. Amen

A Simple Prayer

God be in my head
And in my understanding.
God be in my mouth
And in my speaking.
God be in my heart
And in my thinking.
God be at mine end
And my departing.

From the Sarum Primer, 1527.

The Jesus Prayer (The Prayer of the Heart)

‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.’

The Jesus Prayer sometimes called ‘The Prayer of the Heart’ is one of the oldest prayers of the Church. Its origins go back to the Desert Fathers of the 4th century. In trying to follow St. Paul’s instruction in 1 Thessalonians to ‘pray unceasingly’ they recommended to their followers the use of short, frequently repeated prayers. By the 6th and 7th centuries this prayer seems to have been fairly widely used.
Initially, it was advised that time was set aside for prayer, ten minutes to start.
Slowly, begin to repeat the words mentally, and if distracted simply return the prayer. The prayer can also be used in conjunction with rosary beads.
As the prayer is simple and direct, it has the great advantage of not being tied to any activity hence its use while walking, performing domestic tasks or during any quiet, private time of the day or night.
If you want to know more about this form of prayer read ‘The Way of the Pilgrim’ (Trans. R.M. French, Triangle SPCK, London)  – a classic text, or see www. Jesus prayer

Emily’s Prayer

Lord in the midst of each new day,
Teach me to stop and think and pray;
Teach me to find the time to be,
Alone with you and you with me.
Teach me to listen to your voice,
And when I hear it clear, rejoice.
Teach to tell my troubles too,
Whom should I turn to; if not to you?
Teach me to know you as a friend,
Who is with me now and to the end.
Teach me, dear Lord, my whole life long,
To be a singer of your song.

Comment: Emily wrote this short prayer for the Parish Newsletter, many years ago.

Prayer Websites

Sacred Space, a prayersite run by the Irish Jesuits – Daily prayer online

Celtic Saints and the places they were associated with in Ireland and abroad

Prayers for peace – John Paul II

Today’s Good News – Daily Gospel by the Dominicans

Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Dearest Lord,
teach me to be generous.
teach me to love and serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to toil, and not to seek for rest;
to labor, and to look for no reward;
except that of doing your holy will.

Comment: First heard this prayer as a Boy Scout many moons ago. It was recited at every scout gathering. 

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

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;
And 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.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Comment: Another prayer to focus the mind in readiness for the approaching day.

St. Teresa’s Bookmark (St. Teresa of Avila)

Let nothing disturb thee:
Let nothing dismay thee:
All things pass:
God never changes,
Patience attains
All that it strives for:
He/She who has God
Finds he/she lacks nothing
God alone suffices.

Comment: Sr. Paula Kiersey, was a Cistercian nun living in St. Marys Abbey, Glencairn, Co Waterford. She was an outstanding Iconographer and teacher. She sent this prayer, which I recite at the start of every day. It is a focus-prayer which says it “all “. Sr. Paula died on the 11th May 2009.

Prayers for Everyone

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart;
It is a simple look turned toward heaven,
it is a cry of recognition and of love,
embracing both trial and joy.

St Thérèse of Liseaux