World Meeting of Families Icon Prayer Service

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Opening Hymn: Lord of all Hopefulness (Traditional)

Place a replica of the WMOF icon in the centre of the classroom/prayer room. For the opening procession, the hymn is sung and the students process with candles, a candle for each student taking part. The candles can be placed around the icon.

Opening Prayer (Read by student/leader of prayer)
Dear God, we gather around the icon of the Holy Family to give thanks for all our families. Families come in all shapes and sizes. Help us to see the beauty of our families and appreciate how they make us who we are. Most of all, we thank you God, for welcoming us into your family and for letting us be called your children. Reflection on the Icon (For this part of the celebration include three candles to be placed in front of the three parts of the icon. Light each candle as readers 2, 4 and 6 read their parts.)

Reflection 1 – The Holy Family
Reader 1: After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.’ He said to them, ‘Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

Reader 2: (Light candle one – optional instrumental music)
Help us to show love and caring for our own parents, help us to treasure in our hearts the time we spend with them. Help us always to be kind. All: God, bless all families, may they know the joy and love of Jesus’ family.

(Short pause)

Reflection 2 – Raising Jairus’ Daughter
Reader 3: When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum,’ which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walkabout. At thisthey were overcome with amazement.

Reader 4: (Light candle two – optional instrumental music)
Jesus has profound compassion for this family with a sick child. We ask Jesus to bless families who experience the different hardships of life. May God help them and give them the strength to work through difficult times. Bless all families experiencing sickness and bereavement. All: May God help all families experiencing difficulty and hopelessness.

(Short pause)

Reflection 3 – The Wedding at Cana

Reader 5: There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine.

Reader 6: (Light candle three – optional instrumental music)
Lord, help us call to mind all the happy family times, family gatherings, baptisms, first communion celebrations, confirmations, weddings, birthdays. May God bless these times of joy and love. All: May joy and love endure in our families.

(Short pause)

Post Reflection Hymn

Ubi Caritas by Bob Hurd (from his album entitled Ubi Caritas)

Leader of prayer: Together we pray; Our Father …

Closing Prayer Let us pray, that the Holy Family will bless us always.
May we be supported in our need, bless us as we celebrate, guide us in our everyday school activities.
May the Holy Family strengthen all families throughout the world.
May it bring peace and joy.
We ask this prayer through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Recessional Hymn/Song

The Joy for all the Earth by Ephrem Feeley.
Official Hymn for the World Meeting of Families.

Tomás Kenny,
National Association of Post-Primary Diocesan Advisors Post-Primary DA,
Diocese of Kerry