2024 - A Year of Prayer

by Matt O’Connell

Recently, Pope Francis declared 2024 as a Year of Prayer for the Catholic Church, as a lead up to the great Jubilee Year in 2025. In preparation for the Jubilee, dioceses around the world are invited to promote initiatives, to remind people of the centrality of both individual prayer and community prayer.

“Today we begin the Year of Prayer, a year dedicated to rediscovering the great value and absolute need for prayer in personal life, in the life of the Church, and in the world. Let us renew every day the joy and commitment to be men and women of prayer. Prayer that comes from the heart”.

Pope Francis is hoping that this year will be a “great symphony of prayer”. He wants us to spend the prayer in the “presence of the Lord”, listening to him, adoring him, thanking him for “the many gifts of his love for us and to praise his work in creation”. His hope is that this year “makes it possible for every man and woman in this world to turn to the one God and to reveal to him what lies hidden in the depths of their heart”.

Theme - The Our Father

The Holy Father has made the theme of the Year of Prayer, the Our Father, “the prayer Jesus taught us, the life programme of each of his disciples”. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “by entering into the holy name of the Lord Jesus we can accept from within, the prayer he teaches us: “Our Father!” His priestly prayer fulfills, from within, the great petitions of the Lord’s Prayer: concern for the Father’s name, passionate zeal for his kingdom, the accomplishment of the will of the Father, of his plan of salvation and deliverance from evil”.

This year of prayer is particularly apt in the world. Fr Jacques Philippe writes that it is “prayer that will give birth to all renewal in society and the world ... the most useful thing the Church can do today is to give people a thirst for prayer and teach them how to pray”.

This year of prayer is an opportune time for dioceses and parishes around the world to do this.

The Bishop’s Pastoral Office has already sent a resource to all parishes with ideas about how to celebrate the Year of Prayer. There will also be diocesan events throughout the year.

Pope Francis wants all Catholics this year to commit to going “deeper in their commitment to pray in 2024, and in their love of God” and to also “think about how they might accompany someone else to pray during the coming Year of Prayer”. In 2001, St Pope John Paul II wrote about how important prayer is for Christians - “It would be wrong to think that ordinary Christians can be content with a shallow prayer life that is unable to fill their whole life. In the face of the many trials to which today’s world subject’s faith, they would be not only mediocre Christians but “Christians at risk”. Further resources can be found at the Diocesan Website (cdoc.nz) or at the official Year of Prayer website https://www.iubilaeum2025.va/e...

Published in Inform Issue 140 - Lent 2024