Cycle of Prayer
The Cycle of Prayer was established by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales in 1996 to incorporate the various Special Days of Prayer marked throughout the year. These days were included within a series of seasonal Intentions which also highlighted aspects of both Church and Society that should be held in prayer by the local community, for example, New Members of the Church in the Easter Season and Those Who Suffer Persecution, Oppression and Denial of Human Rights associated with St John Fisher and St Thomas More in June. One of the hopes in creating the Cycle of Prayer was that the call to prayer and action that the various intentions seek would be spread across a period of time rather than focus on a single day. Indeed, the liturgy of Sunday Mass should always have pre-eminence and not be distorted by an external theme.
Within the Mass the Prayer of the Faithful is a place for the local community to offer its intercession to God. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (70) gives the following guidance for their content. They should include:
- The needs of the Church.
- Public authorities and the salvation of the whole world.
- Those burdened by any kind of difficulty.
- The local community.
The various Intentions of the Cycle of Prayer will fall under one or more of these categories and therefore the Intention should not dominate or be the focus of the whole of the Prayer of the Faithful. One or two intercessions will be all that is needed.
In many parishes and communities people carefully craft the intercessions following reflection on the scripture and texts of the day, and on the needs identified in GIRM 70. The Liturgy Committee has offered guidance on the writing of the Prayer of the Faithful.
This document offers a couple of model intercessions for the Prayer of the Faithful for all the Intentions of the Cycle of Prayer and for a number of other dates and intentions which occur each year. They can be used as they are or adapted according to the needs of the liturgy. As well as the Prayer of the Faithful at Sunday Mass they could be included in the bulletin or used in other contexts such as school assemblies.
The Intercessions can also be found on the seasonal pages of the Cycle of Prayer.
- Model Intercessions (pdf)
- Model Intercessions (Word doc)
- Seasonal Pages