Prayer Life Amid Pandemic Is Focus of Holy Hour With Students

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In an archdiocesan Holy Hour this month, students from Good Shepherd School in Manhattan joined Auxiliary Bishop Edmund Whalen to pray for the nation, the world and people suffering from the coronavirus.

Bishop Whalen led the prayerful gathering with the theme “Holy Hour During Time of Pandemic.” And the sub-theme was “For the Renewal of Our Prayer Life and An Increase in Our Faith.” 

“We pray for our country, our world, our dioceses; we pray in a particular way for all those who are suffering from Covid or any other illnesses,” said Bishop Whalen during the livestreamed Nov. 6 Holy Hour at Good Shepherd Church in the Inwood area of Manhattan. 

“So together, let’s take a minute and in the silence of our own hearts tell Jesus, our friend with whom we spend time today, the names of the people you love the most, and the people you want Him to take care of in a special way.”

More than 80 students from various grades attended the Holy Hour while observing social distancing and wearing face masks.

“The good shepherd, he protects the sheep, he keeps them together,” Bishop Whalen told the students. “And Jesus is called our Good Shepherd because He keeps us together. He takes care of us, and He knows each one of you by name. He knows who you are; He cares about you because you’re you. And by spending some time with Him you grow closer in that friendship.” 

The students joined in a prayer called “Litany of Trust for an Increase in Our Faith,” written by the Sisters of Life. 

The words included: That not knowing what tomorrow brings as an invitation to rely on You, Jesus, I trust in You; That You are with me in my suffering, Jesus, I trust in You; You give me the grace to accept Your forgiveness and to forgive others, Jesus, I trust in You.

There was a Prayer for a Renewal for our prayer life through the intercession of Blessed Carlo Acutis, who was beatified Oct. 10. Blessed Carlo, who died of leukemia at age 15 in 2006, was an Italian computer whiz known for using social media to spread the Good News and for his devotion to the Eucharist.  

The Holy Hour included Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Divine Praises, the Lord’s Prayer, a decade of the Rosary and the Prayer to St. Patrick, patron saint of the Archdiocese of New York.

Tom Ratto, the music teacher at Good Shepherd School, served as cantor and organist.

Brooklyn Valentin, 12, was among the students who attended the Holy Hour. “I felt the message was very important because it showed us that you could speak to Jesus as if he were our friend,” she later told CNY in a phone interview.

“What stood out for me was that we could gather as a community in peace and serenity and talk to Jesus,” the seventh-grader said.

Elizabeth Guevara de Gonzalez, director of adult faith formation in the archdiocese, later told CNY, “Every First Friday we’ve been doing the Holy Hour livestreamed on the archdiocesan Facebook at different parishes...More than ever, prayer is important and essential. An increase in our faith and a renewal of our prayer life is so needed during this time when we have so many different types of adversities. 

“It can bring peace to people’s lives, and encourage them to continue this faith journey even though it’s difficult.”

Auxiliary Bishop John O’Hara will lead the next archdiocesan Holy Hour scheduled to be livestreamed from St. Agnes Church in Manhattan, Friday, Dec. 4, at 3 p.m.

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