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Prayer Service of Thanksgiving for Priests

A Celebration for the Feast of the North American Martyrs, September 26
(based on a service prepared by Sr. Teresita Karnbeitz, osu and revised by Marion Grady)

Ministers: A leader, eight readers (or one reader for all eight readings)

Materials: Copies of service for readers, eight candles or vigil lights, Easter candle (or large candle to serve as a Christ candle), taper

Suggested set-up: Eight lighted candles on table or altar with Easter candle nearby. Leader and readers should be behind table or altar, facing assembly.

Leader. (all stand) ln the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

All: Amen.

Leader: Today we honour eight men who came to North America In the 1640's as missionaries to share the Good News of Jesus with the native people. Six were Jesuit priests and two were their assistants. All became martyrs, facing death because of their efforts to share the Gospel. There is a shrine in Midland, Ontario and one in Auriesville, New York, in memory of them and their service among the aboriginal peoples. Through their example, we offer our prayers this day in thanksgiving for all who serve as priests today, especially for our pastor ________in this spirit, let us join in singing the refrain of 'Here I am, Lord'.

All sing

Leader: Let us pray: O God, Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we come before you in thanksgiving for the many dedicated and faithful priests who minister to us, Your people. We now recall the Jesuit martyrs who gave their lives to bring Your Word and plant the seeds of faith in North America. (All are seated)

Reader 1: Father John de Brebeuf came to Canada in 1625 when he was 32. He was a strong and energetic man. In his 24 years among the Huron people, he shared the Christian faith with many and even put prayer books and teachings into their own language and wrote a Christmas song we still sing which tells the story of Christ's birth within the Huron culture. He was captured by the Iroquois, who were enemies of the Hurons, and died from being tortured on March 16, 1649. (Blow out the first candle.)

Reader 2: Father Anthony Daniel also worked among the Hurons in what is now Ontario. When the Iroquois attacked their village, he chose to stay with his flock, and was killed on July 4,1648. (Blow out the second candle.)

Reader 3: Father Noel Chabanel came to Quebec in 1643. He found the life very hard, not being able to learn the language of the native people and disliking their food and way of life. But he chose to stay with them until
he was killed on December 7, 1649. (Blow out third candle.)

Reader 4: Father Charles Garnier came to Quebec In 1636 to work among the Huron people, teaching and baptizing children and adults. He also died from wounds he received during the Iroquois attack on December 7, 1649. (Blow out fourth candle.)

Reader 5: Rene Goupil's poor health kept him from becoming a Jesuit in France. He made his own way to Canada and volunteered to help among the Hurons. He was put to death on September 29,1642 by those who didn't want him teaching the faith to the children. (Blow out fifth candle.)

Reader 6: Father Isaac Jogues gave up teaching in France to come to Quebec In 1636. He was seriously injured in an attack by the Iroquois and returned to France to recover. After returning to North America, he was killed by the Mohawks near Albany, New York on October 18, 1646.(Blow out sixth candle.)

Reader 7, John Lalande helped Father Isaac Jogues among the Mohawks. When there was crop failure and sickness in the village, the people had rebelled against the foreign missionaries, and Lalande was killed on October 19, the day after Fr. Jogues. (Blow out seventh candle.)

Reader 8, Father Gabriel Lalemant served with Father Brebeuf among the Huron people in Ontario and died on March 17, 1649, after being tortured by the Iroquois. (Blow out eighth candle)

Leader-(after a few moments of silence) These eight Jesuit martyrs were canonized, declared saints, in 1930. Their work of service and spreading the Good News in North America continues today in the many dedicated priests who minister to the people of God. As we remember their light of faith which is still burning brightly, please respond with "We praise and thank you, O Lord."

Reader 1: In thanksgiving for our priests who carry on the spirit of St. John de Brebeuf in teaching and preaching the Word of God with understanding.

All: We praise and thank you, O Lord. (Reader lights first candle from Easter candle.)

Reader 2: In thanksgiving for our priests who carry on the spirit of St. Anthony Daniel as they journey with their flock, bringing comfort and hope.

All: We praise and thank you, O Lord. (Reader lights second candle from Easter candle.)

Reader 3: In thanksgiving for our priests who carry on the spirit of St. Noel Chabanel, faithful to their calling even when their work is difficult.

All: We praise and thank you, O Lord. (Reader lights third candle.)

Reader 4: In thanksgiving for our priests who carry on the spirit of St. Charles Garnier, sharing their faith and baptizing.

All: We praise and thank you, O Lord. (Reader lights fourth candle.)

Reader 5: In thanksgiving for our priests who carry on the spirit of St. Rene Goupil, reaching out to bless children.

All: We praise and thank you, O Lord. (Reader lights fifth candle.)

Reader 6: In thanksgiving for our priests who carry on the spirit of St. Isaac Jogues, leading us in prayer and celebrating the Eucharist, even when challenged along the way.

All: We praise and thank you, O Lord. (Reader lights sixth candle.)

Reader 7: In thanksgiving for our priests who carry on the spirit of St John Lalande as they offer their lives in humble service to the poor and needy.

All: We praise and thank you, O Lord. (Reader lights seventh candle.)

Reader 8: In thanksgiving for our priests who carry on the spirit of St. Gabriel Lalemant as they sacrifice their lives in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.

All: We praise and thank you, O Lord. (Reader lights eighth candle.)

Leader: Let us pray. Lord, the North American Martyrs helped bring the Good News of Christ to our country. Be with all who have answered your call to the vocation of priesthood in our Church today. Help them in their efforts to lead your people in prayer, to welcome and strengthen all through your sacraments, to comfort the sorrowing and assist those in need, and to rejoice with Your family of faith in the gift of Your Son. Help us to assist our priests, and to follow their gentle guidance in shepherding our parish. We offer our prayers together in the words Jesus gave us as we pray, Our Father ..............

Leader (while making sign of cross) May the Lord bless us, Protect us from evil, and bring us to everlasting life.

All: Amen.

Leader: Let us close our celebration reflecting on how God calls each of us as we again sing the refrain of 'Here I am, Lord'.

Page URL: http://archregina.sk.ca/vocations/prayer-priests