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Praying at Home

Home Prayer Niche
A crucifix, the Sacred Scriptures, images of the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart, icons of family patron saints, a rosary, and votive candles are key features of the home prayer niche.

This time of separation and distance from our Church and each other is trying. God’s people have endured exiles such as this countless times. The journey from Egypt to the Promised land can guide for our prayer life not just for this Lent, but for our whole experience facing the corona virus pandemic.

During the 40 years of wandering in the desert, God manifested his presence in countless ways but most clearly in the tablets of the law contained in the Ark of the Covenant. The ark was placed inside a meeting tent which was at the center of prayer for the people as they moved from camp to camp.

Now is the time to set up your your own meeting tent. Make a family prayer niche if you haven’t done so. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that while our parish church is the center of our liturgical life; nevertheless, Christian prayer must be a part of our lives, wherever we are.

2691 The church, the house of God, is the proper place for the liturgical prayer of the parish community. It is also the privileged place for adoration of the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. the choice of a favorable place is not a matter of indifference for true prayer.
– For personal prayer, this can be a “prayer corner” with the Sacred Scriptures and icons, in order to be there, in secret, before our Father.48 In a Christian family, this kind of little oratory fosters prayer in common.

Debbie Noland is the coordinator for the Worship Commission’s prayer and devotions ministry. She faithfully guides the many members of our Praise, Prayer and Intercession group each day in intentional prayer for the good of so many people. Contact the parish office to be added to her email list or to join this ministry. Debbie has reminded everyone of the importance of a center of prayer in the home and shared the above image of a prayer niche as an example, along with other resources for praying at home.

Last Supper print by Daniel Misui.

Daniel Mitsui is a Catholic artist who has been producing excellent and unique religious artwork for many years. He is offering free home altar artwork, some free printable artwork and prayer cards that could be used in a home setting.   

”In order to slow the spread of disease many churches have suspended their public liturgical celebrations.  For the benefit of the faithful now worshipping at home, some of whom lack the means for purchasing artwork in these uncertain times, I am providing free printable artwork that can be used in the making of a home altar or shrine: pictures of the Crucifixion  and the Last Supper, and prayers for making a spiritual communion.”

Linda Gockel, communications director at St. Theresa Catholic Church, Austin, TX, has been busy during the lock down guiding families in her parish in praying at home. Linda has these suggestions for making the time you have set aside to watch the Mass online fruitful:

  • Gather together before your home’s prayer corner.
  • Wear something nice for Jesus. It’s your chance to dress up for the week.
  • Be familiar with the readings for the day.
  • Practice good stewardship by making your offertory contribution in advance.
  • Get the YouTube link ready for the Mass to be streamed from Our Lady of the Lake found on the front page of our website.
  • You may want to light some candles near the screen that is displaying the stream (only if it is safe to do so.)
  • Spend a few minutes in silent prayer in preparation for the celebration. Pray that the Holy Spirit may enter the hearts of all who gather for this viewing and all those who gather united in love. Pray for those who are sick, afraid, anxious, and in need, and for the health and safety of health care professionals–many of whom are our parishioners–who are risking their own health in this pandemic.

I have been strengthened many times in the past few weeks as folks have sent me pictures of their home prayer corners. If you wish and it is appropriate, please share a picture of your own home’s corner on social media with the hashtag #OLLprays@home.