Letters From a Young Catholic

My reflections as a Catholic young adult passionate about the Faith, seeking to grow in knowledge and understanding of God and discerning the will of the Lord in my life.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Prayer Intentions or Gossip

Sometimes I feel as if prayer intentions, or requests for prayer, made on behalf of other people contribute to feeding gossip in the parish rather than fostering prayer. Some parishes I've attended Mass at invite the parishoners at daily Mass to give their own intentions during the petitions at Mass. Generally speaking, this doesn't seem to be a problem. . . "For all women facing a crisis pregnancy, let us pray to the Lord. . . " or "For the Holy Souls in Purgatory, let us pray to the Lord. . ." That's fine by me. The problem arises when the petitions become "For Judy and James who are struggling in their marriage, let us pray to the Lord. . ." or "For Kyle who attempted suicide last night, let us pray to the Lord. . ." I wonder if these intentions are appropriate to be announced at Mass or rather contribute to gossip. Now, don't get me wrong, I agree that Judy, James, and Kyle would all need prayers and that we should be praying for them, but is it really necessary to use names? How about "For all those who are struggling in their vocation. . ." or "For those suffering from depression. . ." or even "For a special intention. . ."

Gossip is something most people struggle with and I really don't think giving specifics in public prayer intentions is always the best thing, rather it seems to lead to a temptation to gossip. For instance, I've even heard intentions such as "For Fr. X who's discerning leaving the priesthood. . ." Now, if that's not going to feed gossip I don't know what is! I'm not saying we shouldn't be praying for one another, but in the context of parish life, is it really appropriate to be announcing intentions in this way?

That's my little rant for the day.

Go in the peace of Christ, to love and serve the Lord!