CALL TO PRAYER
LEADER: Being a nurse is more than a job, it is a calling. It is truly a ministry of healing. Nurses become the face and hands of Christ to their patients and to the families of the sick and dying. Today we honor the work of nurses in Catholic health care, and we pray for the blessing they are to those they serve and also to those of us who minister with them. In the following reading, Paul describes to the Thessalonians the selfless love and the hard work exhibited by all those who would spread the Gospel.
READER I (1 Thessalonians 2: 8-9)
"With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us. You recall … our toil and drudgery. Working night and day in order not to burden any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God."
LEADER: Let us consider the words spoken by Pope Francis at a Mass with the Cuban people on Sept. 20, 2015. In his homily, he contemplated Christian service.
READER 2: "The call to serve involves something special, to which we must be attentive. Serving means caring for their vulnerability. Caring for the vulnerable of our families, our society, our people. Theirs are the suffering, fragile and downcast faces which Jesus tells us specifically to look at and which he asks us to love. With a love which takes shape in our actions and decisions. With a love which finds expression in whatever tasks we, as citizens, are called to perform. It is people of flesh and blood, people with individual lives and stories, and with all their frailty, that Jesus asks us to protect, to care for and to serve.
"Being a Christian entails promoting the dignity of our brothers and sisters, fighting for it, living for it. That is why Christians are constantly called to set aside their own wishes and desires, their pursuit of power, to look instead to those who are most vulnerable. … Service always looks to their faces, touches their flesh, senses their closeness and even, in some cases, 'suffers' in trying to help. Service is never ideological, for we do not serve ideas, we serve people."
LEADER: Let us hold in prayer all those who serve others in Jesus' name, especially nurses.
ALL: Loving God, we pray for nurses and all those who minister to the sick, the dying and all who are in need of care. May they be witnesses of Christ's healing mercy. May we follow their many examples of competence and compassion. Grant nurses the strength and courage to face the challenges of each day and to remain faithful in their ministry of service. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
"Prayer Service," a regular department in Health Progress, may be copied without prior permission.