Enjoy 3 Minute retreats at home

Loyola Press provide ‘3 minute retreats’ for each day that you can easily access at your computer whenever you want.

One of our readers alerted me to this precious resource and I thought I would share it with you all.

The website says:

‘3-Minute Retreats invite you to take a short prayer break right at your computer. Spend some quiet time reflecting on a Scripture passage.’

‘Knowing that not everyone prays at the same pace, you have control over the pace of the retreat. After each screen, a Continue button will appear. Click it when you are ready to move on. If you are new to online prayer, the basic timing of the screens will guide you through the experience.’

Each retreat has a lovely picture accompanying it, and you can listen to the music audio if you want. The first screen prepares you by prompting you to pause and breathe.

It is followed on the next screen by a short passage from Scripture and then a brief narrative comment/reflection on the passage. Next come a couple of questions for your own reflection, and lastly a prayer.

Why not try out today’s retreat ?
Or choose one from the list of past retreats..

You can also sign up for daily email alerts or download the app for your phone.

Thanks are due to the Loyola Press for all their work to help us learn and reflect each day. There are also many other places you can access daily prayers and readings, some of which are mentioned on our page about mass and prayers online.

‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you’ – a helpful booklet

We have produced a short booklet containing both practical information, tips for coping with our current situation, and prayers and poems to uplift and encourage.

Recognising that many older people may not have email or are less familiar with using the internet, here at GOG we decided to put together this colourful booklet and have sent it out to nearly 200 people on our contact list, for whom we had no email details, only a physical address. Our hope is that this will bring some small blessing to those who receive it through their letterbox.

You can also view, download, share or print an A4 version of this booklet below:

There are two versions – one that is more suitable for those connected with the Catholic church (Catholic version) and the second which has less specific Catholic content but still includes prayers and scripture (General version).

PLEASE NOTE: this printable version is designed so you can print it off yourself on A4 landscape and staple it at the left hand corner or left hand side, (as most of us do not have a long arm stapler to staple a booklet in the middle!)

Why not print it off and send it to a friend who would benefit from some encouragement and help at this time?

Alternatively, send a link to this page by email or Whatsapp to your friends and family.

If you would like to reproduce this booklet yourselves to distribute in hard copy A5 booklet form, please contact Rhoda at growing.old.gracefully@dioceseofleeds.org.uk for the original artwork.

In addition, if you would like to add your own organisations’ details to the back of the booklet before distributing, or work with us on an amended version for your area, please be in touch with Rhoda – we are more than happy for this to be a blessing to people in other networks and areas.

Prayers for our time

A Beautiful Blessing from John O’Donohue

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.
John O’Donohue
Beannacht/Blessing (for Josie, my mother), Echoes of Memory.

Click on THIS PAGE on his website to hear John reading this blessing, and others

A Coronavirus Prayer

Loving and healing God,
We turn to you in prayer,
confident that you are with us and with all people in every moment.
We stand before you as a people of hope,
trusting in your care and protection.
May your faithful love support us
and soothe the anxiety of our hearts.
Generous God,
fill us with compassion and concern for others, young and old,
that we may look after one another in these challenging days.
Bring healing to those who are sick
and all who work in our medical facilities.
Give wisdom to leaders in healthcare and governance
that they may make the right decisions for the well-being of people.
We pray in gratitude for all those in our country
who will continue to work in the days ahead in so many fields of life
for the sake of us all. Bless them and keep them safe.
O God of creation and life, we place ourselves in your protection.
May the mantle of your peace enfold us this day and tomorrow.
May all the saints of God, pray for us. Amen.

Lockdown – A Poem penned by Brother Richard

This poem, written and shared on Facebook by Richard Hendrick on 13th March, went ‘viral’ and was shared across the world as it chimed with our hearts in the midst of this crisis.

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.

So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,