Collects for Times of Need and the Litany of the Saints - 30th March 2014

In the section of the Missal entitled “Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasion” are four special prayers for Australia. They are collects to be used in times of bushfires, drought, flood and cyclone. Besides being included in Masses, these collects could be made available for parishioners to use in their personal prayer during the week.

As farmers struggle to cope with the worsening drought and we repeatedly see images on TV of pastures turned to dustbowls and cattle that are no more than skin and bone, the prayer in time of drought is especially relevant:

O God, Lord of all creation,
by whose power the whole earth came to be,
look upon our parched land, we pray,
and bestow upon it abundant rain,
that pastures, fields and paddocks
may by your goodness thrive once more.

For those parts of Australia that have been recently, or remain, under the threat of fire, this prayer will have special significance:

Hear our prayers, O God, for the efforts
to quench the fires that rage in our land;
and, sustaining our spirits,
keep us graciously from all harm
and give success to the work of our hands.

The Litany of the Saints is used during the Easter Vigil, at ordinations and religious professions, during the consecration of a church or altar, or during public processions. There is a long form and a short form of the Litany of the Saints; when the Litany is used during Mass, the short form is used.

It is recommended that the patron saints of those to be baptised be included in the Litany of the Saints at the Easter Vigil. Knowing the structure of the Litany helps in doing this correctly:

1. Introduction: “Lord, have mercy, Christ, have mercy, Lord, have mercy.”

2. Invocation of the Saints: We call upon all the saints to intercede for us, in the following order:
Mary, the angels and St Joseph; the apostles, evangelists and disciples; the martyrs, bishops and doctors of the Church; holy priests and monks, holy virgins and widows, all holy men and women. Saints are added here according to their rank and in the order of their heavenly birthday (their date of death).

3. Invocations of Christ: Another call for mercy and delivery from various evils, followed by a list of the ways in which this delivery to be realised (e.g. by Christ’s incarnation, by his cross and suffering, by the coming of the Holy Spirit).

4. Prayers for various needs: There are general petitions for the Church and specific petitions for particular needs – at the Easter Vigil it is for those who are being baptised; at an ordination or religious profession it is for the one being ordained or professed; at the Dedication of a Church it is for those who will worship in the church.

Elizabeth Harrington