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  • Writer's pictureAnn Brown

Prayers for a Time of Pandemic—or Any Difficult Time

Some of the Catholic faithful are encountering greater difficulty than usual with their prayer lives due to the pandemic and the many uncertainties in the world and the Church.

Thousands of years ago, King David and others felt this same heaviness of spirit and expressed their fears, doubts and trust in God through the Psalms. As explained in this new booklet and in the interview below, these particular Psalms are an inspired “portal” which can guide the reader to repentance, peace and renewed trust.

Below, we ask Father a few questions about himself and his new booklet.

1. Father, please tell us a little about yourself.

An only child, I was born on Christmas Day in Newark, NJ. I am a product of Catholic schools from kindergarten through two doctorates. I entered seminary right out of high school and was ordained in 1977. I have had a very varied priestly ministry: teacher and administrator of schools at every level; author; editor; publisher; vocation director; pastor; bishop’s secretary.

2. What inspired you to write this booklet?

For more than a quarter-century, I have assisted at Holy Innocents Church in Midtown Manhattan (three blocks north of Macy’s), especially in providing ongoing theological education. Given the mood engendered by the pandemic, I thought it would be helpful to consider the Penitential Psalms. Those reflections were also published on Catholic World Report’s website, where they received a positive response.

3. Which Psalms are featured in the booklet, and what are their themes?

Psalm 6: Prayer for Recovery from Grave Illness; Psalm 32: The Joy of Forgiveness; Psalm 38: A Penitent Sufferer’s Plea for Healing; Psalm 51: Prayer for Cleansing and Pardon; Psalm 102: Prayer to the Eternal King for Help; Psalm 130: Waiting for Divine Redemption; Psalm 143: Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies.

4. Why are the Psalms especially good prompts for prayer?

St. Jerome (patron of biblical scholars) encouraged Laeta (one of his many female directees) to begin her study of Sacred Scripture with the Psalter (Book of Psalms)

because, he said, in doing so, she would not only learn the Bible but also learn how to pray. The Psalter was the prayer-book of Israel and became that for the Church; to the present day, it offers the meat-and-potatoes of the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as of the Holy Mass. In terms of personal prayer and spirituality, the Psalms provide sustenance for every human emotion and circumstance.

Note from New Hope Publications:

We have also published these booklets by Fr. Stravinskas:

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