100-Day Prayer Campaign

Grow – Love - Follow - Serve

Week 2, August 7-13
1 Timothy 4

August 7
"Everything that God has created is good; nothing is to be rejected, but everything is to be received with a prayer of thanks because the word of God and the prayer make it acceptable to God." (1 Tim 4:4)
God is the Creator of everything, and everything He created is good, unique, and one of a kind. That means every person who was or will be is an original, including the kids, teens, and adults in our ministries. It's exciting to think that each one of us has our own box of gifts and talents. We, as a Church, have the amazing opportunity to help them figure out how to uncover and use those gifts. This is what Paul did for Timothy. You may recall Timothy because of Paul's letters while he was a young leader at church in Ephesus. Paul saw in this young man a passion and devotion to Jesus. By mentoring Timothy, Paul helped him understand his gifts and purpose, leading to Timothy becoming very influential in the early church. That same potential is in each of the kids and teens in our parish. When we as a
church help them find their purpose at a young age, they'll grow up understanding God's plan and purpose for their lives. We pray...

Prayer
Heavenly Father, you are the creator of all that is good. You have given each of us unique gifts and talents so that we can build your kingdom. Help us to use our gifts to help the Faith Life Ministry find its purpose so that all may honor you with their lives too. We love you and pray all this in the name of Jesus, Your Son. Amen.

August 8
"Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity." (1 Tim 4:12)
Paul had asked Timothy to help lead the new church in Ephesus. Even though Timothy was still a young man, Paul saw something in Timothy that made him think Timothy would be a great leader. He could see that Timothy had great potential to help others. Every member and parent in our church has the potential to be a leader in the Faith Life of children. GATHER is an opportunity to be an example for others by what you say and do with your children. And just like Paul encouraged Timothy to take steps in his faith, you can help your children understand that God made them love and serve others. Laying this foundation at an early age will establish a pattern of living that can change the path of their story. Let's pray and ask God for some help with that.

Prayer

God, you created each of us to love and serve others, but we sometimes forget that every family member can love and serve. Help us to be more like Paul. Teaching our children that it doesn't matter if you are young or old. Anyone can be an example for others. Help us to encourage our families to love and serve in all they say and do to make a difference. We ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

August 9
"Until I come, give your time and effort to the public reading of the scriptures to preaching and teaching." (1 Tim 4:13)
There is great power in understanding scripture with a group of people. Paul knew its power, so he encouraged Timothy to spend his time and effort reading and preaching scripture in a large group setting. At St. Mary's, we see how important it is for kids to hear the Word of God and experience God's story together in an age-appropriate environment. In CLOW, the Bible stories come alive as we use videos and music that engage our elementary students. To help them understand how they fit into God's account and how they can apply it as they live out

their faith. When you help kids uncover the wisdom found in scripture, you help them make connections between the Bible stories and their own lives. Let's pray and thank God for reminding us why it's essential to keep learning more about God through His Word.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, Your Word is amazing! Thank You that we can find answers and stories that can help us be more like you. Help us remember to take time to read the Bible with a community of believers so that we can discover more about you together. We love You, and we ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

August 10

Keep yourself training for a godly life. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual practice is valuable because it promises life both for the present and future.
(1 Tim 4:7-8)
To live a godly life, we all need instruction. Growing in faith is not something that happens by memorizing information from the Bible. All that knowledge means nothing if we don't help middle schoolers experience what that knowledge can do in their hearts. Training your body is essential when you run a race or play a sport, but it's even more important to understand that God loves you and wants you to love others. That's not always easy. That's why middle schoolers need to train and practice their faith skills. To grow and mature in faith, we must put in the time and effort. With our "J Walkers" small groups, we create environments that help Middle Schoolers practice their faith by reading God's Word, praying, talking about Jesus with friends, and living out that faith daily. As they process their faith, they will naturally have questions and doubts. We want them to know they can talk about God and work through their questions with others. Let's ask Jesus to help us with our spiritual training so that we are prepared to help our middle schoolers practice their faith.

Prayer
Jesus, thank You for always being with us. Thank You for allowing us to help middle schoolers grow in a relationship with you. Please give us the courage to talk about You with them. You've put in our lives. Help us remember to help them practice hearing from you, praying for you, talking about you, and fully living for you. We love You, God, and pray these things in your name. Amen

August 11
"The Spirit says clearly that some people will abandon the faith in later times; they will obey lying spirits and follow the teachings of demons. Such Teachings are spread by deceitful liars whose consciences are dead as if burnt with a hot iron." (1 Tim 4:1-2)

Paul warns Timothy that false teaching is sure to come. False teachers were a threat to the church back then and are still a threat to the church today. We live in an age where information is at our fingertips. But not all that we read or see online or on TV is true. Often our teens get their information from TV, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. These sites and sites like them have a lot of helpful information, but they may have misinformation too.
How can we prepare the High Schoolers to know what is true? The answer is simple: helping them uncover the truth in the pages of God's Word. The only real way of confirming what is true is by diving into God's Word. High School students who grow in understanding will be equipped to discern what is true and false when they look at things through God's eyes. Let's pray that our PathFinders will grow in their understanding of God's Word this year.

Prayer
Dear God, thank You for Paul's warning to Timothy. He knew that Timothy would face false teachers and that we would too. Please give us the desire to better understand the Bible so we can help guide the High Schoolers in their understanding. Please help us remember Your words so we can follow your ways and not the ways of the world. We love You and ask all of these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

August 12
- "Do not neglect the spiritual gift that is in you, which has been given to you when the prophets spoke and the elders laid their hands on you." (1 Tim 4:14)
Timothy probably questioned whether he was the right guy to lead a church. Would people listen to him, would they follow the teachings of Jesus, or would they turn away from him because he was young? Paul wrote this letter to encourage Timothy, which should encourage us too. Paul reminded Timothy that God was with him and could use everything about him to make a difference for others. We all have been given spiritual gifts that God has chosen specifically for each of us so that we can build His kingdom here on earth. You see, God can use anyone to share His story, including you and me. Every person longs to feel included and know that their lives matter. We, as a church, have the opportunity to help everyone uncover their unique spiritual gifts to impact the lives of others. When we use our spiritual gifts to engage adults, we model for them what God is doing in our lives. Through our example and encouragement, they will begin to see that their lives matter too and can use their spiritual gifts to change the world. Let's pray for opportunities to use our spiritual gifts to help adults in our Small Groups so they also make a difference in our world.

Prayer
God, we're so thankful that You gave us unique gifts. Thank you for showing us how Paul encouraged Timothy to use his spiritual gifts. It's exciting to know that You see potential in us, just like You did in Timothy. Help us to be like you so that we can see the potential in our Small Group of adults and help them discover their spiritual gifts to build your kingdom here on earth. We ask these things in Jesus' name, amen.

August 13
"Practice these things and devote yourself to them so that all can see your progress. Watch yourself and watch your teaching. Keep on doing these things because if you do, you will save both yourself and those who hear you." (1 Tim 4:15-16)
Paul's last two verses in this chapter give us wisdom as ministers of the Church. Paul first tells Timothy to evaluate his life and his teachings. Suppose we want to grow stronger in our faith. In that case, we must consistently evaluate our hearts and then use that evaluation to make a plan. Once we have a plan, we need to actually execute or practice that plan. Just like you have to practice juggling a soccer ball to improve in soccer or practice your scales to play the piano, we need to practice our faith to grow. When you think of practice, it probably doesn't make you smile because training is not easy. That's why Paul also reminds Timothy to keep on doing these things." Paul knew that Timothy's perseverance would save all who heard him. This is a good lesson for us too. Just like runners keep going toward the finish line, we need to keep going, practicing what matters most. That means we must practice our faith even when our schedules are busy, or we are stressed out or when it seems no one is listening. They need us to be strong in our faith so that we can speak truth into their lives and ultimately help them to grow stronger in faith. Let's pray that we stay committed to practicing our faith so that we impact the Faith Life Ministry.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we know that You can do all things. Thank You for being with us so we can do things that seem difficult. When we feel like giving up, please remind us of Paul and his letter to Timothy. Paul encouraged Timothy to practice his faith and persevere even when it was difficult. Help us to continue to practice our faith so that we can help bring everyone into a closer relationship with you. We love You, and we pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

"And I tell you, ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find;
knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds…"
                                                                                                                                                        -Luke 11:9-10

These are the words we’ve heard in the Gospel. Jesus tells us to pray, to ask, and we will receive. Our Faith Life Ministry – Where Life Meets Faith encompasses ministries of small groups for families, children, teens, and adults where we grow, love, follow, and serve the Lord. As part of our efforts to expand these ministries, we will begin our 100-Day Prayer Campaign this weekend.

For 100 days, Throughout our Prayer Campaign, we will pray for each ministry, each parent, each child, each teen, each adult, and each minister in our community. And we are asking for you to partner with us in this effort. Beginning July 31st, we will have on our Home Page a link to the 100-Day Prayer Campaign, where you can join us daily as we pray and ask God to shine his light upon our community of faith and all those who minister with it. We will provide a copy each week of the campaign for those who may not have access to a computer or printer in the Welcome Center every Sunday.

Each week beginning on Sunday, we will introduce a new topic, the life of a Saint, or a portion from Scripture. We will share the stories of the teens, men, and women who, through their love for the Lord, led others to grow in their faith and desire to serve. Who dared to do anything but the normal to let others know how unconditionally the Lord loved them. Who has guided us in our prayers to bring everyone at St. Mary's to grow, love, follow, and serve the Lord and his people?

Proverbs 3:27 reads, "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to act."
We all have the power to pray. To offer, in a small way, our petition to the Lord for the growth of our Faith Life Ministry and all of us at St. Mary's. But please, also pray for those yet to become a part of our faith community. For those searching for a place to feel welcomed for who they are and loved by the Lord unconditionally.

Please know of my continued prayer for you and our entire community. Feel free to contact us if you need help or a copy of our 100-Day Prayer Campaign.

May God keep you in his tender Mercy.
Ms. Beni 

 Week 1, July 31 – August 6
St. Therese of Lisieux

Introduction
Thank you for being part of this Prayer Campaign! We begin today even as Kickoff Weekend is several weeks away. In the coming 100 days, we will pray for each ministry, each kid, each teen, each parent, each adult, each minister, and all the ways we hope to bring them together through our Faith Life Ministry. You will meet saints and explore Scripture along the way. But today, we begin simply. Let us pray...

Prayer
Come Holy Spirit, help us to find the right people at the right time for the right roles to encourage, equip, and inspire our families, kids, teens, and adults. Jesus, open our minds and hearts to who you are in each sharing and small group guide. Let every person who comes here, young and old, realize and acknowledge that they are known and noticed by you, our Heavenly Father. Help us to recognize that we are known and seen by you. Help us to care about our Faith Life Ministry as much as you do. Amen.

July 31
Each week we will introduce you to a saint or portion of Scripture. This week we meet St. Therese of Lisieux. Therese was born in 1873 and had no fame during her life. She got special permission to join a Carmelite Convent at age 15 and died of tuberculosis at 24. After her death, one of the Carmelites discovered Therese's handwritten loose-leaf journal composed of candlelight, full of quips and thoughts on incredibly ordinary life. The Story of a Soul, Therese's autobiography born from those papers, is now one of the bestselling Christian books ever. Let us pray with St. Therese today...

Prayer
Father, thank you for the stories all those who participate in Faith Life are telling with their lives. Help us sit up and take notice. Help us to be somebody who makes everybody feel like

somebody. Like Therese taught us, each person has a story worth telling. Remind us that you take delight in their stories and ours. Amen.

August 1
Therese was far from perfect. She had what others called "frightful tantrums" when she couldn't have her way, rolling on the floor and being so overcome she almost choked. Like our youngest children in Gather, Therese often didn't have a reasoned response. She may not have understood everything, but Therese knew from a young age that Jesus loved her. Not only did she know who she was but whose she was, and that's why she petitioned to enter the Carmelite Convent at the age of 15. While not all young people are called to religious life, we want every child to know as Therese did about the Heavenly Father who made them and loves them. So, let us pray...

Prayer

Jesus, you said to let the children come to you. Please use us to make that possible! Help us build Gather - The Domestic Church at Home, a ministry that helps parents know they are loved. Let us help them bring that love of and for Jesus to their children. Let us not forget that GATHER is where it all starts for Faith Life here at St. Mary's. Amen.

August 2
We want St. Mary's to be part of every kid's story. We hope kids love their church so much that they bring their parents back and invite their friends. The prayers of elementary-age kids may be simple, but they are pure and powerful. St. Therese described prayer as a "surge of the heart" that "expands the soul." Kids can have that experience, and that's what we hope to provide for our kids in CLOW - Children's Liturgy of the Word --a chance to hear God's stories, apply them to their world and pray them back to Heaven. Through that special message meant just for their age group, in CLOW, they will learn that they can trust God no matter what...

Prayer
God, you have given us all we need to know, love, and serve you. By sharing your Word in CLOW, we hope our kids can see the world with your eyes and heart. Keep us faithful to all you teach us. Let our hearts surge and our souls expand so we can encourage the same thing to happen to the kids you entrust to our care. Amen.

August 3

Therese had many sources of anxiety: Her childhood included the death of her mother at a very young age, bullying at school, a sensitive exterior, suffering from tuberculosis, and scruples, which is a form of religious OCD. She could have given in to despair, but she

constantly chose Christ and chose hope. So many of our students struggle as they reach their teen years, and our Middle Schoolers in "J" Walkers - Jesus Walkers need a place to feel accepted and loved. These years are where faith can be caught or discarded...

Prayer
Jesus, we see how Therese leaned into you as her world sometimes grew dark. Our preteens can relate to her struggles. We want to point to you always as our source of hope. Your response to our troubled hearts is powerful and swift. We lift up our Middle Schoolers to you today. Amen.

August 4
Therese entered the Carmelites at 15 years old. If that seems young, it is. She made a special application and even went to Rome to get her bishop's blessing so an exception could be made for the minimum age. Therese had a strong sense of purpose and calling even in her teens. For High Schoolers at St. Mary's, PathFinders is a chance to find their purpose and calling, to think and talk about their expanding world, and to know they are never alone in their search for meaning. It is also an opportunity to serve those in the community when a need arises...

Prayer
Lord, we have our teenagers on our minds today. They are capable of so much! Work through PathFinders and to encourage, challenge, and pray with High Schoolers at St. Mary's. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, both teen and adult alike, with your direction and protection. Amen.

August 5
Little things make a big difference. Therese's entire life was little things--washing the dishes, praying the rosary, doing the laundry, taking a walk, writing a journal by candlelight. But she found joy in ordinary things and understood the importance of them. In SMALL GROUPS for adults, we bring the weekly message from the church into our daily lives. Meeting weekly for a short time with other adults and running from 4-6 weeks at a time seems like a little thing, but it can make a big difference. Suppose we can show everyone that they have a story worth telling, a God who knows and notices them and that carving out a little time each week to meet with friends at church is worth their effort. In that case, we can give them a foundation for lasting faith. So, we pray for our adults in Small Groups...

Prayer
Jesus, you had a small group with your apostles. We want to follow your strategy and allow our adults to share their faith with friends. If they can form strong relationships and talk about

you during the weekly time, we trust you will change their lives and help them to love being here. Put us to work making that happen.

August 6
Therese is the patron for missionaries, which seems odd given that she was a cloistered nun who died at age 24, having traveled very little in her life. Yet her message has lived far beyond her death, and it is simply this: Love God in little ways. She worked as a sacristan by taking care of the altar and the chapel; she served in the refectory and the laundry room; she wrote plays for the community's entertainment. Again and again, she showed up for her sisters physically and emotionally. That's what we ask of our ministers as they serve in Faith Life-- show up in the lives of our young people...

Prayer

Jesus, you commanded us to go to every nation but also to our own neighbors. We pray for 100 ministers to serve in Faith Life ministries this year as missionaries--their mission field is our parish community. Its mission is to share your Good News with families, kids, teens, and adults in Small Groups. We trust you will provide the people and the plan. May our ministers flourish in their mission. Amen.

Week 2, August 7-13
1 Timothy 4

August 7
"Everything that God has created is good; nothing is to be rejected, but everything is to be received with a prayer of thanks because the word of God and the prayer make it acceptable to God." (1 Tim 4:4)
God is the Creator of everything, and everything He created is good, unique, and one of a kind. That means every person who was or will be is an original, including the kids, teens, and adults in our ministries. It's exciting to think that each one of us has our own box of gifts and talents. We, as a Church, have the amazing opportunity to help them figure out how to uncover and use those gifts. This is what Paul did for Timothy. You may recall Timothy because of Paul's letters while he was a young leader at church in Ephesus. Paul saw in this young man a passion and devotion to Jesus. By mentoring Timothy, Paul helped him understand his gifts and purpose, leading to Timothy becoming very influential in the early church. That same potential is in each of the kids and teens in our parish. When we as a
church help them find their purpose at a young age, they'll grow up understanding God's plan and purpose for their lives. We pray...

Prayer
Heavenly Father, you are the creator of all that is good. You have given each of us unique gifts and talents so that we can build your kingdom. Help us to use our gifts to help the Faith Life Ministry find its purpose so that all may honor you with their lives too. We love you and pray all this in the name of Jesus, Your Son. Amen.

August 8
"Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity." (1 Tim 4:12)
Paul had asked Timothy to help lead the new church in Ephesus. Even though Timothy was still a young man, Paul saw something in Timothy that made him think Timothy would be a great leader. He could see that Timothy had great potential to help others. Every member and parent in our church has the potential to be a leader in the Faith Life of children. GATHER is an opportunity to be an example for others by what you say and do with your children. And just like Paul encouraged Timothy to take steps in his faith, you can help your children understand that God made them love and serve others. Laying this foundation at an early age will establish a pattern of living that can change the path of their story. Let's pray and ask God for some help with that.

Prayer

God, you created each of us to love and serve others, but we sometimes forget that every family member can love and serve. Help us to be more like Paul. Teaching our children that it doesn't matter if you are young or old. Anyone can be an example for others. Help us to encourage our families to love and serve in all they say and do to make a difference. We ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

August 9
"Until I come, give your time and effort to the public reading of the scriptures to preaching and teaching." (1 Tim 4:13)
There is great power in understanding scripture with a group of people. Paul knew its power, so he encouraged Timothy to spend his time and effort reading and preaching scripture in a large group setting. At St. Mary's, we see how important it is for kids to hear the Word of God and experience God's story together in an age-appropriate environment. In CLOW, the Bible stories come alive as we use videos and music that engage our elementary students. To help them understand how they fit into God's account and how they can apply it as they live out

their faith. When you help kids uncover the wisdom found in scripture, you help them make connections between the Bible stories and their own lives. Let's pray and thank God for reminding us why it's essential to keep learning more about God through His Word.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, Your Word is amazing! Thank You that we can find answers and stories that can help us be more like you. Help us remember to take time to read the Bible with a community of believers so that we can discover more about you together. We love You, and we ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

August 10

Keep yourself training for a godly life. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual practice is valuable because it promises life both for the present and future.
(1 Tim 4:7-8)
To live a godly life, we all need instruction. Growing in faith is not something that happens by memorizing information from the Bible. All that knowledge means nothing if we don't help middle schoolers experience what that knowledge can do in their hearts. Training your body is essential when you run a race or play a sport, but it's even more important to understand that God loves you and wants you to love others. That's not always easy. That's why middle schoolers need to train and practice their faith skills. To grow and mature in faith, we must put in the time and effort. With our "J Walkers" small groups, we create environments that help Middle Schoolers practice their faith by reading God's Word, praying, talking about Jesus with friends, and living out that faith daily. As they process their faith, they will naturally have questions and doubts. We want them to know they can talk about God and work through their questions with others. Let's ask Jesus to help us with our spiritual training so that we are prepared to help our middle schoolers practice their faith.

Prayer
Jesus, thank You for always being with us. Thank You for allowing us to help middle schoolers grow in a relationship with you. Please give us the courage to talk about You with them. You've put in our lives. Help us remember to help them practice hearing from you, praying for you, talking about you, and fully living for you. We love You, God, and pray these things in your name. Amen

August 11
"The Spirit says clearly that some people will abandon the faith in later times; they will obey lying spirits and follow the teachings of demons. Such Teachings are spread by deceitful liars whose consciences are dead as if burnt with a hot iron." (1 Tim 4:1-2)

Paul warns Timothy that false teaching is sure to come. False teachers were a threat to the church back then and are still a threat to the church today. We live in an age where information is at our fingertips. But not all that we read or see online or on TV is true. Often our teens get their information from TV, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. These sites and sites like them have a lot of helpful information, but they may have misinformation too.
How can we prepare the High Schoolers to know what is true? The answer is simple: helping them uncover the truth in the pages of God's Word. The only real way of confirming what is true is by diving into God's Word. High School students who grow in understanding will be equipped to discern what is true and false when they look at things through God's eyes. Let's pray that our PathFinders will grow in their understanding of God's Word this year.

Prayer
Dear God, thank You for Paul's warning to Timothy. He knew that Timothy would face false teachers and that we would too. Please give us the desire to better understand the Bible so we can help guide the High Schoolers in their understanding. Please help us remember Your words so we can follow your ways and not the ways of the world. We love You and ask all of these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

August 12
- "Do not neglect the spiritual gift that is in you, which has been given to you when the prophets spoke and the elders laid their hands on you." (1 Tim 4:14)
Timothy probably questioned whether he was the right guy to lead a church. Would people listen to him, would they follow the teachings of Jesus, or would they turn away from him because he was young? Paul wrote this letter to encourage Timothy, which should encourage us too. Paul reminded Timothy that God was with him and could use everything about him to make a difference for others. We all have been given spiritual gifts that God has chosen specifically for each of us so that we can build His kingdom here on earth. You see, God can use anyone to share His story, including you and me. Every person longs to feel included and know that their lives matter. We, as a church, have the opportunity to help everyone uncover their unique spiritual gifts to impact the lives of others. When we use our spiritual gifts to engage adults, we model for them what God is doing in our lives. Through our example and encouragement, they will begin to see that their lives matter too and can use their spiritual gifts to change the world. Let's pray for opportunities to use our spiritual gifts to help adults in our Small Groups so they also make a difference in our world.

Prayer
God, we're so thankful that You gave us unique gifts. Thank you for showing us how Paul encouraged Timothy to use his spiritual gifts. It's exciting to know that You see potential in us, just like You did in Timothy. Help us to be like you so that we can see the potential in our Small Group of adults and help them discover their spiritual gifts to build your kingdom here on earth. We ask these things in Jesus' name, amen.

August 13
"Practice these things and devote yourself to them so that all can see your progress. Watch yourself and watch your teaching. Keep on doing these things because if you do, you will save both yourself and those who hear you." (1 Tim 4:15-16)
Paul's last two verses in this chapter give us wisdom as ministers of the Church. Paul first tells Timothy to evaluate his life and his teachings. Suppose we want to grow stronger in our faith. In that case, we must consistently evaluate our hearts and then use that evaluation to make a plan. Once we have a plan, we need to actually execute or practice that plan. Just like you have to practice juggling a soccer ball to improve in soccer or practice your scales to play the piano, we need to practice our faith to grow. When you think of practice, it probably doesn't make you smile because training is not easy. That's why Paul also reminds Timothy to keep on doing these things." Paul knew that Timothy's perseverance would save all who heard him. This is a good lesson for us too. Just like runners keep going toward the finish line, we need to keep going, practicing what matters most. That means we must practice our faith even when our schedules are busy, or we are stressed out or when it seems no one is listening. They need us to be strong in our faith so that we can speak truth into their lives and ultimately help them to grow stronger in faith. Let's pray that we stay committed to practicing our faith so that we impact the Faith Life Ministry.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we know that You can do all things. Thank You for being with us so we can do things that seem difficult. When we feel like giving up, please remind us of Paul and his letter to Timothy. Paul encouraged Timothy to practice his faith and persevere even when it was difficult. Help us to continue to practice our faith so that we can help bring everyone into a closer relationship with you. We love You, and we pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Week 3
August 14-20
St. Carlo Acutis

This week we meet Blessed Carlo Acutis, who is set to become the first millennial saint. Before he passed away at 15 from Leukemia, he was like many children his age--he liked Pokémon, movies, and football. He was keenly interested in computers and the internet. He even designed a webpage listing miracles across the globe associated with consecrated bread and wine. Carlo had an exceptional reverence for the Eucharist and devoted himself to sharing this with others.
Prayer
Father, thank you for inspiring us to use technology and the internet to spread the blessing of the Eucharist. Like Blessed Carlo Acutis, fill us with wonder and reverence for Your Body and Blood. Amen.

August 15

Blessed Carlo Acutis had a love for the Lord that was clear and unshakable. Neither of his parents was religious, but even as a small child, Carlo never missed a chance to go into a church to say "hello" to Jesus. Because of his love for Jesus, his parents rekindled their faith.
Prayer
Father, thank you for reminding us how we can love our children more deeply through our love for you. Through GATHER, help us learn how not only to be examples to them but to be like them in faith, so we may continually strive to be close to you and love others with a pure heart. Amen.

August 16
As soon as he was confirmed, at age 11, Blessed Carlo Acutis became a catechist. He devoted his time to serving God and others. He worked with children and migrants, standing in as a sponsor for one when he got baptized. Carlo always sought ways to love God and others and make disciples. 
Prayer
Father, thank you for reminding us that loving You and others takes many forms, including simple acts of compassion. Fill us with your Spirit so that we may be able to love those we encounter as You would. Help the children in CLOW learn how, like Carlo, their love for you can grow in them. Amen.

August 17
Blessed Carlo Acutis was captivated by the Eucharist and rarely missed daily Mass. Even when he traveled with his parents to visit and document Eucharistic miracles worldwide. Carlo's passion project was designing a website and cataloging miracles of the Eucharist. He wanted people to know that Jesus was truly in the Eucharist.
Prayer
Father, thank you for sending your son Jesus so that through His suffering and death, we may share in the Resurrection. Let us lead our "J" Walkers to walk in your light and love You through the Eucharist. Amen.

August 18
So many "influencers" pressure us to be or act a certain way our teens can be targets. But Blessed Carlo Acutis knew how he wanted to live. He wanted to live in a way that was pleasing to God! He befriended children who were unhappy at home, cared for the disabled, and set an example for treating girls with purity and respect. We pray that our Teens in PathFinders may be as bold as Carlo in his faith.
Prayer
Father, thank you for giving each of us a unique identity. Help us use our gifts and voices to share Your love and light with others, especially those who need it most. Amen.

August 19
It's often easy to get distracted. There are so many things in the world competing for our attention. Blessed Carlo Acutis knew the value of time because he knew his time was short. Even though he loved video games, he only spent one hour a week on this activity and spent the rest of his time helping children, the elderly, and the poor.
Payer
Father, thank you for the gift of time. Guide us to use it wisely in accordance with Your will. Help us to spend our time serving those in need and protecting the most vulnerable among us. Amen.

August 20
Blessed Carlo Acutis promised his mother he would show her signs that he was with God. He did not fear death and even predicted the cause and his weight at the time. He spent the time he was ill lifting up his sufferings for the Pope, the Church, and his own entry into heaven. Exactly four years after his death, his mother gave birth to the promised "signs" -- Carlo's brother and sister.
Prayer
Father, thank you for letting us spend time with Blessed Carlo Acutis this week. May we be inspired by his faith, especially in times of difficulty. May we keep our eyes open for signs of hope, knowing that You are always with us. Amen.

Week 4
August 21-27
Proverbs


August 21
This week, we will pray through the Book of Proverbs, a rich book of the Bible full of short, memorable lessons passed down by the wisest leaders of Israel. Much of Proverbs was written by King Solomon, considered the wisest person to have ever lived. The theme of this book is perfect when praying for the Faith Life Ministry. These verses are designed to help us avoid the common pitfalls of life and help us live a life of discipline and purpose.
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
for gaining wisdom and in instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and secretion to the young -
let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance –
for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and the riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning
of knowledge, but fools despise
wisdom and instruction.

Today, we pray for all leaders in the St. Mary's Faith Life Team - and anyone who has influence. May we be given wisdom, knowledge, and insight as we lead kids, teens, and adults into the future of their faith and the future of the church.

August 22
Proverbs 1:7 – "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction."
What if they stray? What if we aren't doing enough? Our Families need to know where wisdom starts: by knowing and fearing (reverencing, not being scared of) the Lord. But what if they stray? What if we aren't doing enough. Trust in the Lord.
Prayer
Lord, we pray for our Parents and families in GATHER. May they learn to have great reverence and find trust in God's love in their lives and their children's lives.

August 23
"Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6
Often our questions indicate a small view of our God. Ask the question differently - when our children stray, I wonder what God will do to bring them back? As leaders, we don't change hearts; God does. We just meet God at the moment. That moment is when we have their attention during CLOW here at church, and we are hopeful in faith that God will do the rest. He will finish the work that we faithfully begin.
Prayer
Lord God, thank you that we do not do this alone. Remind us that we are small and you are much bigger than anything we could imagine. Keep our minds set on you and your kingdom forever and ever. Amen.

August 24
"Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm." Proverbs 13:20
This verse talks about what it means to be wise instead of foolish. When we walk with Jesus, we walk with him in wisdom. We all have moments when we could admit that we'd suffered because of who we spent time with. Likewise, we have felt the goodness and wisdom from being with wise friends. Our middle schoolers in "J" Walkers need to feel that Jesus is always walking with them.
Prayer
Lord God, thank you for speaking to us through your Word. Give us the discipline to memorize your Word so that it can inform all that we think and do. Thank you for your wisdom regarding our friendships. May we constantly seek you and your wisdom through your Word. And give us the strength to walk with others who are wise. Amen.

August 25
Proverbs 3:27: "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to act."
"How can I help you?" This one question can really change the dynamic in a house when we have teenagers! Teaching young people to ask that question is the way to generosity and servanthood, a key component of being a disciple of Christ. In PathFinders, we will help teens answer the question, "How can I serve."
Prayer
Jesus, help us follow you closer each day. Thank you for modeling generosity and servanthood in your life. May we always be looking for ways that we can serve others as a way to honor you and bring glory to God.

August 26
Proverbs 4:23 – "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life."
Our deepest desires and longings are in our hearts. But some enemies of the heart reside there too - anger, guilt, greed, envy. Our minds, moods, and actions are greatly influenced by the state of our hearts. These are powerful emotions. So, how is your heart today? The first step to fighting against the enemies of our hearts is to ask that question and spend some time exploring the answer. Small Groups allow us to share with others who share in this journey.
Prayer
Jesus, come into our hearts and heal all of our emotions. Help us to take charge of our feelings and make us whole. Give us awareness of our anger, greed, guilt, and envy so we may repent and move forward into healthy relationships. Draw us close this day, Lord, and bless us with your grace and care.

August 27
"Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her." Proverbs 31:28
We close out this week of prayer with a call to rise up. The spirit of the Lord is upon us. The Father has equipped us for this work. Rise up and claim your territory - your family, your household, your small group, the youth of our parish. We are protectors of tomorrow's generations and today's leaders, and it is our responsibility to raise them up to fight for their faith.
Prayer
Lord God, help us to be fearless leaders of your disciples. May we rise up from our complacency and sin. May we rise up in courage against Satan and all his temptations. May we rise up high upon your wings and soar as we lead.

Week 5 
August 28 – September 3
Mother Mary Lange


August 28
This week we meet Elizabeth Clarisse Lange, later known as Mother Mary Lange. She was born in 1784 in the French part of Santiago de Cuba (present-day Haiti). In 1813, Elizabeth left Cuba for the United States in hopes of finding sovereignty and security. In the early 1800s, she settled in Baltimore, MD. Mother Mary Lange lived a life of total dedication and generosity to God and God's people. Despite discouragement, racism, and lack of funds, Mother Lange educated and provided for the needs of the Black Catholic community in Baltimore. Let us pray with Mary Lange today...
Prayer
Father, thank you for the opportunity to share your message with all. Help us follow Mother Mary's example of love and devotion. Mary taught us the importance of compassion for others.
Help us to be compassionate to those who most need it in our communities. We pray all of this in Jesus' name. Amen.

August 29
Mother Mary Lange was courageous and a deeply spiritual woman. Before the Emancipation Proclamation, educating people of color was against the law. Although this was very dangerous, she used her money and began teaching black children in her home in Baltimore. She was determined to give the children an excellent spiritual and educational start.
Prayer
Mother Mary Lange, we pray that you help us build courage and determination like you demonstrated to help our children. Through GATHER, allow us to allow Parents to learn and to set a good spiritual foundation. We pray for our GATHER families that our sharing will help them to know and love Jesus so they may help their families move toward the kingdom of God. Amen.

August 30
Mother Mary Lange lived a life of total devotion to God's children. She introduced them to the Bible, exposed them to prayer, and showed them how to follow and live out God's Word. Like Mother Mary Lange's dedication to children, we are dedicated to our elementary-age kids in our CLOW. During the Liturgy of the Word, kids get to experience scripture in a way that is meaningful and relatable for them to understand. We want all our kids to know, love, and serve God...
Prayer
Father, we are so grateful for the opportunity to bring your children into a closer relationship with you. We hope that bringing the Bible stories to life in CLOW will help our kids understand your teachings so they can use what they learn daily. We pray this in your name. Amen.

August 31
Mother Mary Lange was a pioneer. She had a calling to bring children closer to God, which resulted in many "firsts" in her life. She was the first in her family to immigrate to the United States. Mother Mary also founded the Oblate Sisters of Providence (the world's first order of black nuns). Mother Mary Lange was the first African American Mother Superior. She also established St. Francis Academy, the first and oldest Catholic School. Just like Mother Mary, we too can experience many firsts in our lives. kids in "J" Walkers will share their own "firsts." Their biggest one is their first experience in a small group. This new experience will provide kids with a comfortable place to learn the Bible, share personal challenges, develop friendships and form a relationship with God...
Prayer
Father, we pray that our kids use their time in small groups to get to know you. Give them the right words. to talk to you. We pray that their conversations in "J" Walkers will help them in decision-making as they experience many things for the first time. As they go and make disciples, we hope our kids will share your message so others will follow. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

September 1
As a teen Elizabeth Lange (later known as Mother Mary Lange) knew she was different from most kids her age. She felt a calling to help others, especially the youth. It wasn't until Elizabeth immigrated to Baltimore that she would fulfill her goal of educating children of color. Elizabeth had a solid and spiritual vocation. On July 2, 1829, Elizabeth took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and was named Sister Mary. In PathFinders, we want our high schoolers to be aware and look for their calling. We want them to know they have a purpose. We want them to understand no matter their occupation or vocation, their purpose in all things is to honor their Heavenly Father. Mother Mary said, "Our sole wish is to do the will of God."

Prayer
Father, we ask that our teens be passionate about using their calling for God's will. Help them know that you designed them for good works as they seek direction and purpose. May our teens recognize Your presence in their lives and choose to follow you always. Amen.

September 2
Mother Mary Lange persevered through many obstacles: abandonment, persecution, injustice, humiliation, and racism. However, she did not allow those constraints to blur her vision. She
believed that Christ would guide and strengthen her in all situations. We as adults may also feel a myriad of obstacles: anxiety, job loss, financial difficulties, and sick loved ones. The Small Groups for Adults is a place to share the weekly message and how it plays out in our daily lives and challenges. Just like Mother Mary Lange, we want people to ultimately give their struggles to Christ...
Prayer
Father, help us be intentional about showing Christ and His love to all in every way we can. We pray that those in Small Groups for Adults find a place to share, ask questions, and feel supported. May they recognize Your power in their lives and choose to follow You like Your servant, Mother Mary Lange. We love you and ask all this in your Son Jesus' name. Amen

September 3
Mother Mary Lange spent her life serving God and others. Whether she was sewing vestments, starting a school, providing homes for orphans, giving aid to the terminally ill, or providing a sense of faith and hope to people degraded by slavery. Her service was influenced by the relationships she developed with God and others. In the Faith Life Ministry, our intention is for our ministers to build relationships, look for opportunities to connect, and invite God's presence into the lives of our youth.
Prayer
Father, thank you for the many ministers that make up the Faith Life family. Thank you for their calling to guide and serve our children and teens. May Your Holy Spirit work through our ministers as they guide the next generation of disciples. Amen.

Week 6, September 4-10
Catechism

September 4
The desire for God is written in the human heart because man is created by God and for God, and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for. CCC 27
This week we will see brief passages from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). Today's comes from the very beginning of the book. We are all on a search that will only be fulfilled when we find and embrace our Creator. Every human being asks the question, Why am I here? Why is there something rather than nothing? Why did God create? We are unique
creatures in our endless search for answers to this question. Birds, monkeys, and bugs don't ask why. Just humans do.
And only in God will we find the truth and happiness we never stop searching for.
Prayer
Father, you wrote on our hearts a desire to know you. Our young people share that desire. We all want to be happy and acknowledge that being close to you makes us most comfortable. Please draw us close, help us to never stop searching for you, and give us boldness to spread the faith among our young people. Amen.

September 5
We pray as we live because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in his name. The "spiritual battle" of the Christian's new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer. CCC 2725
As we continue this 100-Day Prayer Campaign, it's easy to grow weary or wonder if our daily commitment makes a difference. It does. The best kind of prayer is a habit we return to daily that breathes grace and truth into our lives. A commitment to prayer changes how we live, and even our families will notice. Recently I sat with my granddaughter as we prayed before her nap. I know she doesn't understand what I am saying, she is only one, but my prayer for her is that we can begin a habit of prayer that will last her a lifetime
Prayer
Children are prized in your eyes, Jesus. You valued each child in a way the world does not. As parents, we want to teach them simply and irresistibly. Jesus, you modeled prayer for us. Now it's our turn to GATHER and take up the mission you have given us as Christian Parents. Make us ready to pray and play with our children this year! They can worship you as beautifully as anyone. Amen.

September 6
The catechesis of children, young people, and adults aims to teach them to meditate on the Word of God in personal prayer, practice it in liturgical prayer, and internalize it at all times to bear fruit in a new life. Catechesis is also a time for the discernment and education of popular piety. The memorization of basic prayers offers essential support to the life of prayer. Still, it is important to help learners savor their meaning. CCC 2688
We don't often use the word "catechesis" at St. Mary's, but it is what we are doing in Faith Life Ministry. Every kid's life is better if it includes reading Scripture, practicing personal prayer, attending Mass and Confession, and inviting God into their lives. We work to present stories from the Bible in a dynamic way to kids in CLOW so they know they can trust God no matter what. We may put a fresh spin on it, but what we do week-to-week still follows our traditions and catechesis. Whether it's basic prayers or faith conversations with friends, we are in the work of equipping our kids for life.
Prayer
Lord, though we are imperfect communicators and leaders, we have you on our side. Help us to continue growing as leaders since that's what we're asking our kids in CLOW to do: Grow with you. Thanks for calling us to do this great work! Give us clarity to craft games, questions, and guides that create great friendships and conversations. Amen.

September 7
The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross: Christ is risen from the dead! Dying, he conquered death; To the dead, he has given life. The mystery of Christ's resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness. CCC 638- 639
Middle schoolers are like engineers. They want to know how things work but still need concrete ways to explain their expanding world. When we share what we believe and why, we aren't relying solely on thoughts, feelings, and faith. We believe in Jesus because He was resurrected from the dead. Historical documents tell us it happened. Our faith is rooted in reality. Our song of hope comes from a real person who taught us all we need to know and proved He is God's Son.
Prayer
Lord Jesus, you are real! You rose! You conquered death! History verifies that you are exactly who you say you are and that we can believe. Thank you for the Tradition handed down to us. Now it's our turn to hand it to our Faith Life Family. We pray for our middle schoolers to be rooted and formed through "J" Walkers. Named for their journey with you, walking in your steps, learning about your life, death, and resurrection. We cast our hope on them to lead our church because your Resurrection continues to change everything and everyone! Amen.

September 8
Because they are members of the Body whose Head is Christ, Christians contribute to building up the Church by constancy their convictions and moral lives. The Church increases grows, and develops through the holiness of her faithful, until "we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." CCC 2045
Constancy. If there's one thing we've seen work with high schoolers, it's constancy. They need to see us show up when they ask tough questions or test our limits and love for them. To show up and pray and encourage them, to show up physically and emotionally to listen and serve them. The church grows and develops when our example to them shows how irresistible and exciting life with Christ is.
Prayer
Holy Spirit, the measure of faith we show in our young people, leads directly to the growth of our church. Keep us constant and convicted as we minister to high schoolers through PathFinders. Our example is our greatest tool to influence their faith lives. Inspire us to use it well.
Amen.

September 9
Seated at the right hand of the Father and pouring out the Holy Spirit on his Body which is the Church, Christ now acts through the sacraments he instituted to communicate his grace. The sacraments are perceptible signs (words and actions) accessible to our human nature. By the action of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, they make present efficaciously the grace that they signify. CCC 1084
Sacraments are one of the things that make Catholics Catholic. In each Sacrament, a physical sign--water for Baptism, oil for Confirmation, bread and wine for the Eucharist--indicates a spiritual reality. Participants in our Adult Small Groups share and break open the weekly message as they gather. This message helps them better understand that: Jesus comes to meet us in the Eucharist and the Confessional--and not just in a spiritual sense but a physical mind too. These gifts are given to us freely by Jesus – his forgiveness, body, and blood.
Prayer
Jesus, thank you for the opportunity to break open your Word in Small Groups to help us gain a deeper understanding of The Message. As the message draws us deeper into the Sacraments – Reconciliation and Eucharist help us to grow ever closer to you and the Father.

September 10
Our battle has to confront what we experience as failure in prayer: discouragement during periods of dryness; sadness that, because we have "great possessions," we have not given all to the Lord; disappointment over not being heard according to our own will; wounded pride, stiffened by the indignity that is ours as sinners; our resistance to the idea that prayer is a free and unmerited gift; and so forth. The conclusion is always the same: what good does it do to pray? We must battle to gain humility, trust, and perseverance to overcome these obstacles. CCC 2728
Prayer is not easy because life is not easy! We have many battles to face daily, and our ministers serving in Faith Life face daily fighting. The challenge is to take those battles as they come, bring them with us in prayer, and ask our loving Father for the humility, trust, and perseverance we need to fight the good fight. For the encouragement, equipping, and inspiration of our ministers this year, let us pray. . .
Prayer
Father, let us not grow discouraged. Even when we confront seeming failures or dry times in prayer, help us overcome our doubts by taking quality time with you. Let our ministers be surrounded by our prayers these 100 days that they may be clothed in your armor. Be ready for the spiritual battles that inevitably come with life. We pray because we know Jesus battles with and for us. Amen.

Week 7, September 11-17
St. John Bosco


September 11
This week we meet the priest, educator, and reformer St. John Bosco. Coming of age in the early 1800s, John ministered in a time of great transition. Industrialization had begun to sweep across his native Italy, pushing families from farms into the cities in pursuit of meaningful work to make ends meet. St. John Bosco recognized the world was changing and changed his ministry methods. He saw the importance of connecting with and entertaining children before preaching. He would become known for meeting young men and women where they were: in the streets, shops, and factories. Finally, his tireless work to find housing and skills training for the poorest young boys would lead to his canonization in 1934. For all these reasons, St. John Bosco is known as the patron of schoolchildren, young people, trade apprentices, and even magicians. We will be praying this week in a particular way for our ministers who serve the children of our community, like St. John Bosco.
Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of your servant St. John Bosco. Grant us understanding as we journey along his side for the next seven days. Let his life be an example for all our next-generation ministers who give their time to serve others. Amen

September 12
John was born in 1815 into poverty and famine. His father, Francesco, worked as a farmhand in the Piedmont region of Italy. That region suffered significant devastation following the Napoleonic Wars and a severe drought in 1817. When John was only two years old, his father died, leaving his mother to care for three young boys. Through the influence of his mother, several local priests, and mentor figures, John was able to receive an education, which would have otherwise been out of reach for the poor family. It was his education that set him on the path to priesthood.
Prayer
Father, you raised up mentors in faith for John Bosco. Strengthen our parents in GATHER in their service of creating a foundation of faith for their families. Amen.

September 13
During his childhood, a traveling group of circus performers visited John's village. He was enthralled by their acrobatics and magic tricks and even learned how to perform some himself. As a priest, St. John Bosco used his talents as a performer to capture children's attention on the streets. After his performance, he would teach and preach to the crowd.
Prayer
Jesus, you have given children naturally curious minds and creative hearts. Bless our CLOW ministers as they break open your Word. We pray that the little ones will come to know you better through the reenactments of Scripture. Amen.

September 14
When he was 9, John had the first in a series of dreams that would play an influential role in his life and work. In this dream, he saw many boys swearing and cursing as they played. Among these boys, John encountered an imposing but noble man who said he would have influence over the boys through gentleness and kindness. This vision and the wisdom he received from it would form his life's philosophy of education and faith formation.
Prayer
Heavenly Father, just as you spoke to St. John Bosco through dreams, speak to our Middle Schoolers through "J" Walkers. We pray that their first experience of small groups would have a lifelong impact on their faith. Be with our "J" Walker's ministers as they walk alongside our children. Amen.

September 15
Industrialization proved particularly harsh for the poor and vulnerable boys looking for work in the city. St. John Bosco made it his mission to provide for and protect these boys. He set up homes for those who needed shelter and found work for those who needed it. He even advocated for boys who were becoming apprentices. To see that they received adequate pay and safe working conditions and that corrections were only made verbally, going so far as to write contracts on behalf of the boys.
Prayer
Dear God, send your Spirit to our Path Finder students and ministers. Watch over them at all times in their life and in all the activities that they do. Grant that they know your love reaches into everything they do. Help us create a safe place for our teens to ask tough questions and grow in their love for Jesus. Give us the courage to try new things in our ministry, like St. John Bosco. Amen

September 16
Because of population growth and migration to the city, Father Bosco found the traditional methods of parish ministry ineffective. St. John Bosco believed that Christ's love and our faith should be a part of everything we do—work, study, and play. Being a Christian was a full-time effort, not a once-a-week, Mass-on-Sunday experience. He also recognized the practical importance of job training and the self-worth and pride of talent and ability.
Prayer
Father, strengthen our Small Groups of Adults in their faith and love for Jesus. Grant that they know your love reaches into everything they do and help them to go out and share the good news they share with others. Amen.

September 17
Serving in the cities was not always easy for St. John Bosco. Several attempts were made on his life throughout his ministry, including a near-stabbing, bludgeoning, and a shooting. He upset the established order by seeking to empower and uplift the poor and coming into conflict with those who wanted to see the church relegated to society.
Now, we don't expect our ministers to serve in conditions quite as dangerous as these. But it's also true that serving isn't always easy. It takes guts to minister to kids and teens, and we're thankful that all our ministers have taken up the challenge. Your service makes a real impact on the next generation.
Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of St. John Bosco. We pray that, through his intercession, all would come to know your love. Allow his influence to inspire our ministers as they prepare for a new year. Send your spirit over all our students as they begin to gather together in the fall. Amen.

Week 8,
September 18 - 24
Gospels about Children

September 18
This week we will focus on Scripture from the Gospels about children. Throughout his time on earth, Jesus spoke of children and interacted with children often. Their innocence and reliance on others is something Jesus taught us to aspire to. How children inherently and unwaveringly trust their parents is how God desires us to trust him. As a child, if you need something or are hurt or scared, you turn to your parents for the comfort and guidance you need. To believe and have Faith is to trust God as a child trusts. Our mission in Faith Life is to support children from the youngest in their pursuit of a relationship of unwavering trust in God.
Prayer
Father, help us to learn from the ways of children, allow us to trust and believe the way children do. Help us create an environment at St. Mary's where our children, students, parents, and ministers can turn to you in childlike Faith. Thank you for being our Father, full of unconditional love and support in each moment and age of our life. Amen.

September 19
One of the most commonly referenced lines in Scripture comes from the Book Matthew 19:14, where Jesus says, "Let the little children come to me." In Jesus' time, having children
approach him and speak to him was most likely viewed by others as an inconvenience, even an annoyance. Many would not think Jesus should be bothered by them and find it improper. However, Jesus desired to connect with everyone, including children. He wanted them to come to him. In our GATHER Ministry, our families with young children should feel the welcome and open arms of God's love and know he wants a relationship with them.
Prayer
Father, help us to know the desire you have for us to come to you and have a relationship with you. We pray for the families with young children at St. Mary's and their Faith and relationship with you. For them to know they are never an inconvenience but loved and wanted by you. Help us provide a space for these families to come to you and feel your love for each of them. Amen.

September 20
The Scripture from Matthew 19:14 continues, "let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." The kingdom of heaven belongs to each and all who believe. From the youngest in GATHER to the emerging adults at PathFinders, the kingdom of heaven is theirs to claim. In our CLOW ministry, Scripture comes alive for children as they hear the word of God, understand and apply it to their lives. This is where they learn what it means for them that the kingdom of heaven is theirs to claim!
Prayer
Father, thank you for the gift of heaven. Thank you for your greatest sacrifice of your Son, so I may not die but have eternal life with you. Guide our efforts as we work to teach children in CLOW the timeless message of your word and how it applies to their lives today. Help us guide your children in the light of you as they pursue eternity in heaven. Amen.

September 21
3 John 1:4 says, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." At St. Mary's, our mission within Faith Life is to have every child walk in the truth and light of Christ. Small g group creates a place to walk in truth and be supported in that walk. In our "J" Walker's ministry, our children experience this small group environment. Every faith journey is different, each child will have different experiences and needs, but "J" Walkers is the best place to navigate it. As they transition from young children to developing their own understanding and faith, "J" Walkers is where we help guide and encourage kids to create a personal relationship with God and others in Faith. So that they may walk in the truth.
Prayer
Father, we pray for the children of St. Mary's and children everywhere as they maneuver their faith journey. We pray for the participants in "J" Walkers, their personal faith development, their relationship with you, and their relationships with one another within small groups. Help us help them to walk in your truth, as we know that is your greatest joy. Amen.

September 22
Scripture often compares believers to children. In Matthew 18:4, Jesus told those following Him, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the position of a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" As you grow and learn more as humans, you become confident in your own knowledge and beliefs. Our PathFinders are experiencing this stage of growth and development. This is a good thing, but many can struggle as that confidence becomes a lack of humility. In PathFinders, we create a safe place for this stage of life and the development of thought. Allowing for independent exploration of understanding while always pointing back to Christ in childlike humility, Faith, and simplicity.
Prayer
Father, help us to come to you each and every day as your children. I pray for the High Schoolers in PathFinders as they develop their own understanding and relationship with you. Help them as they grow to have humility and Faith the way your smallest of children do. Amen.

September 23
3 John 1:4 says, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." At St. Mary's, our mission within Faith Life is to have every child walking in the truth and light of Christ in a small. Small Groups create a place to walk in truth and be supported in that walk. All our children in Faith Life Ministries experience this small group environment. Every faith journey is different, each child will have different backgrounds and needs, but Faith Life is the best place to navigate it. As they transition from young children into developing their understanding and beliefs, small groups are where we help guide and encourage kids to create their own personal relationships with God and with others in Faith. So that they may walk in the truth.
Prayer
Father, we pray for the children of St. Mary's and children everywhere as they maneuver their faith journey. We pray for the participants in GATHER, CLOW, "J" Walkers, and PathFinders for their personal faith development, relationship with you, and one another within their small groups. Help us help them to walk in your truth, as we know that is your greatest joy. Amen.

September 24
You often look to those younger than you as someone to teach, guide, and even boss around. In the Gospels, Jesus is shown time after time, explaining to his disciples that our role is the opposite. We have so much to learn from children - their hearts, minds, and Faith. Matthew 18:10 says, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven." When we speak to our ministers, we hear the same sentiments, such as, "I started this to help the kids, but they're really the ones helping me" or "My own faith has grown so much from these children." As ministers and a community of Faith, we are not only serving but learning continuously about our faith and our Father.
Prayer
Father, help us to remember our role in the lives of those younger than us is not only to guide but to learn as well. Help us become a community of mutual learning and growth together in our Faith, and help us create ministries where children's authority and knowledge are celebrated. We pray in thanksgiving for our ministers, seasoned and new and still to come. Amen.

Week 9,
September 25 – October 1
St. Jose Sanchez del Rio

September 25
This week we meet St. José Luis Sánchez del Rio. José was born in 1913 in Saguaro, Michoacán, México. He was the third of four children. José loved his Faith and grew up with an intense devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. When José was twelve years old, the Cristero Wars began in Mexico as Mexicans fought for their freedom to go to church and worship freely. Even though he was too young to join the rebellion, José desperately wanted to be a Cristero and stand up for his Faith. He was eventually allowed to enter the effort as a flag bearer. During a battle, José was captured and asked to deny his Faith and the Cristero cause. José refused and was tortured terribly. Refusing to renounce his Faith angered the government soldiers so much that they cut off the bottom of his feet. José was forced to walk through town. He recited the rosary, prayed for his enemies, sang songs to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and proclaimed, "I will never give in. Viva Cristo Rey!" Long live Christ the King! Let us pray with St. José today.
Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for the example, José. His bravery and conviction for his Faith should make us grateful that we can freely worship you. Help us to be brave and strong like José. Help us to pray for those who hurt us and those who hurt others. We love you and ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

September 26

Because of the conflict in Mexico between the government and the Catholic church, José Sanchez del Rio was not allowed to attend Mass or receive the sacraments. At a young age, José knew how important it was to gather to receive the Eucharist and worship together. There is power in a community of people who share the same Faith, and José wanted to have the right to worship freely with a community of believers. Each week, our GATHER families participate in Mass together, where they hear the Word of God and learn how they can live it out in their own lives.
We want our GATHER families to experience the love and encouragement of coming together as a church to worship the one true God. In fact, we want their children to know how important it is to worship together so that they bring their parents to church each week. Let us pray...
Prayer
God, we gather together to give you thank and praise as we celebrate the Mass. We ask that you help us show our families in GATHER and their children the importance of praising you. Help our GATHER families to love the Mass as Jose Sanchez del Rio did. We ask this in Your Son's name. Amen.

September 27

José knew at a young age that Jesus loved him. His family and church helped him understand that God created him in His image and likeness. José understood God cared about Him and that nothing could separate him from God's love. In CLOW, we want kids to know that they, too, are made in the image of God. They were made to reflect their Heavenly Father and His love for others. Out of everything God could have done, He created everyone on the earth to be like Him. In fact, He's the only one who really knows each one of us, deep down. And He loves us more than we can possibly imagine! Let's pray that our children in CLOW discover that God loves them and values them.
Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for perfectly loving us. By sending us Jesus, You gave us the perfect example of how we should love others. Please help us to love people as He did. Help us to live differently because of the way Jesus loves us. We love You. Amen.

September 28
When José was twelve years old, the Cristero Wars began in Mexico. During this time, the Mexican government tried to extinguish the influence of the Catholic Church. The government seized property, closed religious schools and convents, and executed Catholic priests. José knew this was wrong and desperately wanted to be a Cristero. He wanted the chance to stand up for his Faith. He begged his mother to let him join, saying, "Mama, do not let me lose the opportunity to gain Heaven so easily so soon." His mother eventually gave in to his persuasive pleadings and allowed José to join the cause. José knew that standing up for his Faith would not be easy. It would take courage and a lot of conviction to stand up for what was right. José was only 13 years old when he joined the Cristero, the same age as our students in Resurrection. We want these preteens and teens to want to add value and make a difference in the world around them. We want them to see the value in standing up for their Faith in all situations. It's not just about being a good person or doing the right thing. It's about showing others who Jesus is by allowing Him to work through us. Let's pray and ask God to help our "J" Walker tween to stand up for what's right and make a difference in the world around them.
Prayer
God, thank You for the story of José. He showed us what it looks like to stand for what is right. We know it can really be challenging to do the right thing, especially when there is a chance it could cost us. Help us guide our tweens and teens to have the courage to live out our faith every day like José. Amen.

September 29
José Sanchez del Rio persevered in his Faith no matter what he faced. During a battle, José was captured and asked to deny his Faith and the Cristero cause. He refused and continued to pray the rosary despite intense torture. After realizing they would not break José's Faith, the soldiers cut off the bottoms of his feet and forced him to walk through town. But José never gave up. With each painful step, he recited the rosary, prayed for his enemies, and sang songs to Our Lady of Guadalupe. On February 10, 1928, at 14, St. José Luis Sánchez del Río died as a martyr. What happened to José was terrible and very sad, but he knew that he would be with Jesus in heaven when he died. Our high school students may not be captured by soldiers or tortured for their faith, but they will go through difficult things where they can't see the end of the story. We want to help our teens to know that even though they don't know how those situations will turn out, they can persevere because they can trust the God who loves them. We want them to know that God can give them the strength to keep going.
Prayer
Lord, Thank you for giving José wisdom and strength in the middle of such an awful situation. Please give our teens Your wisdom and strength, too, so they can keep going even when they don't know what will happen. We know that we can trust You no matter what because You know the end of the story. Thank You for sending Jesus so we can have the promise of eternal life with You. Amen.

September 30
Raised in a strong Catholic environment, José was taught well in the Faith. Even from an early age, José wanted to learn everything he could about God. So, in a day without the internet, Google, or search engines, he went to the one place he knew he could gain knowledge: the church. José knew the importance of spending time talking with religious teachers, learning the catechism, and asking questions so that he could gain knowledge and understanding of his Faith. This solid foundation would later lead to him standing up for his Faith. We want our Small Groups for adults to be a place to ask questions and share this faith journey.
Prayer
God, You are so big and so wise! You are the source of all knowledge. Thank you for answering when we ask, hearing us when we pray, and giving us Your wisdom and understanding when we seek it. Please help us create an environment encouraging adults to discover more about You. A safe place where they can bring their stories to share and find answers with a community of believers. Knowing you is the most important thing of all. Amen.

October 1
Although José was young and died as a martyr at age 14, he was a powerful example of youth, bravery, and Faith. José helps us realize that anyone can do great things for Jesus, no matter how young they are. It's our job as leaders to help our kids and teens figure out what they are called to do. There's a tendency to treat kids like they need to wait before they can do something that matters. But kids and teens can do great things right now. They just need some help figuring out what they can do to make a difference in our world. That's where you come in. As leaders in our kids' and teens' lives, you can help them discover how to tap into their God-given potential and start doing something significant right now. If you teach them to find purpose now, they'll grow up knowing the even more important potential God has for them in the future. Let's pray and ask God to help us to empower them to live out their faith.
Prayer
Father, sometimes our kids and students think they can't make a difference right now— they believe they aren't old enough or know enough.
Or they aren't sure what other people will think of them. Thanks for this great reminder of what José was able to do because of his solid foundation in Faith. Help us to empower the next generation to start living out their faith now. Help us be role models so that they learn to make daily choices to make a difference for others. We ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

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Thank you to  Melissa F Photography for permission to use many of the church photos

St Mary’s Catholic Church
789 Dartmouth Street
South Dartmouth, MA 02748