By STEPHEN O'KANE, Staff Writer | Published August 20, 2009
Using Scripture, spoken prayer and song, the bilingual prayer group at Prince of Peace Church prays for the healing of the world by interceding for those who are in deepest need.
Kneeling before the tabernacle of the Blessed Sacrament in the dimly lit sanctuary on a Friday afternoon, a handful of Spanish- and English-speakers listened to Isaac Falcon pray aloud.
“We are here to serve you,” he prayed to God. “We are here to pray for those in deepest need. … We are here to serve them.”
“This group is for your Church, for your Body,” he continued to pray with eyes closed. “Open our hearts, our minds, to follow always your will.”
The other members listened with their heads bowed, often adding intentions of their own or nodding in agreement as Falcon flowed between the two languages. This bilingual prayer group gathers in the same manner at 1 p.m. each Friday afternoon, staying faithful to their commitment and encouraging others to join them.
Founded on Good Friday, Falcon said the idea for a bilingual group came to him in prayer. He was already participating in the parish Hispanic prayer group.
Falcon brought the idea to his family and a priest friend, who supported him in the endeavor.
He felt the need to include as many people as possible, since the group was praying for the faith of the entire world. By opening up the band of prayer warriors to two languages, they felt they could reach more people in the parish.
Prince of Peace currently has more than 700 families attending Hispanic Masses at the parish, out of a total of 3,700 families. The bringing together of the two language groups was one of Falcon’s goals.
On Good Friday, following the traditional service of Christ’s “seven last words” and confession, parishioners were invited to stay for the new bilingual prayer group.
Falcon said that the size of the group varies from week to week, but they always gather with the same passion and reverence in hopes of lifting others up in prayer.
“I feel Jesus is revealed in prayer,” he said. “We can feel his presence with us during prayer.”
The group typically opens the hour-plus session with a recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. The chaplet is a devotion based on the visions of Jesus given to St. Mary Faustina Kowalska, a Polish sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy who was canonized in 2000.
The prayer group finds this particular devotion to be appropriate since their focus is praying for the healing of the world and others.
Time is then given for Falcon or other members to lead an extensive prayer session offering praise and thanks and asking for the suffering to be healed. Quiet song often breaks up sessions of long spoken prayer, but reverence is key as most members kneel the entire time or pray to themselves with their eyes closed.
A short pause for a reading of the daily Gospel and a few minutes to discuss the reading follow before entering again into deep prayer.
“I feel connected to the people we pray for,” said Falcon.
One of his sons, David, 17, took a few minutes to describe the purpose of the group.
“We pray for the entire human race, not just other Christians,” he said. “We are here for the world.”
While the group has grown since its inception, Falcon welcomes anyone to come and join.
“We are here every Friday and welcome anyone from any parish,” he said, smiling. “(Gathering) gives us a feeling that Jesus is walking with us no matter what our struggles are.”