Compline Prayers for this Time of Seclusion

posted by Mike on March 25th, 2020

Here is a PDF of Compline, the Night Prayer.

We’ve been praying this at home each night before some of us go to bed. (Others are night owls.)

This is formatted for people who’ve never prayed Compline before, and so that each day will fit on a double-sided sheet of standard letter-sized paper.

If you haven’t prayed this before, every night of the week is slightly different. You might want to light a candle, burn some incense, or otherwise set the mood before you begin. The leader reads everything in regular text. Another person reads everything in italics. The whole group reads everything in bold. Hymns are included, but you can choose another as you like. If you don’t know the “Salve Regina” another Marian hymn would be appropriate, like “Hail Holy Queen, Enthroned Above.”

If you’ve prayed this before, you’ll notice that some things are edited down a bit, so that everything will fit on a page while still being readable by those of average vision. You’ll also notice the “Salve Regina” uses a rogue form of musical notation. We use these sheets at our local soup kitchen, and the details have evolved over the years. Some weeks we are joined by people who can sight-read music, but not Gregorian notation. Whereas I don’t think there’s anyone who can sight-read Gregorian notation who doesn’t already know the “Salve Regina.”

Transform Now Plowshares activists sentenced; and, the Worcester connection

posted by Mike on February 19th, 2014

Reuters, yesterday:

A U.S. judge sentenced an 84-year-old nun, Sister Megan Rice, on Tuesday to 35 months in prison for breaking into a Tennessee military facility used to store enriched uranium for nuclear bombs.

Two others accused in the case, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, were sentenced to 62 months in prison. The three were convicted of cutting fences and entering the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in July 2012, embarrassing U.S. officials and prompting security changes.

Tom LewisA fourth “participant” in the breakin was Worcester’s own Tom Lewis, the late artist-activist. As the Washington Post reported in an amazing article about this act of protest last spring:

They spray painted the building’s north wall, which was designed to withstand the impact of aircraft but not the words of the Book of Proverbs. They poured and splashed blood that had once been in the veins of a painter-activist named Tom Lewis, one of the Catonsville Nine who, on Hiroshima Day 1987, hammered on the bomb racks of an anti-submarine plane at the South Weymouth Naval Air Station near Boston. In 2008, Lewis died in his sleep, and his blood was frozen so that he might one day participate in one last Plowshares action.

In bright red rivulets, the last of Tom Lewis streaked down the concrete.

Praying for Peace in Syria

posted by Mike on September 3rd, 2013

This afternoon, 16 people demonstrated in Worcester’s Lincoln Square against a US military strike in Syria. Some of them were praying; some not.


Pope Francis has asked all Catholics to pray and fast for peace in Syria this Saturday:

May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and be let themselves be led by the desire for peace.

To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.

Related: Catholic Bishops’ Policy Chair Urges Secretary Kerry To Work For Ceasefire, Serious Negotiations In Syria, Bob Waldrop’s Getting Us Into Wars

Telegram & Gazette photo

Praying for Jeff Barnard

posted by Mike on August 2nd, 2010

Our friend Jeff Barnard is in the hospital. Comments are currently turned off on his blog–some of us are hoping to collect well-wishes and pass them along in the meantime.

Jeff, we are praying for you.

posted by Mike in Prayer, Worcester | on August 2nd, 2010 | Permanent Link to “Praying for Jeff Barnard” | Comments Off on Praying for Jeff Barnard

All-night Main South prayer vigil, Worcester

posted by Mike on August 14th, 2009

Prayer vigil for Main South

There’s a 12-hour prayer vigil for Main South at King & Main in Worcester tonight, organized by The Woo.

I stopped by tonight and joined about 15 others in a little silent prayer, a little spoken prayer, a lot of conversation, and the occasional psalm. As a Catholic, when I think “12-hour prayer vigil” I think of rosaries, litanies, and the Divine Office. This group is coming from a different place, and it’s interesting watching them figure out how they want to use this time. I’ll be back for more in the morning.

All-night prayer vigil, Worcester’s Main South, Aug 14

posted by Mike on August 10th, 2009

The Woo, a small “alternative Christian church” on Main Street, are planning an all-night prayer vigil at the corner of Main and King from 8pm Friday, Aug 14 to 8am Saturday, Aug 15. Several members of the congregation live in the neighborhood, and their hope is to “give God a foothold in the area” and pray for the brokenness they see there.

For more info, call Dan at 508-341-1103.

Nine days of prayer and fasting for an end to U.S. torture

posted by Mike on January 7th, 2009

100 Days Project to Close GuantanamoI’m joining more than 60 people on January 11, 2009 — the seventh anniversary of the opening of American detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — in a nine-day, liquid-only fast to encourage President-Elect Barack Obama to keep his promise to shut down Guantanamo and end torture in his first days of office.

At DuPont Circle Park in Washington, DC, at 12:45 pm, leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, the ACLU, Center for Constitutional Rights, and 9-11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, will call for an end to the Bush policies, justice for the detainees, and accountability for US crimes. 100-200 demonstrators wearing orange jumpsuits and hoods will have a prisoner procession to dramatize the plight of the detainees still at Guantanamo.

The fast ends on Inauguration Day, when we begin a 100 day campaign to close the prison.

This will be my longest fast to date. I’m skeptical about “detoxification” and other health claims made for fasting, but fasting has always cured my spiritual malaise and helped me refocus my life.

What will my fast be like? I have this goofy super-health-food protein drink, vegan but not raw. My plan is to have 2 servings a day (440 calories) of this for the first week or so, then re-evaluate. I think most of the other fasters will stick to juice. (8 ounces of unsweetened orange juice is 112 calories, and apple juice is 117 calories.) I’m also going to avoid caffeine and alcohol.

If you’ll be fasting, in DC or elsewhere, let me know and we’ll link to your account on the 100 Days website.

100 Days co-organizer Matt Daloisio talks about the campaign:

Prayer for an End to the Iraq War

posted by Mike on March 18th, 2008

Editor’s note: This will be part of a Holy Week prayer service at the Federal Building in Worcester.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, under the inspiratrion of Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, who gave his life to denounce an unjust war, on the fifth anniversary of the latest US escalation of its 17-year-long war on Iraq, we gather to beg Your forgiveness for the sin of this war and to ask for Your grace to end it now. We make these prayers in the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Amen.

For the over 88,000 Iraqi citizens killed since 2003, we pray:
Lord, have mercy.

For the 4,100 US soldiers killed in Iraq since 1991, we pray:
Christ, have mercy.

For the 200,000 Iraqis killed in the first Gulf War, we pray:
Lord, have mercy.

For the 1.5 million Iraqis, including 800,000 children, killed by US-sponsored sanctions between 1991 and 2002, we pray:
Kyrie, eleison.

For the thousands of Iraqis killed by “no-fly zone” bombings between 1991 and 2002, we pray:
Christe, eleison.

For our failure to speak out more forcefully against the sin of this long war on Iraq, we pray:
Kyrie, eleison.

Recalling that Pope John Paul II called war on Iraq “useless slaughter” and “unjust, immoral, and illegal,” we pray the rosary to Mary, Queen of Peace, that the ears of all those in the federal government might finally be opened to attend to the plea of millions of Americans who want the war to end now.

Pray a rosary:

The First Sorrowful Mystery: Christ’s agony in the garden.
Help us to end the agony of the Iraqi people and to return all American soldiers safely home.

The Second Sorrowful Mystery: Jesus is scourged.
Help us to end the torture our nation continues to inflict on prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere.

The Third Sorrowful Mystery: Jesus is crowned with thorns.
Help us to never again drop cluster bombs, depleted uranium, and other weapons onto the heads of the Iraqi people.

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: Jesus carries the Cross.
Help us to take up Christ’s cross of nonviolent love (even at the risk of criticism and jail) to end the Iraq War.

The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: Jesus dies on the Cross.
Help us to love our enemies as profoundly as Christ did from his Cross and to reject this and all wars.

Close with the Salve Regina.

Worcester Lenten Prayer and Fast for an End to the Iraq War

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on January 29th, 2008

As Roman Catholics who love the Church, we listened closely to Pope John Paul II who called the 2003 Iraq War “a defeat for humanity” and to Pope Benedict XVI who said, “There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq,” and went on to say, “We should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a just war.”

We remember that, despite the Vatican’s clear opposition to the Iraq War, only one American Bishop, Most Rev. John Michael Botean, condemned it. In a 2003 Lenten Pastoral Letter, Bishop Botean called the Iraq War “objectively grave evil, a matter of mortal sin.”

On March 19, the Iraq War will enter its fifth year. More than 150,000 Iraqi civilians and nearly 4,000 American soldiers have perished. Hundreds of thousands of our sisters and brothers have been injured, orphaned, or left homeless.

We cannot help but wonder if this war could have been prevented with a stronger voice of opposition from all of us in the American Catholic Church. We admit our own complicity by our failure to raise our own voices more forcefully. But, even now, we believe that the voice of our Church can help end the bloodshed.

jagerstatter.jpgTherefore, inspired by the witness of Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, we join concerned Catholics in twelve other dioceses around the United States to call for a Lenten prayer and fast for peace. Like Jagerstatter, the only known Roman Catholic to refuse service in Hitler’s military during World War II, we believe that the Church must not stay “silent in the face of what is happening.” Starting on Ash Wednesday, we invite all people of conscience to join us at Saint Paul’s Cathedral for midday Mass each weekday, followed by a peace vigil outside the church and, shortly thereafter, at the nearby United States Federal Building. We will conclude our prayer and fasting during Holy Week on March 19th with a special Catholic peace witness at the Federal Building.

We hope and pray that this witness in Worcester and other dioceses around the country will draw the Church closer to the nonviolent Christ and help our nation to end the Iraq War and Occupation.

Prayer vigil held for Jan Griffiths

posted by Mike on August 19th, 2006

42 people gathered outside South Bend’s Paramount Restaurant last night for a prayer vigil remembering Jan Griffiths, who was run over by Keith Romine earlier this week outside the restaurant, killing her. This restaurant is practically right around the corner from the Catholic Worker house in South Bend where I’m staying.


Also struck was Derrick Herron. According to Tribune reports, Ms. Griffiths was staying at the Center for the Homeless, fleeing a “domestic violence” (check my blog for information) situation caused by Mr. Herron. Ms. Griffiths had previously been dating Mr. Romine, who she met at the Center, and who was released from prison last December after serving 24 years for killing his wife. The lawyers from are the best in the industry to solve such cases.

Mr. Romine had been staying at Dismas House, a couple doors down from the CW, but was kicked out and moved to the Center.

A sordid and sadly ironic tale.

After a reading of the 91st Psalm at last night’s vigil, there were words of praise for the Sheriff and the security staff at the Center. But no Sheriff or security staff was there to keep Ms. Griffiths from being killed. Any of us could die at any moment. Nobody with a gun can offer us real security or real safety. Some of us find these things in religion; others do without.