More than 300 prayer requests have been made since Sts. Rose and Clement Parish started a prayer intention initiative during Advent, or the preparation of Christmas, which took place earlier this winter.
The main goal of the initiative is to remind people that others care for them when they are sick, struggling or feel alone.
“No matter what your faith, we’re with you,” said Rev. Fr. Edward J. Wilson Jr. “We want to help you and be present for you. Everyone’s heart longs for God and every heart longs for healing. Every heart wants to express its needs, its worries and its sufferings to others and we want to join our hearts to their hearts. That’s what prayer is: the joining of hearts.”
Deacon Noel Edsall agrees that the initiative is a great way to reach out to others. He said it provides an opportunity for those not in the parish to offer their prayers to God.
“We’re opening our doors so anyone can seek God’s help,” said the Deacon. “We, as a parish, are committed to praying for those intensions.”
Parishioners also love the concept. While Pat Trivisonno said she thinks it’s “great,” Eileen Morin said she hopes it will encourage people who left the church to return.
“It might help and heal people who have been away for a while,” said Morin, who has been a member of the parish for nearly 20 years. “We always seem to come through and help people in need and that’s what I like about church.”
Another parishioner, William Patenaude, who recently earned a master’s degree in theology from Providence College, said they are simply doing what the ancient church has been doing since its inception more than 2,000 years ago, which is going out into the community and finding out what people need. Also, he said the mission is not to entice people to visit Sts. Rose and Clement, it’s so they return to their own parishes, too.
“If we can’t help them physically, we can help them spiritually through the form of prayer,” said Patenaude. “We bombard heaven with requests for help not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors.”
The parish welcomes the community to stop by the church and
write their intentions in a book that is presented on a table inside the main entrance. Some people may write a few words such as, “Please pray for my father,” and others will get more detailed and share a few paragraphs. Either is appropriate.
For regular Masses, Fr. Wilson and Deacon Edsall always compose a list of prayers called the Prayers of the Faithful and offer up special intentions for people who recently died or tragic events going on in the world. The prayer intention initiative, said Patenaude, is similar but more private and anonymous.
“Fr. Wilson may look at them but it’s really between them and God,” he said. Moreover, a prayer for those who have written in the book is always said at each weekly Mass.
Patenaude said the initiative is a way for parishioners to share God’s “good news” with others. This, he feels, is far more effective than talking about scripture or reading the Bible. He said both are important, but extending a hand to a stranger makes a stronger impact to the community.
“We’ve been trying to reach out to our neighbors, which is really what we’re supposed to do,” he said. “Let’s first remember that we’re all in this together. Some people are practicing Catholics and some are not. Some are faithful and some are not. Some believe in God and some don’t. But, aside from all that, if there’s an issue people have or they would like us to help pray for, we’re here.”
He believes this is what God wants.
“God is always trying to call together a family and in doing this, God is saying, ‘Good. They are working together and helping each other,’” said Patenaude.
Church doors open at 7 a.m. for prayer intentions. Anyone is welcome to stop by and write their intentions in the book.
Sts. Rose and Clement Parish is located at 111 Long Street. For more information about prayer intentions or a Mass schedule, call 401-739-0212 or visit ssrcparish.com.