Wish you were here

What can we do with that longing for a friend or relative to be with us in church? We can pray, writes Teresa Carvalho.

In that first moment, when you settle into your seat, waiting for Mass to begin, who is it that you think of? Who is it that you wish were sitting beside you?

After my mother died, it was difficult to come to Church without welling up in tears as I wished she were there. Then one day I asked God to show me she was with him and experienced a sense of peace.

Now my heart aches for those I care about who have stopped coming to Church. Perhaps they have drifted away or something has turned them away. Whatever the situation, I miss them and wish they were here.

In our first reading at Mass we hear about Philip going down into the city to tell people about Jesus. The crowds listened eagerly to what was said, experienced God’s presence and where filled with joy.

If, like me, this is the hope you have for the people you wish were sitting with you in Church, please pledge to pray for them between the Ascension and Pentecost as part of the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ initiative. There are a number of ways to take part.

Traditionally, the Church invites all the faithful to pray the Pentecost Novena at this time. For a booklet, download or podcast of the Pentecost Novena click here.

However if you attend a prayer group or have a regular pattern of prayer, perhaps you could say those prayers for the people you wish were here to open their hearts to the Holy Spirit so they too can receive God’s love through an encounter with Jesus Christ.

Teresa Carvalho
Home Mission Officer
Department of Evangelisation and Catechesis
Bishops Conference of England and Wales