Methods of Prayer

Dear Parish Family…

On Sunday, we gathered the 10th Grade candidates for Confirmation from both parishes, along with their sponsors, and introduced them to a powerful method of prayer we call TAPA. The letters of the acronym TAPA outline four simple steps that anyone can follow if they have a few moments for prayer but are not sure how to use it. First THANK, then ADMIT, then PAUSE, then finally ASK.

THANK: Let your mind go back over the day and think of all the things God has done for you.
ADMIT: Think of one situation from the day that God knows you know better than to have done.
PAUSE: Sit in silence & let God speak in your heart, your mind or your gut, however God wants.
ASK: Go through all the people and things you are worried about and seek God’s help.

TAPA works no matter how much time you have to spend. Do you have 10 minutes? Spend 3 minutes thanking God, 1 minute admitting, 3 minutes in a silent pause and 3 minutes asking for help. Have 1 minute before the elevator comes or while your burrito is getting nuked? 15 seconds each of T-A-P-A can work wonders! Try it, you’ll see what I mean.

As we begin the month of May, we remember the Catholic tradition of praying with, for and to Mary. This is the month we crown our Mother with flowers and honor all mothers, who receive their inspiration from her. Interestingly, while Catholic devotion to Mary continues to be robust, many have lost the strength of the connection that our people have enjoyed for so long with St. Joseph. Mary’s husband is a very powerful role model and intercessor, so much so he has been named the patron saint of the whole Universal Catholic Church as well as the patron of all fathers and of all workers. Staying connected to him is both an inspiration and blessing.

Pope Francis wishes to blow on the embers of our love for St. Joseph by naming 2021 the “Year of Joseph.” Our pope is encouraging us to reconnect with our devotion to Jesus’ heroically brave and humble foster father. One of the prayer methods we can use to strengthen our connection is to reflect on the Seven Sorrows and the Seven Joys of Joseph. These moments of his life were visceral; not at all sugarcoated, but earthy and familiar, as just as St. Joseph himself is…

The Sorrows of St. Joseph

  1. His doubts about Mary.
  2. His pain at the lowly poverty of Jesus’ birthplace.
  3. Watching the circumcision, Jesus’ first wound.
  4. Listening to the painful prophetic message from Simeon.
  5. Having to take the Holy Family into exile.
  6. The hard trip back from Egypt.
  7. The loss of Jesus for three days.

The Joys of St. Joseph

  1. The angel’s message of joy.
  2. The Savior’s birth.
  3. Having the honor of naming Jesus.
  4. Knowing the effects of Jesus’ redemptive work.
  5. The idols of Egypt fell at Jesus’ feet.
  6. Holy life with Jesus and Mary.
  7. Finding Jesus after three days.

Here’s one suggested way to turn these Seven Sorrows & Joys into a weekly prayer cycle…

Day 1: St. Joseph, great was your sorrow when, in a state of uncertainty, you were inclined to quietly divorce Mary. But great was your joy when the angel revealed to you the mystery of Christ’s Incarnation.
By this sorrow and this joy, we ask you to relieve all _______’s anxieties and doubts about their future and fill their hearts with confidence in the powerful protection of Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God.
Recite seven Our Fathers and seven Hail Marys.

Day 2: Glorious St. Joseph, chosen foster father of Jesus, great was your sorrow at seeing the Child Jesus born in such poverty. But great was your joy when you beheld the brightness of that holy night in which the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest…”
By this sorrow and this joy, we ask the grace that the Infant Jesus may again be born in the heart of _________ and that, blessed with the sweet peace of God, they may practice their faith with renewed joy.
Recite seven Our Fathers and seven Hail Marys.

Day 3: Beloved St. Joseph, you faithfully obeyed the law of God, and your heart was pained by the sight of the Precious Blood that was shed by the Infant Savior during His circumcision. But great was your joy when you gave Him the name of Jesus that would bring salvation to sinners.
By this sorrow and this joy, obtain for ________ the grace to one day die with the Holy Name of Jesus in their hearts and on their lips.
Recite seven Our Fathers and seven Hail Marys.

Day 4: Most faithful St. Joseph, great was your grief when, at the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, you heard Simeon’s prophecy of the future sufferings of Jesus and Mary. But how great was your joy when Simeon foretold that Jesus would be the light for the revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of God’s people.
By this sorrow and this joy, we pray that you assist ________, that through the light and the power of the Sorrowful Mother, they may see the help God constantly offers them, and praise and thank God for all these graces.
Recite seven Our Fathers and seven Hail Marys.

Day 5: Most watchful guardian of the Infant Jesus, great was your grief when, obeying the voice of the angel, you fled to Egypt with Mary & the Infant Jesus. But how great was your joy to have God with you on the way and to see the idols of false gods fall prostrate before the God of All.
By this sorrow and this joy, I pray that you help _________ to banish addiction from their life so that God alone may reign in them.
Recite seven Our Fathers and seven Hail Marys.

Day 6: Glorious St. Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family, great was your sorrow when, upon the return from Egypt, you learned that a cruel king was reigning in Judea. But great was your joy when the angel of God directed you to go to Nazareth where you lived peacefully with Jesus and Mary until your happy death.
By this sorrow and this joy, I ask that you assist _________ that they may overcome all attacks of despair and die one day in peace.
Recite seven Our Fathers and seven Hail Marys.

Day 7: St. Joseph, patron of the seeking, great was your sorrow when you accidentally lost the Child Jesus for three days. But how great was your joy when you found Him in the Temple.
By this sorrow and this joy, we ask you to help __________ to not lose sight of their Savior in their hurt and anger, but to find Him in the temple of their hearts.
Recite seven Our Fathers and seven Hail Marys.

Can you see how beautifully these prayers could connect you to St. Joseph, Mary, Jesus, the Father and our loved ones in pain and struggle? May the humble love and faithful friendship of St. Joseph be with you, inspire you and bless you, during the days of this pandemic and always.

With love and devotion,
Father Scott