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Diocese joins Australian Church in praying for rain

October 23, 2019

The Catholic Church in Australia is dedicating the month of November as a time to pray for those affected by crippling drought conditions and to pray for the gift of rain.

Parishes, schools, families and other Catholic communities across the country are being encouraged to participate in the National Prayer Campaign for Drought, which also invites people to provide assistance to those most in need.

The Bureau of Meteorology says that, on some measures, the current drought is the worst in 100 years or more, with most parts of Australia’s eastern states declared to be in drought.

Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE from Wilcannia-Forbes oversees a diocese that covers about half of NSW, including some of the most drought-affected areas in the country.

He said the month of prayer is an additional response to the local work being done in affected communities.

“Some of our Catholic ministries, along with other faith-based, charitable and government organisations, are doing remarkable work, supporting people with material needs, offering financial support and responding to people’s psychological and spiritual needs,” Bishop Columba said.

“In some dioceses, practical responses like school fee relief or support with rising utility bills can ease an increasing burden for families.

“But in a Catholic context, prayer must be a part of our response.”

Bishop Columba said the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, has stories of rain being “God’s gift” to people who are suffering,

“In times of drought like we are experiencing now, we should pray for God’s gift of rain, which will have the power to quench our arid lands and also lift many people’s fallen spirits,” he said.

Bishop Columba said the National Prayer Campaign must be truly national, noting that the whole country suffers when there is a drought—especially one of this magnitude. The Church needs to be an example of recognising that reality.

“That people living where there is plentiful, or at least enough, water don’t seem aware of how much suffering the drought is causing only adds to the hardship of those in drought-affected communities,” he said.

“The Church across Australia—lay people, religious, priests and bishops alike—needs to stand in solidarity with those suffering most acutely, offering prayers and practical support to those in most need.”

Prayer resources have been developed for parishes, schools, communities and families to participate in the National Prayer Campaign. They can be accessed at www.catholic.org.au/drought.

Prayer

Eternal God,

In wisdom and love
you created our earth
to sustain us and give us life.

We turn to you now
in faith, hope and love,
asking you to look with favour
on our drought-stricken land,
on our starving animals,
on our failing crops.

Strengthen, sustain and give new heart
to our farmers
and to all who are affected by
drought;
be with those who support them.

In your loving providence,
send abundant rain
and restore our parched earth.
Father of all compassion,
hear our prayer
through Jesus Christ your Son,
in whom the promise of new life
has dawned, and
through the power
of the Holy Spirit,
the Lord the giver of life:
Renew your faithful people;
Renew the face of the earth.

Our Lady of the Southern Cross,
Mary, help of Christians –
Pray for us.

St Mary of the Cross MacKillop –
Pray for us.

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