The following prayer services can be used in a variety of settings. They be applied to large or small groups (school assembly, religious education classes, church congregation, youth ministry gatherings, young adult gatherings, family settings, etc). Feel free to adapt.
"The Word Became Flesh, and Dwelt Among Us: Called to Go into the Whole World & Dwell with Others!"
ENVIRONMENT: Candles, Bible, prayer cloth, suitcase, briefcase, satchel, purse, back pack, any other travel cases. Also, bowl with water for blessing. Have instrumental music playing.
CALL TO WORSHIP: Welcome! We are here to celebrate and to commission!
We celebrate the love of God in our midst, a love that became flesh in the person of Jesus. And we celebrate this love of God, so evident in the pilgrims gathered here today. As we celebrate, we also commission these pilgrims who will serve as ambassadors of God's love and forgiveness when they travel to Rome for World Youth Day 2000.
READING: 2 CORINTHIANS 5: 17-21
"So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us."
SONG: (suggestion - "WHEREVER YOU GO" by David Haas)
GOSPEL: MARK 16: 15-18
"Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature!"
REFLECTION: Parallels can be drawn between the commissioning or "sending out' of the disciples and these contemporary pilgrims. Ambassadors leave the comfort of their own country to venture off to distant lands and represent their native country. As pilgrims and ambassadors, they are called to not only stand for their country but to stand up and be counted as Catholic Christians. The good news is for them to receive and to share.
INTERCESSIONS: Begin with formal prayers for the Pope, youth, young adults, and others who will be attending pilgrimage. As time permits, pilgrims (and possibly others in the congregation) are then asked to come forward one by one and state one hope or one prayer they have for the pilgrims/pilgrimage, and then light a candle. They should return to seat and the next person should come forward.
INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC: Perhaps Marty Haugen "Instruments Of Peace"
COMMISSIONING: Pilgrims should be called forth each by name. Also, pre-selected leaders of church (or family members) should be called forth to bless pilgrims with holy water (Simple cross on forehead is appropriate).
BLESSING: Good and gracious God, you sent your Son to live and dwell among us. We thank you for this gift of unselfish love and we ask that you bless each of these pilgrims as they prepare to go out and share your reconciliation, peace, and love with others in Rome. Bless them, Lord, and keep them in your arms as they become your ambassadors. In your name, we pray….AMEN
SIGN OF PEACE
CLOSING PRAYER: May God the Father protect us and keep us in His loving care. May Jesus of Calvary and of Emmaus walk with these pilgrims and all those who will gather for World Youth Day. May the Spirit give us clarity of mind, strength of heart, and a sure foot as we all journey through this life. And may almighty God bless us, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. AMEN
CLOSING SONG: (suggestion - "WE ARE CALLED" by David Haas