A Suggested Prayer Service for Pope Francis’ First Anniversary
Some notes: Since March 13th is near the Second Sunday of Lent (March 16th this year), we choose the inspiration of transfiguration and vision as the theme for the prayer. This worship service takes the form of adapted Evening Prayer- going back to our early Tradition- at which gifted lay people are qualified to preside.
Light in the darkness will be a prime image. Therefore, greeters will welcome everyone, offering each a program and a small candle. In a small gathering, chairs might be in a circle, with a table in the center for the Bible and a large candle (or Easter Candle). The presider and lector will be part of the circle, after they form a procession into the space, carrying the light and the Bible; musicians will also be part of the circle.
Call to Worship:
Presider: + Light and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.
Gathering Hymn: “God of Day and God of Darkness,” verses 1-4, text by Marty Haugen, to the tune of BEACH SPRING, © 1985, 1994, GIA Publications, Inc.
Proclamation of Scripture
Psalm 136, “Love Is Never Ending,” sung, verses 1 & 3: text by Marty Haugen based upon Psalm 136, music by Marty Haugen, © 1987, GIA Publications, Inc.
Psalm Prayer: Presider
Abundant God of creation, Poured Out God of mercy,
Fill our hearts, propel our actions with grateful love, in return.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
The Word of God: Matthew 17:1-9 (Ideally learned and proclaimed by heart)
Psalm 136, “Love Is Never Ending,” sung, verses 5 & 6.
A Word from Pope Francis, EG 27
“I dream of a ‘missionary option,’ that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation. The renewal of structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth and in this way to elicit a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with himself.”
A brief reflection, if desired:
The preacher might engage with the following thoughts. In this evening’s readings we see threads and themes of vision and ‘transformation.’ How might Matthew’s account of events on the mountain inform the “missionary impulse” that is dear to Francis’ heart? What kinds of “pastoral conversion” do these readings assume and also inspire? Is an experience like that depicted in Matthew necessary in order to “elicit a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with himself?”
Gospel Canticle: The Magnificat/ “Canticle of the Turning,” text by Rory Cooney, based upon Luke 1:46-58; tune is STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN, Irish Traditional,
© 1990, GIA Publications, Inc.
Quiet Preparation: A few of the participants have been instructed to light their candles from the Large/ Easter Candle and pass the light to everyone. During this time of quiet, everyone will be encouraged to claim a simple prayer- one hope for our beloved Church. (It may or may not have been inspired by Pope Francis.)
“We call upon you, O God; come quickly to us;
give ear to our voices when we call to you.
Let our prayers be counted as incense before you….” 
Sung response, after every 3-5 prayers: “Kyrie, Kyrie, eleison, music by Jacques Berthier, © 1980, Les Presses de Taize, GIA Publications, Inc., agent.
Presider, at the conclusion:
“Our eyes and ears are turned toward you, O God;
in you we seek refuge;” be with us always, to the end of the age. 
Closing Rites: Lord’s Prayer, Sending Forth Blessing and Hymn
Lord’s Prayer, spoken or sung
Sending Forth Blessing: people (left and right sides) face each other and extend an arm in blessing; blessing is based upon Genesis 12: 1-4a.
Presider: Be our light in the darkness, O God of our Journey,
Left: Go forth from your kindred to the land that I will show you, says our God.
Right: For I will abundantly bless you, and you will be a blessing.
Left: In you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Right: Both now, and forevermore.
All: In you, O God, we trust;
Move us beyond any fear to the land of your desiring. Amen!
Sending Forth Hymn: “Christ, Be Our Light,” text and tune by Bernadette Farrell,
© 1993, 2000, Bernadette Farrell, Published by OCP Publications.
 Based upon Psalm 141: 1-2a, the Evening Psalm.
 Based upon Psalm 141:8 and Matthew 28: 20b.