A statement from the bishops of the California Catholic Conference
(this statement and prayer suggestions in Spanish)
On October 4, Catholics around the world celebrate the extraordinary life of St. Francis of Assisi. His love for those who are poor and afflicted, as well as his deep affection for God’s creation, is a timely reminder as the Golden State enters the fourth year of a record-setting drought.
We are part of God’s creation. The shortage of water illustrates how precious, and sometimes precarious, that connection can be. Tens of thousands of jobs are at risk and the state’s economy is straining, especially in the agriculture sector. The images of our neighbors’ homes, churches, businesses and communities destroyed by drought-intensified fires are even more heart-breaking.
Californians have responded with support for fire victims, greater water conservation and realistic conversations on future water management. The solidarity and compassion that guide these efforts must become abiding habits of the heart as we discern the best way to ensure a sustainable future for the present and future generations of Californians.
Among the sustaining habits, we urge that all Californians continue to pray as well. Please join us in prayer for those of us who have lost homes and jobs; the first responders who put their lives at risk for us; our leaders and non-profit agencies who organize drought response and disaster recovery; and our children and friends whose respiratory ailments are increased by the dry conditions.
Let us also ask the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi so that we can all be better stewards of God’s creation. With him may we promote a deeper reverence for the human person as part of God’s given creation, especially those most vulnerable and forgotten. They too are created by God, created to be part of us.
As we work to mitigate the impact of the drought on our sisters and brothers, let us take encouragement from the words of Saint Francis: “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
May the Blessings of God be upon us and upon our State in the coming months,
The Catholic Bishops of California
Prayers for Rain
Did you know?…
In the Roman Missal, there’s a prayer for rain. It’s found in the section of Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions, #35, titled “For Rain.” This is a collect (opening prayer for Mass) that may be used whenever you celebrate a Mass that has no assigned collect (such as a weekday Mass in Ordinary Time).
Please consider using this prayer for Masses when it is allowed as well as for group and private prayer.
For Rain (Roman Missal)
O God, in whom we live and move and have our being,
grant us sufficient rain,
so that, being supplied with what sustains us in this present life,
we may seek more confidently what sustains us for eternity.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Prayer by Bishop Jaime Soto (Bishop of Sacramento and president of the California Catholic Conference):
May God open the heavens and let His mercy rain down upon our fields and mountains.
Let us especially pray for those most impacted by water shortages
and for the wisdom and charity to be good stewards of this precious gift.
May our political leaders seek the common good
as we learn to care and share God’s gift of water for the good of all.
For those facing threats to their health, safety and well-being
because of the lack of rainfall and snowpack in California.
May God bring us rain and snow to alleviate their struggles
and to care for the water needs of the people in the Golden State.
For this we pray to the Lord.
For those who manage our water and snowpack resources.
May they be granted the wisdom and strength
to balance the many needs of people and commerce
as we share God’s gift of water among all Californians.
For this we pray to the Lord.
Prayer for Rain from the National Catholic Rural Life Conference-Rural Life Prayer Book:
Almighty God, we are in need of rain.
We realize now, looking up into the clear, blue sky,
what a marvel even the least drop of rain really is.
To think that so much water can really fall out of the sky,which now is empty and clear!
We place our trust in You. We are sure that You know our needs.
But You want us to ask you anyway, to show You that we know we are dependent on you.
Look to our dry hills and fields, dear God, and bless them with the living blessing of soft rain.
Then the land will rejoice and rivers will sing Your praises, and the hearts of all will be made glad. Amen.
Image: Rain by Manuel Hoffmann (pixelgraphix), Flickr – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0