Mass for Justice

On Saturday 2nd July at 10.00 am, in Saint Faith’s, Crosby, a special Mass for Justice, was held, with prayers for the success of the forthcoming G8 Summit, for the cancellation of debt, and for the giving of more and better aid to the world's poorest countries.

People of all faiths and none who share this vision were invited to join us in worship, to light a candle, and to pray or give thought for the world to be made a fairer and more just place for everyone.

The preacher at the service was Fr Paul Robinson (Vicar of St Thomas, Lydiate and St Cuthbert, Halsall)

The text of the service and of Fr Paul's sermon are reproduced below, followed by a prayer, statements and some site links.
Follow this link for 'Articles of Faith' - a collection of devotional material (services, sermons, text, prayers etc) for various occasions.

The Order of Service

Penitential Rite

Celebrant: My sisters and brothers, we are called to be Christ in the world, redeeming it, building up within it the reign of God. Let us pray then for the church, and for ourselves who are that church.

We live in a world marked by profound injustice. The vast majority of our sisters and brothers on this earth live in poverty and misery, their human, social and political rights ignored, their dignity daily violated. This is not a consequence of fate or chance, but the result of human behaviour. It is the world we have made.

As church we have often been too afraid, too comfortable, too intimidated, too timid to name the sin of our world. Too often we as church have been part of creating this injustice, either by commission or omission, and this has caused us to fail in our duty to be prophetic. We don’t want to be made uncomfortable. We don’t want to give up the privileged places we often hold in our world, for we too have sometimes benefited from injustice.

Gathered here, we join together in a prayer of repentance as we ask God’s forgiveness
so that we may be worthy to bring our gifts to the altar.

Loving God, when our church, and we who are church, fail to stand with the poor and oppressed peoples who suffer the fruits of injustice – for this we ask your mercy.
God have mercy on us and on your people

Loving Christ, when our church and we who are church, allow ourselves to be guided by the criterion of approval or fear of those with power and wealth – for this we ask your mercy.
God have mercy on us and on your people

Loving God, when our church, and we who are church, fail to address the structures that are at the roots of injustice and violence, when our church and we who are church react selfishly to any kind of change – for this we ask your mercy.
God have mercy on us and on your people
Celebrant: God of compassion, merciful God, may our prayer of repentance be a point of conversion, turning the hearts of many back to you. This we ask in the name of Jesus our brother and redeemer. Amen

Opening Prayer
Father, you have given all peoples one common origin, and your will is to gather them as one family in yourself. Fill the hearts of all with the fire of your love and the desire
to ensure justice for all their brothers and sisters. By sharing the good things you give us may we secure justice and equality for every human being, an end to all division,
and a human society built on love and peace. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Genesis 22:1-2. 9-13, 15-18
God put Abraham to the test. Abraham, Abraham he called. Here I am he replied. Take your son, God said your only child Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him as a burnt offering, on a mountain I will point out to you. When they arrived at the place God had pointed out to him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood. Then he stretched out his hand and seized the knife to kill his son.
But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven. Abraham, Abraham he said. I am here he replied. Do not raise your hand against the boy the angel said. Do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused me your son, your only son. Then looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt-offering in place of his son.
The angel of the Lord called Abraham a second time from heaven. I swear by my own self - it is the Lord who speaks - because you have done this, because you have not refused me your son, your only son, I will shower blessings on you, I will make your descendants as many as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants shall gain possession of the gates of their enemies. All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, as a reward for your obedience.

Psalm 71

O God, give your judgment to the king, to a king's son your justice,
that he may judge your people in justice, and your poor in right judgment.
May the mountains bring forth peace for the people and the hills, justice.
May he defend the poor of the people and save the children of the needy.

In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails,
For he shall save the poor when they cry and the needy who are helpless,

He will have pity on the weak, and save the lives of the poor,
From oppression he will rescue their lives, to him their blood is dear.

May his name be blessed for ever, and endure like the sun.

Second Reading: Romans 8:31-34

With God on our side who can be against us? Since God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up to benefit us all, we may be certain, after such a gift, that he will not refuse anything he can give. Could anyone accuse those that God has chosen? When God acquits, could anyone condemn? Could Christ Jesus? No! He not only died for us - he rose from the dead, and there at God's right hand he stands and pleads for us.

Gospel: Mark 9:2-10

Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. 'Rabbi,' he said 'it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.' He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, 'This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.' Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.
As they came down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what 'rising from the dead' could mean.

Declaration of Faith

We believe in God the Father, who created all the world,
who will unite all things in Christ and who wants all peoples to live together
as brothers and sisters in one family.

We believe in God the Son, who became human, died and rose in glory
to reconcile the world to God, to break down every separating barrier
of race, culture or class, and to unite all people in one body.
He summons both individual and society, both the Church and State,
to seek reconciliation and unity between all and justice and freedom for all.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit, the pledge of God’s coming reign
who gives the Church power to proclaim the good news to all the world,
to love and to serve all people, to strive for justice and peace,
and to summon all the world to accept God’s reign here and now. Amen

Celebrant: My sisters and brothers, we are called to be a light for our world, a voice that illuminates the darkness of sin and points the way towards overcoming that darkness, the way pointed out to us by Jesus of Nazareth. And so we pray with confidence

Loving God, may our church, and we who are church, put ourselves on the side of the poor, on the side of people in need, and strive to give hope to the poor and to defend the cause of the poor.
God of our redemption
hear our prayer.

Loving God, may we respond to the challenge presented by the poor and oppressed peoples of our world with the speed and boldness adequate to the urgency of our times.
God of our redemption
hear our prayer.

Loving God, may our church, and we who are church, be faithful to God’s covenant of love and offer comfort and support to all who are in need because of illness, poverty and grief.
God of our redemption
hear our prayer.

Loving God, may our church, and we who are church, overcome the temptation to remain indifferent, and always have the courage to challenge injustice and proclaim the Good News of the Gospel.
God of our redemption
hear our prayer.

Loving God, may our church, and we who are church, pray in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who live in fear of sickness and death. Through our prayers and actions, may they know the healing comfort of our God.
God of our redemption
hear our prayer.

Loving God, may our church, and we who are church, work tirelessly for justice and peace. May the work of the whole church, be a visible sign of the glory of God active in the world.
God of our redemption
hear our prayer.

Celebrant: Loving God, we humbly ask you to receive the prayers of your people. Nourish us with your spirit of hope. Fill our hearts with the zeal to do justice. Help us find that which gives deep meaning for us in the gospel  commitment of solidarity with the poor, the work of justice, the witness to truth, to a new creation of abundant life for all your people. Amen.

Rite of peace

My sisters and brothers, God has reconciled the world to himself through Jesus his Son and our brother, let us be reconciled one with another. Let us share Christ’s peace and forgiveness and offer each other the sign of peace.

Offertory Hymn

Longing for light, we wait in darkness,
Longing for truth, we turn to you.
Make us your own, your holy people,
Light for the world to see.
Christ be our light! Shine in our hearts!
Shine through the darkness.
Christ be our light!
Shine in your Church, gathered today!

Longing for peace, our world is troubled. Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has power to save us.
Make us your living voice.
Christ be our light! ….

Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, still many thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others,
Shared until all are fed
Christ be our light! ….

Longing for shelter, many are homeless. Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us your building, sheltering others,
Walls made of living stone.
Christ be our light! ….

Many the gifts, many the people,
Many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
Making your kingdom come.
Christ be our light! ….

Prayer over the gifts

Lord, hear the prayers of those who call on you and accept the offering of your Church. Fill us with the spirit of the children of God, until all injustice is conquered by love and there is one family, established in your peace. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer

Jesus, the Compassion of God It is truly right to give you thanks it is fitting that we offer you praise, Father of mercy, faithful God.
You sent Jesus Christ, your Son, among us as redeemer and Lord. He was moved with Compassion for the poor and the powerless for the sick and the sinner; he made himself neighbour to the oppressed.
By his words and actions he proclaimed to the world that you care for us as a father cares for his children.
And so with all the angels and saints we sing the joyful song of your praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed are you, God of holiness: you accompany us with love as we journey through life. Blessed too is your Son, Jesus Christ, who is present among us and whose love gathers us together. As once he did for his disciples, Christ now opens the scriptures for us and breaks the bread.
Great and merciful Father, we ask you: send down your Holy Spirit to hallow these gifts of bread and wine. that they may become for us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the eve of his passion and death, while at the table with those he loved he took bread and gave you thanks: he broke the bread. gave it to his disciples, and said:
“Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body which will be given up for you.”
When supper was ended, he took the cup; again he gave you thanks and handing the cup to his disciples,
he said:
“Take this, all of you, and drink from it. This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant it will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.”
And so, Father most holy, we celebrate the memory of Christ, your Son, whom you led through suffering and death on the cross to the glory of the resurrection and a place at your right hand. Until Jesus, our Saviour, comes again, we proclaim the work of your love, and we offer you the bread of life and the cup of eternal blessing.
Look with favour on the offering of your Church in which we show forth the paschal sacrifice of Christ entrusted to us. Through the power of your Spirit of love include us now and forever among the members of your Son, whose body and blood we share.
Lord, perfect your Church in faith and love enliven us with your Spirit together all those your Son has gained for you. Open our eyes to the needs of all; inspire us with words and deeds to comfort those who labour and are burdened; keep our service of others faithful to the example and command of Christ.
Let your Church be a living witness to truth and freedom, to justice and peace that all people may be lifted up by the hope of a world made new.
Be mindful of our brothers and sisters who have fallen asleep in the peace of Christ, and all the dead whose faith only you can know. Lead them to the fullness of the resurrection and gladden them with the light of your face. When our pilgrimage on earth is complete, welcome us into your heavenly home where we shall dwell with you for ever.
There, with Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, with the apostles, the martyrs, and all the saints we shall praise you and give you glory through Jesus Christ, your Son.
Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours, Almighty Father. for ever and ever. Amen

Prayer after Communion
Lord, you renew us with the one bread that restores the human family to life. By sharing in the sacrament of unity, fill us with a strong and unselfish love that we may work for the progress of all peoples and lovingly bring your work of justice to perfection. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

Final blessing

Go out and be light. May your word burn like the word of the prophets. May your defence of the poor and suffering, the victims of injustice and oppression, be a transforming power for our world. May your voice, your feet, your hands, become those of Christ, building up the reign of God in our human history. And may God bless you, merciful Father, Redeemer, and Breath of our Life. Amen

'Making Poverty History'
Fr Paul Robinson

Today, you and I, and so many hundreds of thousands of people are showing that we care. That we care about our brothers and sisters throughout the world and not just ourselves.  That we want an end to injustice and that we want a new beginning where all people are treated equally, where all people are treated fairly.

Ahead of what could be a meeting that will change the world, we have come together, as Christians, to pray to the God of compassion and love. We have come together to pray and mean, perhaps more than we have ever meant it before, that God’s kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. A kingdom of justice, mercy, peace and love not just for the few but for everyone.

In the Gospel account of the Transfiguration we have just heard, Jesus took with him three of his trusted followers to witness something amazing. There on that high mountain they saw their leader changed, they saw in him a light that was so dazzlingly bright that all they could do was stand in awe. They saw Jesus talking to two of the great figures of the Jewish faith, Moses and Elijah, and they heard the voice of God telling them, just in case they weren’t sure, exactly who Jesus was, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved.  Listen to him.’

There are times when we forget that Jesus is the light of the world.  But today is not the day to forget that his light is a dazzling light that can light up the lives of all people. Today is the day to remember that you and I are also his light in the world. That you and I can make a difference to the lives of other people by showing Jesus in our lives.  o let Jesus’ light shine in your lives, the light of justice, mercy and truth.  Let his light shine through your prayers, through you actions, and through what you say to other people.

There are times when we forget to listen to Jesus, as the Father has asked us to. But today is not the day to forget to listen to him. It is not the day to forget that we are to love our neighbour as ourselves. That what is happening to our brothers and sisters in another country affects us to, because we are all one, part of one family and we have a duty and responsibility to love and to let our love flow like a mighty river.

Of course, there may be times, when like Peter, and the others, we don’t know what to say and we are frightened. But today is not the day to be frightened, today is a day to stand up for what we believe in – a fairer world and equality for all.  oday is a day when we know what to say. That it is wrong that every day in 2005 over 30,000 children die as a result of poverty. 30,000! Now that is not just a statistic, not just a number.  It is 30,000 sons and daughters who are lost to a family every day.  30,000 thousand human beings who have a name and who deserved a chance! It has to stop. We have to say in voices that are loud and clear enough is enough.

Bishop John Sentamu said in a statement following his appointment as Archbishop of York this: ‘It is important that the Church’s voice is heard locally, nationally, and internationally, standing up for justice, bringing good news into the lives of other people, healing the broken hearted, setting at liberty those who are oppressed and proclaiming the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ until he comes again. The Church’s voice locally is you and me, if we don’t speak up about injustice then who will? The Church’s voice nationally is all people of faith, if we, and others don’t say anything to the leaders of this country then who will? The Church’s voice internationally is all people of faith throughout the world, if we don’t join with others in putting pressure on the world’s leaders then who will?

This is our chance to help shine the light of Jesus in the world. This is our chance to really listen to Jesus and to do what he is asking us to do. This is our chance to stand up, united with our brothers and sisters throughout the world, and be counted and to help change the face of the world for ever. Why? Why should we do this? Well the answer is simple because we are loved and the love we have been given should be shared.  Amen.


A prayer to make poverty history

Christ our Lord,
your light shines into the shadows,
and shows us where the obstacles to change lie.
We know that often they are in our own hearts,
in the way we live, and in our daily choices and actions.
We pray that we may accept the light of your love
as a challenge to change ourselves and our world.
We pray that, each day, we make the choices and
take the actions that will bring an end to poverty and hunger,
and lead us all towards a fairer world.
Be with us, Lord, as we face your challenge
and learn how to live our lives in love.
(c) Linda Jones

From the CAFOD website of the Roman Catholic Church:

Statements on poverty

The widening gap between rich and poor around the world
is a scandal and a
We wholeheartedly support the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign
and we urge Catholics in England and Wales to play their part in it.
The Global Common Good requires that the critical questions of trade, aid,
debt and good governance be addressed. We add our voice to the call to
political leaders to honour their commitments to the UN Millennium Goals.

Bishops of England and Wales:
Statement on the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign, 2005

It is not from your own possessions that you are bestowing alms on the poor,
you are but restoring to them what is theirs by right. For what was given to
everyone for the use of all, you have taken for your exclusive use. The
earth belongs not to the rich, but to everyone. Thus, far from giving
lavishly, you are but paying part of your debt.
St Ambrose



Visit the CHRISTIAN AID website


Return to St Faith's home page