In 2025, we celebrate the Jubilee Year entitled ‘Pilgrims of Hope’. As a preparation for the year the Holy Father has called for a preparatory year which begins this Advent dedicated as a Year of Prayer. There will be a particular focus on the Our Father, which presents us with an opportunity to go back to the basics of prayer.

Prayer is our relationship with God who personally invites us into a dialogue of the heart. It is only in the dialogue of prayer that we can come to recognise the presence of Jesus who walks with us every step of our lives. But we know that prayer can also be one of the most difficult aspects of life with its demands and struggles. How often have we heard from our own parishioners the cry ‘teach us to pray?’ – not necessarily in those words.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he gave them the great gift of the Lord’s Prayer. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, the Our Father is the model for all prayer (see CCC 2766). So, as we approach the start of the Year of Prayer we are asked on a parish level how we can intensify our prayer in preparation for the Jubilee Year. In his letter declaring the Jubilee Year, Pope Francis writes:

‘In this time of preparation, I would greatly desire that we devote 2024, the year
preceding the Jubilee event, to a great “symphony” of prayer. Prayer, above all
else, to renew our desire to be in the presence of the Lord, to listen to him and to
adore him. […]
Prayer as the royal road to holiness, which enables us to be contemplative even
in the midst of activity. In a word, may it be an intense year of prayer in which
hearts are opened to receive the outpouring of God’s grace and to make the
“Our Father,” the prayer Jesus taught us, the life programme of each of his
disciples.’

Let’s join together in spending time reflecting over the ‘Our Father’ as Pope Francis has encouraged us, specifically aiming to grow closer in Christ.