Being a parish priest leads one in many interesting directions. Because our parish houses and supports an overnight, wintertime homeless shelter staffed and coordinated by a program of the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island, I was invited to give the invocation at the kick-off event for "May is Mental Health Month".'
Here is what I prayed at the State House this afternoon -
Gracious and Holy One,
We come before you this day from many faith backgrounds and traditions, and we come knowing you to be a God of compassion and love. We hold before you all who are touched by mental illness, and we recognize that in one way or another, we all are. Strengthen and uphold those who struggle from day to day. May they know your love and presence in the midst of daily life. Inspire and encourage those who seek to care and to heal. May they be filled with your compassion and insight.
We pray for our society, knowing that our quality and character are most revealed by how those most in need are treated. Remove stigma and ignorance, enlighten those who have been given the privilege of being leaders in our common life, overcome a cramped spirit that would restrict and decrease resources. In the midst of tiredness and discouragement, lift our vision to see and live out the better side of our nature.
May this day, this month to come, be a time of hope and even of joy as we celebrate each person, created in your image, your beloved child.
We pray in the power of your love. Amen.
More information on Mental Health Month is available at www.mhari.org
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