Liturgical Resources for Natural Disasters

In light of the devastating wildfires that are burning across the American West, as well as the expectation of an especially violent hurricane season, Pray Tell has put together a list of prayer resources for natural disasters, to which we invite you to add your own suggestions. Our official liturgical books do not always respond to such traumas as wildfires directly, we acknowledge. Adaptation and the composition of new texts is therefore important as we meet these moments of crisis and respond in faith.

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Roman Missal:

In the Civil Needs section of Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions there isn’t anything specific for wildfires, but there is a series of collects corresponding to other types of natural disasters and weather needs that could be easily adapted and rendered applicable.
34. In Time of Earthquake
35. For Rain
36. For Fine Weather
37. For an End to Storms
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Book of Blessings:
There isn’t anything directly related to disasters or first responders, but with a little creativity the blessings for Various Means of Transportation (Chapter 21) as well as Tools or Other Equipment for Work (Chapter 24) could be adapted for equipment and supplies used to contain and extinguish the fires as well as perform rescue operations. Both chapters include a full order of blessing and options for shorter rites.
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LTP Intercessions: (The text below was posted on LTP’s Facebook page)
We are devastated to see the pain, suffering, and destruction caused by the West Coast wildfires. Our prayers are with all those affected by these fires, and we offer these intercessions for use at liturgy or for daily or personal prayer:
  • Make your Church a place of welcome and safety; enable Church communities to offer hospitality and practical support to all in need, we pray:
  • In the midst of disaster beyond our control, empower us to reach out in love to others, mending what is broken, and bringing hope where there is despair, we pray:
  • Where natural disasters are the result of environmental degradation, strengthen us to work for policies that protect humankind by protecting the environment, we pray:
  • We pray for all who have suffered physical harm; help us to accompany and support them in the process of healing, we pray:
  • We entrust to the arms of your mercy all those who have died; we hold in your love all who mourn their passing, we pray:
© 2020 Liturgy Training Publications
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Additional Sample Petitions: 
  • May all who are displaced and suffering due to natural and environmental disasters, especially the wildfires along the West Coast, find shelter, support, and kindness through the loving actions of people of goodwill; we pray…
  • May the wisdom and beauty of God’s creation inspire us to recognize the profound bonds of connection between humanity and nature and to act courageously as faithful stewards of our common home; we pray…
  • May the Christian community graciously accompany all those whose lives have been disrupted and endangered by fires, storms, and other severe weather as they seek refuge from harm, endeavor to recover, and find new ways to flourish; we pray…
  • May people of goodwill identify and pursue efforts to reduce and repair environmental devastation, especially conditions that threaten the health and wellbeing of vulnerable and marginalized communities; we pray…
  • May we strive to embody God’s promise of comfort for those who mourn for all who are grieving the loss of loved ones, homes, and livelihoods because of wildfires and storms; we pray…
H/T Andrew Remnick

 

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