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Favorite Sources for Prayer and Spiritual Growth from Parish Social Ministers

The 2012 Resources Project Team of the Catholic Charities USA Parish Social Ministry Professional Interest Section compiled a list of favorite sources for prayer and spiritual growth. We felt that this list could be of use to other members of the Section and the Catholic Charities network as a whole as people seek to enhance their personal prayer lives, plan liturgies, etc.

There was some crossover amongst the responses from the eight team members. Persons offered names of favorite spiritual writers, anthologies of prayers and prayer services, blogs for meditation, comprehensive websites on the subjects of prayer and spirituality, etc. The table below illustrates source, means to access, and a summary (if applicable). Comments or questions about the list may be addressed to Steve Herro; Manager of Mission and Ministry, Catholic Charities, USA; sherro@catholiccharitiesusa.org; 571-814-4923.


Means of access



Online, Web based

Listed by several members, a comprehensive Web site with backgrounders, prayers and prayer services, and other reflections related to spirituality and social justice. Some of the materials on the site are free; other sections are for yearly subscribers.

Online, Web based


service of the Campus Ministry Office,

Creighton University, offers links to daily Mass readings with a reflection by a

member of the Creighton community

Online, Web based


daily online prayer source based on the

spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola; administered by the Irish Jesuits

Give Us This Day: Daily Prayer for Today’s Catholics

Collegeville: Liturgical Press

Monthly periodical that features daily abbreviated morning and evening prayer, readings and Mass collects, biographical entries, and Mass reflections

Online, Web based

Administered by Colleen Spiro, the Web site includes daily and weekly reflections, a blog, background material on saints, examples of Catholic prayer forms, etc.

Online, Web based

Administrators of the site are dedicated toward the promotion of the spirituality of Henri Nouwen; they offer daily and weekly reflections, a daily meditation blog, and online discussion group.

Online, Web based

Produced by Catholic Relief Services, includes multimedia reports and reflections from countries of the developing world


where CRS serves

Online, Web based

Reflective commentaries on current social justice topics can be used for spiritual reading followed by private reflection

Online, Web based

Reflective commentaries on current social justice topics can be used for spiritual reading followed by private reflection

Online, Web based

Reflective commentaries on current social justice topics can be used for spiritual reading followed by private reflection

Online, Web based

Notable quotations, http://www.osjspm.org/CatholicSocialTeach ingNotableQuotes, can be especially helpful in prayer

Written works of Bernard Haring, Greg Boyle, Henri Nouwen, Ronald Rolheiser

Local library or theological book store

U.S., Dutch, German and Catholics priests of the 20 th and 21 st centuries

JustFaith Ministries prayer suggestions

JustFaith Ministries Facilitator’s manual

Available to participants in JustFaith Program

Our Prayers Rise Like Incense:

Liturgies for

Preseton-Pile, Cindy. Erie:

Sample prayer service for occasions and events throughout the year; written from a social justice perspective

Pax Christi USA, 1998. Local library or theological book store



Prayers for the New Social Awakening:

Iosso, Christian and Hinson- Hasty, Elizabeth L. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008. Local library or theological book store

Prayers or short sermons by interfaith religious leaders of the 20 century

Inspired by the New Social Creed

Living God’s

Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action

Favorite prayers and prayers services, submitted by U.S. Catholic diocesan social action director, grouped around themes of Catholic social teaching and holy


Reflections and

Directors. Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger Press,




Prayers for a Thousand Years:

Roberts, Elizabeth J. and Amidon, Elias. San Francisco:

HarperSanFrancisco, 1999.

Hundreds of wishes, blessings, stories, and challenges from a diverse group of distinguished international spiritual teachers, poets, activists, political leaders, youth, artists and visionaries, composed around themes of peace and understanding

Blessings and Expressions of Hope for the New Millenium

Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of

Nouwen, Henri. San Francisco: Harper SanFrancisco, 1997.

Collection of 366 interlocking meditations, it explores the nature of simple human experience, the surrender to Christ and the

Wisdom and


Church as Christianity community.


Prayer Without

Ballenger, Barbara. Baltimore: Catholic Relief Services, 2004

Dozens of prayers, reflections, and stories derived from countries served by Catholic Relief Services



Global Wisdom


The Hidden Ground of Love:

New York: Ferrar, Straus, Giroux, 1985.

“… religious experience gave Merton the motivation for his ever deepening commitment to peace, justice, and human equality,” from the book’s introduction

Letters of Thomas Merton on Religious Experience and Social Concerns

Hearts on Fire:

Harter, Michael. St. Louis:

Prayers by Jesuits arranged to accompany Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises or simply focus

Praying with

Institute of Jesuit Sources,



on events of daily life

All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time

Ellsberg, Robert. New York:

Biographical entries with quotations by holy figures, arranged by feast, birth, or death date.

The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1998.

Confessions of St. Augustine

Augustine, St. New York:

Spiritual memoirs of the 5th century spiritual writer and doctor of the Church

New American Library,




Augustine of

Brown, Peter Robert Lamont. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967.

Studying the life and practices of a saint enhances one’s own ability to lead a holy life.

Hippo: A


Prayer for Parish Groups:

Harrington, Donal and Kavanagh, Julie. Winona:

“This is a book of prayer resources for parish groups. It is not a book for prayer groups, but for every parish group….” from the book’s preface.

Preparing and

St. Mary’s Press, Christian Bros. Publications, 1998.

Leading Prayer

for Group



Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Citt del

aticano : Libreria

Understanding the social and theological grounding of our justice tradition can enhance our ability to connect theology, prayer, and justice

Editrice Vaticana ; Washington, D.C. :

[Distributed by] United States Conference of


Catholic Bishops, ©2004