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Northside parish open for prayer 24/7

New space: Bracken Ridge launched its Light-A-Candle initiative, which was an online prayer space where anyone can enter, virtually “light” a candle and pray any time for as long as they wish.

A BRISBANE parish is now open for prayer 24 hours a day, inviting people wherever they are to light a candle any time of the day or night.

The Parish of St Joseph and St Anthony in Bracken Ridge launched its Light-A-Candle initiative at last weekend’s Masses.

It’s an online prayer space where anyone can enter, virtually “light” a candle and pray any time for as long as they wish.

The candle they click on will remain flickering for 23 hours.

Parish priest Fr Gerry Hefferan said launching the project was “a dream come true”.

“The dream for our parish online prayer candles is several years old,” he said in his homily last weekend.

“We sometimes light candles in the church sanctuary at Mass. The dream was to offer this opportunity to people with mobile phones or a computer or other social media.

“And for those who do not have access to the Internet, perhaps a family member or friend or parish member, could go online for them and light a candle.”

Fr Hefferan said for two thousand years Christians “have lit candles at times when we visited a church, or lit candles at home, for special intentions as we prayed to God”.

“Our parish community today launches a new website dedicated to lighting candles as we pray,” he said.

With the website being launched as the Church celebrated All Saints’ Day (last Sunday) and All Souls’ Day (last Monday), Fr Hefferan led parishioners in prayer as he lit three candles in the church during the weekend Masses – one for family and friends who had died, a second for those who mourned and a third for those who had died without anyone to pray for them.

He thanked a team of parishioners “who have spent many hours since August in designing an opportunity for people wherever they live, to light a candle online for themselves, for others, or for our world”.

In preaching on the Gospel of the day – Matthew’s passage on the Beatitudes – Fr Hefferan said that in the following passage the Gospel talked about followers of Jesus being “salt of the Earth” and “light of the world”.

“It tells us that the light should be on our lampstand (not hidden), so that’s what we’ve done,” he said.

“In IT we’ve put (the Light-A-Candle site) up so that people can see it, and following that passage that says we’re ‘light of the world’, we call others to share in it.

“So what I’m inviting you to do is let other people know about it.”

He said the parish team had designed the prayer site “so it’s not just for us but it can be lit by anyone and people can pray (any time)”.

“Whether it’s up in Blackall/Tambo (parish twinned with Bracken Ridge) or over in South Sudan, whether it’s in any region where there’s COVID-19 at the moment, where there’s anyone in isolation, (a prayer candle) can be lit and accessed,” he said.

“You can pray, light the candle and then, if you want to, you can stay with the candle for a while, … and just pray, just spend the time with God.

“All of us can access it in one way or another and pray for each other.

“Remember, we’re presenting it also that, out of the Gospel on the Sermon on the Mount, we’re called to put the light on a lampstand and this becomes our lampstand on social media.

“It’s great – children can teach other children, young adults can teach other young adults.

“If you want to say a prayer for something – someone’s birthday, light a candle for them and let them know that you’ll pray for them and light a candle; someone’s anniversary …

“Exams is a big thing at the moment – light a candle for someone you know who’s doing an exam …”

Access Light-A-Candle at the Bracken Ridge parish website https://www.stjosephsbrackenridge.com/

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