British prayer effort invokes St. Monica on behalf of inactive Catholics


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London, England, Nov 18, 2009 / 03:44 am (CNA).- Invoking the example of St. Monica, a British bishop and a woman leading a mother's prayer group program have invited all Catholics and especially Catholic mothers to pray for those who are removed from parish life.

Bishop Kieran Conry, who is responsible for evangelization in England and Wales, made his remarks to coincide with the launch of the annual "Come Home for Christmas" campaign.

He described St. Monica as the patron saint of inactive Catholics.

"She was a faithful wife and mother who prayed for years for her son to embrace the Christian faith. God answered her pleas and St Augustine became a great role model for generations of Christians throughout the ages."

The saint's example reminds us of the importance of Christian prayer but also of the need to be patient, he explained.

"She teaches us that no matter how long it takes we are to be positively engaged - through prayer, love and invitation - in supporting those who are 'resting' Catholics to reconnect with their local Christian community," he continued.

Bishop Conry encouraged everyone, particularly mothers, to join in nine days of prayer from Dec. 12 to 20.

"By the grace of God let's pray that thousands experience a deep encounter with the living God and that the invitations we issue to 'come home' are warmly received," he said.

Veronica Williams, a founder of the international prayer group Mothers' Prayers, added:

"We know that prayer works and are therefore very happy to support this initiative by promoting this novena. In our network we have hundreds and thousands of mothers praying in small groups united in prayer, and we have seen many mothers who because of their concern for their children come to our prayer groups and rediscover their faith."

Other partners in the prayer effort include the National Board of Catholic Women and The Union of Catholic Mothers.

The effort's website is at