(Prayer of the Faithful, Common Prayer) - The Liturgy of the Word ends with the General Intercessions. This is one of the oldest parts of the Mass, restored following Vatican II, and links the Liturgy of the Word with the Liturgy of the Eucharist. There is a specific order and content: for the Church itself, for public authorities, for the salvation of the world, for particular needs, and for the local community.
This prayer belongs to all the people of God, both lay and ordained; in it we exercise our priestly role given at Baptism, where we are united with Jesus by praying for all humanity. We believe that "the prayers of the Church are joined with the mystery of Christ's intercession for us, which itself culminates in his total oblation of himself for us to the Father".
We pray with humility, trust, and perseverance, as have all men and women of faith throughout the ages. Christian prayer is centred on the desire and the search for the Kingdom. We remember Job and we fix our gaze on God. We pray with love and mercy in our hearts, and we pray with confidence in God's care for us. "It is faith, not common sense or calculation or weighing of the evidence, that speaks in the Church's intercessions". (Thomas Howard, On Being Catholic)
(adapted and taken with permission from Anne Perez, Dir. Religious Ed., Holy Family Parish, St. Petersburg, Fla.)