Prayers elsewhere in the world: suggested service order

Together – Gathering of the People of God

An ecumenical prayer vigil to entrust to the Holy Spirit the works of the first session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 2023) of the Roman Catholic Church.

In the Work Document for the Synod, we find the following words: “On the path we have travelled, this aspect of synodality emerges with particular strength in relation to other Churches and ecclesial Communities, to which we are united by the bond of one Baptism.” (IL 24)

This suggestion of a service order follows closely the prayer vigil planned for 30 September 2023 on St. Peter’s Square in the presence of Pope Francis, Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Justin Welby and the leaders and representatives of many Churches.


Sharing the same songs and Bible readings as we pray in many different places is a very strong sign of communion. You can of course adapt the songs to include ones known in your locality, but try to maintain a meditative and reflective nature for the prayer. Set up a simple prayer space including if possible an icon of the cross (the cross of San Damiano for example), a Bible placed in a prominent position and greenery and flowers to enhance the beauty of the place.

Can you invite leaders of your local Churches to come together for this prayer vigil, as well as members of their congregations?


Four expressions of gratitude, lasting no more than one hour in total, interspersed with songs, for the gifts that God gives us and our responsibility for them, can make up the first part of the vigil.


A young person: This evening (adjust according to the time and date of your vigil) in St. Peter’s Square, brothers and sisters in Christ are gathering together from all walks of life and from around the world. They are members of the Synod, youth participating in the “Together” gathering, leaders and delegates from different Churches and Christian communions. We too are meeting here today in communion with many others throughout the world.

Pilgrims of faith, we are delighted to journey and pray together. We are also in communion with many Christians praying with us in their local communities. As we renew our desire and commitment to journey together towards unity, our hearts are filled with gratitude for the gifts God has given us along the synodal path we have walked since October 2021.

In a special way we want to entrust to the Holy Spirit the Assembly members who will be gathered in prayer for three days in preparation for the official opening of the XVI Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on 4 October.


We will begin our vigil with four expressions of gratitude, interspersed with songs, for the gifts that God gives us and our responsibility for them.

1 Gratitude for the gift of unity and for the synodal journey

Young people can give a testimony of their experience of unity among Christians during this past time and also of the synodal journey

Idea: invite a choir from one of your local churches to sing a song or hymn


2 Gratitude for the gift of the other

‘Enlarging the space of the tent’ means that those who seem to be on the edges of our societies or of the Church can be heard and valued. As we walk together and join our voices in prayer, we want to affirm our hope that all God’s people will one day come together as one. By inviting us to welcome in our hearts those who are on the margins of society, the synodal journey means leaving no-one behind.

Idea: who could you invite to act out the parable of the Good Samaritan?


3 Gratitude for the gift of peace

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God”. (Mt 5:9)

As you listen to this word, invite young people who because of war, internal displacement or other reasons have had to leave their homes to share briefly their experience.

At the end, pray the final prayer of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Fratelli tutti

“Come, Holy Spirit!

Show us your beauty reflected in all the peoples of the earth

for discover that everyone is important,

that all are necessary, that they are different faces

of same humanity loved by God. Amen.”

Idea: Sing the Canticle of Creation of St Francis


4 Gratitude for the gift of the Creation

Every year, our Christian churches celebrate the gift of creation during the Time of Creation that takes place right now, from 1 September to 4 October. What gesture, testimonies or symbols can you find to illustrate thanksgiving for the gift of creation, whilst at the same time expressing the call to care for creation?

Idea: A symbolic “river” (a banner several metres long) is carried together by those present bearing this year’s symbol for the Season of Creation, inspired by Amos 5:24: a river flowing as a sign of our common work for justice and peace with all creatures and among ourselves.


At the end of each of the four expressions, while the choir sings, young people could place various symbols related to the theme near to a cross.


The prayer vigil

Introductory song: Adsumus Sancte Spiritus.

Opening blessing by the presiding priest or minister

+ In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit


Everyone reads the Adsumus prayer 

We stand before You, Holy Spirit,

as we gather together in Your name.

With You alone to guide us,

make Yourself at home in our hearts;

Teach us the way we must go

and how we are to pursue it.

We are weak and sinful;

do not let us promote disorder.

Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path

nor partiality influence our actions.

Let us find in You our unity

so that we may journey together to eternal life

and not stray from the way of truth

and what is right.

All this we ask of You,

who are at work in every place and time,

in the communion of the Father and the Son,

forever and ever. Amen.


First reading: Ephesians 4:1-7

Verses of Psalm 104 (suggested verses: 3-4a, 24, 27-28, 30-31) sung by soloists or said by the congregation, interspersed with the refrain Alleluia 11 sung by all.

Gospel reading: Matthew 5:1-12

Alleluia 11 sung between short readings of the verse Matthew 5.3 in the different languages of those represented in the assembly

Song: Dona la pace, Signore

Silence of 8 minutes introduced with the words: “During this time of silence, let us remain before the Lord who is present and unites us”

You might also like to suggest that during the silence each person listens in their heart to the Beatitude from the Matthew reading that speaks most to them in their life.


Prayers of Intercession

For each intercession, an introductory sentence is read by a Church leader, followed by the prayer intention read by a young person. Kyrie 13 is sung between each intercession.

Kyrie eleison

  1. Leader – Christ Jesus, look upon your family. We entrust all your disciples to you, that they may continually grow as peacemakers.

Young person – For all who suffer from violence and war in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Haiti, Nicaragua, Congo, Syria, Sudan, Ethiopia and in many other places around the world. For those who persevere, wherever they live, in the service of justice and reconciliation, we pray to you!

– Kyrie eleison


  1. Leader – Christ Jesus, look upon your family gathered here. We implore you: keep us close to one another, in a spirit of listening and unity!

Young person – For the leaders of all our Churches and Christian communities, may they be ever more committed to promoting the visible unity of all who follow you. May they build bridges of dialogue and friendship with believers of different religions. We pray to you!

Kyrie eleison


  1. Leader – Christ Jesus, look upon your family. We entrust to you all those whose trust has been wounded.

Young person – For those who doubt, for minorities and those who suffer from being isolated, for the victims of contempt and all forms of segregation, we pray to you!

Kyrie eleison


  1. Leader – Christ Jesus, look upon your family. We implore you to come to satisfy the longing of those who hunger and thirst for justice.

Young person – For all those who leave their land in the hope of a good and dignified life, for refugees, for immigrants and those who receive them, we pray to you!

Kyrie eleison


  1. Leader – Christ Jesus, look upon your family. We implore you, because you have entrusted the planet to us as a gift.

Young person –  For the victims of climate change and pollution, for those who work to safeguard biodiversity and the creation, for those who strive to keep the earth habitable for all living things, we pray to you!

Kyrie eleison


  1. Leader – Christ Jesus, look upon your family. We thank you for inviting us to follow you with our lives.

Young person – Give us a humble heart that listens to others. We entrust to you the work of the General Assembly of the Synod. For the members of the assembly and for the fraternal delegates of the Christian Churches who participate in it, who are about to leave for a 3-day spiritual retreat, we pray to you!

Kyrie eleison


  1. Leader – Christ Jesus, look upon your family. We entrust to you all those you welcome into the Kingdom because they are mistreated and persecuted.

Young person – For the victims of violence, harassment and abuse, in the Church and in society, for those who accompany them on a path of healing, justice and freedom, we pray to you!

Kyrie eleison


  1. Leader – Jesus Christ, look upon your family. We entrust to you all those whom you nourish and strengthen with your Word of life.

Young person – For catechists, committed lay people, the brothers and sisters of religious communities and all the pastors of your Church that, in your footsteps, they may become increasingly servants of communion, we pray to you!

Kyrie eleison


Song: Bénissez le Seigneur (Canticle of Daniel)

Prayer: Each person prays the Our Father in their own language

Song: Magnificat III

Short meditation given by one of the Church leaders present

Concluding prayer by the Church leaders present

Church leaders:

God our Father, we thank you for all your gifts, especially the gift of marvelling at your creation. Allow us to care for it and to walk together as brothers and sisters in peace!

Assembly: Amen!

Church leaders:

Jesus, the Christ, we thank you for giving your life right up to the cross. By your Resurrection, you are the source of abundant life. May we welcome you and follow you in the service of others!

Assembly: Amen!

Church leaders:

Holy Spirit, breath of Pentecost, you send us to proclaim Christ and to welcome into our communities those who do not yet know him. Come down, we pray, upon the participants of the Synod and upon all who are present, filling them with your wisdom and courage in order to be servants of communion and bold witnesses of your forgiveness in today’s world!

Assembly: Amen!

The Christian leaders give the blessing together.

Song Adoramus te, O Christe, the Church leaders pray for a moment before the cross to express that Christ unites us through the gift of his life.

Song: Tu sei sorgente viva to invoke the Holy Spirit on the Synod participants


All who wish go up to pray around the cross and entrust to Christ both their own burdens and situations of suffering in the world. The singing continues.