“The Serenity Prayer” is the common name for a prayer written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, born in 1892. Niebuhr, who first wrote the prayer for a sermon at Heath Evangelical Union Church in Heath, Massachusetts, used it widely in sermons as early as 1934 and first published it in 1951 in a magazine column. The prayer spread through Niebuhr’s sermons and church groups in the 1930s and 1940s, and was adopted and popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step programs.
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The Five Sorrowful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on the Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays during Lent. Each details the The Agony in the Garden, The Scourging at the Pillar, The Crowning with Thorns, The Carrying of the Cross, and The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus. In this video, the viewer is guided through all five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, offering a unique way to pray and meditate on Jesus’s journey from the Garden of Gethsemane to the Cross. Join us in prayer as we reflect on Jesus’s sacrifice for all sinners.
The Act of Contrition is part of the Sacrament of Penance and is prayed by the penitent after the priest assigns a penance and before he gives the penitent absolution. It is also customarily said especially before one goes to bed at night. It is generally supposed that individuals might have recourse to an Act of Contrition when they find themselves in extremis.
The prayer expresses in words a deeply personal “act” that engages a person’s affections and will. Catholic teaching holds that “imperfect” contrition, is also a gift of God. Born of fear of eternal damnation or other penalties, it is nonetheless sufficient to inspire a valid Act of Contrition. There are different versions of the Act of Contrition, but all generally include an expression of sorrow, an acknowledgment of wrongdoing and a promise to amend one’s life and avoid sin.
“Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord)” is an American spiritual that was first printed in 1899.
“Were You There” was likely composed by African-American slaves in the 19th century. It was first published in William Eleazar Barton’s 1899 Old Plantation Hymns. In 1940, it was included in the Episcopal Church hymnal, making it the first spiritual to be included in any major American hymnal. As reported in Howard Thurman’s autobiography, the song was one of Mahatma Gandhi’s favorites. The song has been recorded by artists including Marion Williams, Johnny Cash, Phil Keaggy, Max Roach, Diamanda Galás, Harry Belafonte, The Seldom Scene, Diamond Version (with Neil Tennant), Bayard Rustin, and Rajaton.