August 20, 2023

Dear Parish Family,

As many students, teachers, and school personnel prepare to return to school over the next couple of weeks, there is always a lot to do. This really is a time for new beginnings! Whether it be new school shoes or a new book bag, as the People of God, everything we do should be marked by prayer. Whether it is preschool, kindergarten, grade school, high school, home school, college, grad school, or trade school; whether we are students, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, teachers, neighbors, friends, or fellow parishioners, we all know someone who is starting the new school year and we can pray for them. Here are some prayers to get us started.

A Student’s Prayer

Help me remember that you’re always by my side at school and all day long. Help me be the best student I can be, using all the gifts and talents you’ve given me. Help me study well and finish all my homework. Help me listen to my teachers and coaches. Help me play fair and safely. Help me be honest when I’m tempted to cheat. Help me always tell the truth. Help me to be kind to everyone at school and to treat others as I’d want them to treat me. Help me make good friends and help me be a good friend to others. Help me love and respect, trust and appreciate my parents and teachers – and to be honest with them. Help me remember that you’re with me always, Lord, and that you’ll never leave my side. Amen.

A Parents’ Prayer for Students

Dear Lord, as my children leave for school, I pray that you will keep them in your care. Send your Spirit to open their minds to all that is true and beautiful and good. Help them to see the gifts and talents you have given them and to use them well. Help them to grow in knowledge and wisdom. Give their teachers patience and understanding and help them teach what is just and true. Send your angels to guide and guard my children and to keep them from all harm. Open their young hearts to your presence and enfold them in your peace and protection. Hold them in the palm of your hand and bring them home safely at day’s end. Amen.

A Teacher’s Prayer

Dear God, a new school year is about to begin and my classroom door will be open to the students you’ve assigned to my care. Open my mind and heart to each of them. Help me challenge my students to study, to learn, to grow in knowledge and wisdom. Help me to understand that sometimes my students may not understand me: may I be clear in the things I say and do, and in how I say and do them. My students don’t know the burdens and worries my heart brings to the classroom, so help me remember, Lord, how anxious and heavy my students’ hearts may be. Let my decisions in the classroom be fair and just, honest and true. Send your Spirit to fill me with gifts of knowledge and understanding, counsel and wisdom. Lord, open my mind and heart to my students’ parents. Help me to teach as you would, Lord. Help me be understanding when I need to be firm, gentle in all things, and patient until the last bell rings. Keep me open to what you will teach me each day. Amen.

A Parents’ Prayer When a Child Leaves Home for College

Gracious God, you blessed me with the gift of my child and entrusted me with his/her care. Now he/she leaves this home and begins a new part of life apart from me. Surround him/her with good people and watch over him/her each day. Let him/her know that I will always be near whenever he/she may need me. Heal any hurts we may harbor with each other and forgive our failings as we learn to be in this new step of our relationship. When the sight of his/her empty room pierces my heart with sadness, may I find comfort in knowing that my child is your child too, filled with your grace and sheltered by your love. Amen.

Love and prayers,  

Father Neil Sullivan