Thanks, Father Phil. Please kneel, stand, sit, or lie down - whichever position you find most comfortable - while I lead us through today's prayers.
First we pray for the Church throughout the world, and in our cycle of prayer today we think particularly of the Kingdom of Bhutan, and its king, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. Although his people are Buddhist, we know that, like us, he is only seeking the Truth, and who are we to say that we know better?
Thanks for the name-check, Tony!
We pray for Pope Francis, Pope Benedict, Archbishop Welby, the Dalai Lama, the Chief Rabbi, the Archmuslim of Canterbury, the Archdruid of Husborne Crawley, and the Supreme Freemason. May they continue to do spiritual things.
Nearer at home, it is the day that we pray for the Diocese of Scunthorpe, and particularly for Bishop Eric Blast-Furnace, that the police will soon drop all charges against him. May he be a worthy pastor of his sheep, and may the Lord help him to leave Mrs Slag alone. Oh sorry, I didn't mean to read that bit out.
Moving on, our cycle of prayer moves us to think of our brothers and sisters in the parish of Little Dreadville, their priest, Fr Nasty, and his pet hamster, Radcliffe, who is unwell. May little Radcliffe soon be turning happily in his wheel, and bring joy to all who behold him. Then, nearer to home, we remember the people living in Slaughterhouse Crescent, especially Mrs O'Ghastly, who is suffering from acute halitosis. May the Lord breathe on her, and may she breathe back without knocking Him over.
St Eormenhild (Ermenilda) of Ely.
Today is of course St Ermenilda of Ely's day, and we join her in our intercessions. Although she does not appear to be the patron saint of anything in particular, simply mentioning Ermenilda of Ely reminds us to pray for all producers and wearers of ermine, all people who risk their lives for us in order to catch or eat eels, and anyone whose name rhymes with Ermenilda. We may wish to say a prayer for all the Hildas and Matildas that we know. In fact we shall be singing "Waltzing Matilda" as our Communion Hymn later.
A producer and wearer of ermine.
We pray for the Royal Family, in particular for Lady Louise Windsor, because we haven't "done" her for several months, and for all Members of Parliament. In our cycle of prayer we think particularly of Mr Nicholas Clegg, and we try not to laugh. O Lord, you have probably read in your Spectator a particularly nasty piece by Damian Thompson, attacking the conductors Dudamel, Gergiev and Rattle for (if you'll excuse me, Lord) political butt-kissing. Soften the heart of Dr Thompson we pray, that from now on all his words may be words of kindness and praise, that they may flow smoothly as the custard floweth in Lebanon.
The Lord recommendeth this for thy health.
We pray for all who try to communicate the word of the Lord, whether they be priests, journalists or humble bloggers. Today we especially remember Brother Bosco of the totally unread "Why all Catholics are damned" blog.
Now we pray for the sick, especially at this time for people suffering from spots in embarrassing places, addictions to toilet-cleaning products, or delusions that they are a teapot. May their spots be healed, their beverage requirements become less potent, and their kettles whistle as they boil in the Lord's Name.
Finally, we commemorate the departed, especially our own great-great-aunts, whether known to us or not. We also remember any whose anniversaries fall at this time, especially King Béla II of Hungary, Richard Wagner, and Mr Ronald Pickering of the BBC. In the words of Mr Pickering, "Away you go!"
Finally a moment for silent prayer, in which we bring our own needs to the Lord. No matter how complex our problems, and difficult our situation, He is ready to listen to us. One. Two. Three. That's enough silent prayer.
Lord in Your Mercy, grant these our prayers, and help us to have a Nice Day. Amen.
Thanks, Tony. That was great!