Hartford Parish Begins Praying Over the News

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HARTFORD, Conn. — With more than 100 shootings and other forms of violence in Connecticut’s capital city this year, St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church here found a way to help people deal with the bad news that fills the airways.

The parish recently started a Praying the News group. Meeting on Tuesdays at 7 p.m., the group members read the newspapers, discuss events of the day, meditate, and pray together.

“We cannot change the news, but we can change ourselves,” said Melina Rudman, director of Servant Leadership at St. Patrick-St. Anthony’s Servant Leadership School. “At least for me, it’s about becoming less frightened and discouraged.”

With seven people at a recent gathering, Rudman helped participants process local and world events, including the devastation in Myanmar and the war in Iraq.

The group was recently written up in the Hartford Courant in an article by Anne VanderMey.

The idea for Praying the News was developed by the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Indianapolis. Under the direction of new pastor Thomas Gallagher, OFM, St. Patrick-St. Anthony adapted the program with the Carmelite Sisters’ blessing. The program, which runs until Aug. 26, is open to anyone, regardless of faith background.

In recent meetings, the Praying the News group discussed the severe June beating of Hartford’s former deputy mayor and anti-poverty leader. It also discussed civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

Rudman noted in the July 15 issue of the Hartford Courant: “The sessions are not intended to lessen outrage over these incidents. If anything, people said the meetings leave them with a heightened sensitivity to current events.”

“We are hoping that folks will be interested enough in the topic to enable the program to continue past the official conclusion date,” Rudman said, adding that if other Holy Name Province parishes are interested in Praying the News, she is available to offer guidance in setting up the program.

In photo above: Participants in a recent “Pray the News” session, from left, Francesca Lawson, Maria Roja, Pat Barry and Melina Rudman, chat after the hour-long meeting at the Franciscan Center for Urban Ministry in Hartford. (Photo: Kim Walker / Hartford Courant / July 9, 2008)

Those interested in the program can call Rudman at 860-202-8203.