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Assumption Church

Celebrating our 78th Anniversary
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Ask Father Pedro

 

Why do Catholics pray to the saints?  Is this in the Bible?

 

In English “to pray to” could mean “to worship" or "adore". In this sense, Catholics only pray to God. But the verb could also mean, “to earnestly beg or ask somebody for a favour”. Used in this meaning, Catholics do pray to the saints to intercede for them before God.

 

Interceding in prayers is found throughout the Bible. To cite a few: Abraham bargained with God for the people of Sodom (Gen. 19: 16-33); Moses pleaded with God to spare the Israelites (Ex. 32: 31-34); St. Paul expresses his simple, own and personal confidence in the power of intercessory prayers when he says, “Your prayer for us will contribute to this, so that, for God's favour shown to us as the result of the prayers of so many.” (2 Cor. 1: 11). Jesus himself shows us the example when he tells Simon Peter, “I have prayed for you” (Luke 22:32).

 

But does the Bible tell us that dead can pray for us? In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man intercedes for his brothers. Jesus himself discussing the issue of the resurrection, refers to the dead as living before God (Matthew 22: 32) and therefore are capable of communicating with God. As Catholics, we believe that those who have died still remain members of the Church and retain the most important mark of any follower of Jesus, i.e. the capacity to love and care for the other members of the Mystical Body of Christ. We express and profess this unity and dynamic relationship with them when we say in our creed that we believe “in the communion of saints”. This is why we, Catholics, pray for the dead and the dead pray for us. We profess this in the Apostles’ Creed as the communion of saints.


 

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