Resources for Action and Prayer - Catholic Rural Life

Resources for Action and Prayer

The following resources are designed to help parishes and faith groups put on a rightful spirit while trying to understand and act against hunger and poverty in the world today. Here you will find additional scriptural passages and suggestions for liturgy and prayer, as well as blessings for special occasions.

Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving from Scripture

Ps 8
Ps 65
Ps 104
Ps 146
Ps 147
Jn 1:1-5
Rev 21:1-4
The Majesty of God and the Dignity of Man
Thanksgiving for God’s Blessings
Praise of God the Creator
Trust in God Alone
Zion’s Grateful Praise to Her Bountiful Lord
In the Beginning was the Word
New Heavens and New Earth

Special Occasions for Prayers and Blessings

January 1 World Day of Peace
Season of Lent Focus on the poor and malnourished
April 25 Rogation Days (and/or three days before the Solemnity of the Ascension)
May 15 St. Isidore the Farmer
June 5 World Environment Day
August 15 Blessing of Produce
October 4 St. Francis of Assisi
October 16 World Food Day
Thursday before Thanksgiving Fast for World Harvest
Season of Advent Focus on the poor or malnourished in preparation for Christmas


Prayers for Peace and Justice: Ps 85
An Invitation to Grace: Isaiah 55
The World Renewed: Isaiah 65:17-25
Danger of Prosperity: Dt 8:6-20 • 1 Tm 6:6-11 • Lk 12:15-21
The Land Is God’s / Restoration of Property: Lv 25:23-28

Blessing for the Products of Human Labor

(Reprinted from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, 323.)

Almighty and ever-living God,
you have made us stewards over the created world,
so that in all things we might honor the demands of charity.
Graciously hear our prayers,
that your blessing may come upon all those
who use these objects for their needs.
Let them always see you as the good surpassing every good
and love their neighbor with upright hearts.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Blessing of Produce

(Reprinted from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, 170-173.)

On August 15, or another appropriate day, the produce of fields, gardens, and orchards may be blessed. Those who take part should assemble in an appropriate place around the grains, fruits, and vegetables to be blessed.

All make the sign of the cross. The leader begins:
Let us ever praise and extol God’s all-embracing providence,
who gives us food from the fruits of the earth. Blessed be God forever.

All respond: Blessed be God forever.

The leader may use these or similar words to introduce the blessing:
The Lord has bestowed the fruits of the earth for the benefit of all of the world’s people. May we share with all in need and so be good stewards of God’s earth and its abundance. We remember the words Mary speaks in the gospel story of the visitation: “The hungry he has filled with good things.”

Then the Scripture is read:
Listen to the words of the prophet Joel:
Fear not, O land! Exalt and rejoice!
for the LORD has done great things.
Fear not, beasts of the field!
for the pastures of the plain are green;
The tree bears its fruit,
the fig tree and the vine give their yield.
And do you, O children of Zion,
exult and rejoice in the LORD, your God!
He has given you the teacher of justice:
He has made the rain come down for you,
the early and the late rain as before.
The threshing floors shall be full of grain
and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
You shall eat and be filled,
and shall praise the name of the LORD, your God,
Because he has dealt wondrously with you. . . .
Jl 2:21-24, 26

The reader concludes: This is the Word of the Lord.
All respond: Thanks be to God.

After a time of silence, all join in prayers of intercession. The following petitions may be included:
That the rights and needs of all may be recognized and provided:
we pray to the Lord.
That all may be fed and none go hungry:
we pray to the Lord.
That all may have life and have its fullness:
we pray to the Lord.
That we may give thanks not only with our lips but in our lives:
we pray to the Lord.
That God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven:
we pray to the Lord.

After the Lord’s Prayer, the leader may invite all to extend their hands in blessing:
All-powerful God, we appeal to your tender care
that even as you temper the winds and rains
to nurture the fruits of the earth
you will also send upon them the gentle shower of your blessing.
Fill the hearts of your people with gratitude,
that from the earth’s fertility
the hungry may be filled with good things
and the poor and needy proclaim the glory of your name.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

All make the sign of the cross as the leader concludes:
Let us bless God, forever let us praise and extol the name
of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

The blessing may conclude with an appropriate song.

Litany for the End of Hunger and Deprivation

Leader: Let us pray for the poor, hungry, and neglected all over the world, that their cries for daily bread may inspire works of compassion and mercy among those to whom much has been given.
People: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Let us pray for the farmers with limited or marginal land throughout the world, for those who lack access to water and other resources, and for the light of research and support services to shine in the lives of all God’s people.
People: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Let us pray for an end to the divisions and inequalities that scar God’s creation, particularly the barriers to freedom faced by God’s children throughout the world because of gender; that all who have been formed in God’s image might have equality in pursuit of the blessings of creation.
People: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Let us pray for the health of women, children, and families around the world, especially for an end to maternal and child mortality, that in building healthy families, all God’s people may be empowered to strengthen their communities and repair the breaches which divide nations and peoples.
People: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Let us pray for an end to pandemic disease throughout the world, particularly those exacerbated by lack of nutritious food and outright hunger; that plagues of death may no longer fuel poverty, destabilize nations, and inhibit reconciliation and restoration throughout the world.
People: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Let us pray for an end to the waste and desecration of God’s creation, for access to the fruits of creation to be shared equally among all people, and for communities and nations to find sustenance in the fruits of the earth and the water God has given us.
People: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Let us pray for all nations and people who already enjoy the abundance of creation and the blessings of prosperity, that their hearts may be lifted up to the needs of the poor and afflicted, and partnerships between rich and poor for the reconciliation of the world may flourish and grow.
People: Lord, hear our prayer.

Litany on Food for the Future

Leader: Lord, give us this day our daily bread.
People: We will extol you, our God and King.

Leader: Let your mercy rest upon the seed time and harvest.
People: We praise you and thank you for early rain and late rain and for a bountiful harvest.

Leader: Almighty God, we thank you for the gift of the many varieties of seed that produce our food supply.
People: For this we give thanks, Lord.

Leader: Heavenly Father, we thank you for making the earth that produces what is needed for life. Bless those who work the fields and grant that we may all share in your goodness.
People: Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised.

Leader: Lord, give all our congregations and social service organizations wisdom and knowledge as they minister to the needs of the hungry and dispossessed.
People: The Lord is good to all.

Leader: Heavenly Father, bless those in authority who strive to end world hunger through various international relief organizations.
People: Lord, the eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.

Leader: We are one human family, created by God, needing the same creature comforts to sustain a life of dignity. The most basic of those creature comforts is food. If the world as we know it is to have a future, it must have food for all.
People: Thank you for giving us this day our daily bread. Amen.

Blessing for the Products of Nature

(Reprinted from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, 323.)

Blessed are you, O God,
Creator of the universe,
who have made all things good
and given the earth for us to cultivate.
Grant that we may always use created things gratefully
and share your gift with those in need,
out of the love of Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you for ever and ever.
R. Amen

Give us this day our daily bread.

God our Creator, All good gifts of the earth come from Your generous hands.
Yet, this abundance is not shared equally among us.
While some are satisfied, others are go hungry.
Too many women around the world are desperate to feed and care for their children;
Yet they are underserved or passed over or exploited.
If only we would be mindful that each and every one of us must pray in earnest:
Give us this day OUR daily bread.
Then we will do much more than feed our individual selves. Amen.

Additional Biblical Passages:

Genesis 1:29-30 God gives the world’s food
Exodus 3:7-12 Moses asked to go to Pharaoh
Exodus 16:1-12 The manna lifestyle-economics of enough
Leviticus 19:9-11 The law of gleaning-leave food for the poor
Deut. 10:17-19 God executes justice
Deut. 14:28-15:11 The law of tithe helps the poor;
2 Kings 4:42-44 Feeding the 100
Psalm 72:1-14 How to pray for a just government
Psalm 82 Justice to the weak and destitute
Psalm 140:12-13 God maintains the cause of the needy
Psalm 146:5-9 God is just and feeds the hungry
Proverbs 14:20-21 Happy are those who are kind to the poor
Proverbs 19:17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord
Proverbs 21:13 Listen to the cry of the poor
Isaiah 1:16-18 Seek justice – correct oppression
Isaiah 3:13-15 Why do you grind the face of the poor?
Isaiah 5:1-7 I expected justice but found bloodshed
Isaiah 10:1-4 God’s anger at unjust government
Isaiah 58:1-12 The fast that I choose
Jeremiah 22:13-16 To do justice is to know the Lord
Lamentations 4:9 It is better to die by the sword than by hunger
Ezekiel 16:49 Sodom was guilty of neglect of the poor
Ezekiel 34:16-22 God will judge between the fat and lean sheep
Amos 5:10-24 Let justice roll down like waters
Amos 8:4-7 God will not forget those who trample on the needy
Micah 6:8 Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly
Matt. 6:25-34 Seek first the kingdom of God and righteousness
Matthew 14:14-21 Feeding the multitude (also Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:1-14)
Matt. 23:23 You have neglected justice, mercy and faith
Matt. 25:31-46 I was hungry and you gave me food
Mark 8:1-9 Feeding the 4,000
Luke 1:46-55 Mary’s magnificat-He has filled the hungry with good things
Luke 6:20-26 Blessed are you who are poor
Luke 10:25-37 The story of the good Samaritan
Luke 12:15 Watch out for all kinds of greed
Luke 12:35-48 To whom much is given, much is required
Luke 14:12-14 Invite the poor to your dinner
Luke 16: 19-31 The story of the rich man and Lazarus
Luke 18:18-30 Give to the poor
Luke 19:1-10 Zacchaeus’ radical generosity
John 13:1-20 Jesus washing disciples’ feet
Acts 2:42-47 Sharing in the early church
Acts 6:1-7 Dispute over the distribution of food
1 Cor. 11:17-34 Selfishness in the Christian community
1 Cor. 16:1-2 Put aside for the needy each Sunday
2 Cor. 8:12-15 A balance between need and abundance
2 Cor. 9:6-15 God loves a cheerful giver
Galatians 2:10 Remember the poor
1 Tim. 6:17-19 The wealthy are to be generous
James 2:1-7 God’s bias toward the poor
James 2:14-17 Faith without works is dead
1 John 3:17-18 Love in truth and action, not just word
1 John 4:19-21 Loving God means loving neighbor

[Credit: A Bible Study on Hunger, Society of St. Andrew, 2009]


To learn what others are doing to end hunger and poverty, visit the websites of these organizations:

Bread for The World
Church World Service
ELCA World Hunger Program
United Methodist Committee on Relief

National Council of Churches
Society of St. Andrew
Mennonite Central Committee
United Methodist Church

America’s Second Harvest
Souper Bowl of Caring
Foods Resource Bank
Hunger No More

World Food Day
Food First
NYC Food Systems Network resource list
Community Food Security Coalition

WHY Food Security Learning Center
Heifer Project International
The Earth Institute

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