Did you know the Pope has monthly prayer intentions he asks everyone to join him in praying for? You might have seen a pamphlet or something listing them out a whole year at a time. In fact, it takes over two years to assemble the list. The process looks something like this:
- People from all over the world submit suggestions through different dicasteries (or departments) of the Vatican.
- The Superior General of the Society of Jesus presents a list of suggestions to the Pope.
Fun Fact: The Jesuits established the Apostleship of Prayer – the group that coordinates the whole Pope’s intentions thing – in 1844.
- The Pope reviews the list, making any changes he desires, then sends it back for publication.
- The list is translated into a bunch of different languages (at the least 9 principle languages the Vatican uses for publications.)
- The list is disseminated throughout the Church. (Printed pamphlets, bulletin inserts, website, etc)
- People pray with the Pope!
Two years doesn’t seem so long anymore, huh?
The long process wasn’t that big of a deal back in the 19th century when the whole thing got started, but these days, information moves a lot faster, and these long-planned intentions, while addressing the real needs of the world, can end up being a little general and distant from the right-now needs of the world.
In order to address that, Pope Francis has updated how the process works. Instead of generating a list with two intentions each month (one general, one mission/evangelization related), from January 2017 on, the above process will be used to generate one intention per month. A second intention will be written by the Holy Father in response to current specific needs of the world – disaster relief, current events, etc. – and shared with a much shorter turnaround time than the current process.