Week 8: April 13 – 19
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10
Let us pray for the grace of courage in living as Christ’s witnesses.
Diocese of Bismarck Novena Prayer
Most Holy Father in Heaven,
We pray, through the intercession of
Blesseds John Paul II and John XXIII,
that we would follow their example
by living our Catholic Faith with joy, hope, and confidence.
Grant us the courage to denounce the evils of our time,
including the culture of death, moral relativism,
and all that keeps us from loving You
and sharing the Gospel with our neighbor.
We pray that You, Father, would use us,
the people of the Diocese of Bismarck,
as an instrument of Your love and light to all people.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
“The contemplation of the Cross thus brings us to the very heart of all that has taken place. Jesus, who upon entering into the world said: ‘I have come, O God, to do your will’ (cf. Heb 10:9), made himself obedient to the Father in everything and, ‘having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end’ (Jn 13:1), giving himself completely for them. He who had come ‘not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mk 10:45), attains on the Cross the heights of love: ‘Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (Jn 15:13). And he died for us while we were yet sinners (cf. Rom 5:8). In this way Jesus proclaims that life finds its center, its meaning and its fulfilment when it is given up.
At this point our meditation becomes praise and thanksgiving, and at the same time urges us to imitate Christ and follow in his footsteps (cf. 1 Pt 2:21). We too are called to give our lives for our brothers and sisters, and thus to realize in the fullness of truth the meaning and destiny of our existence. We shall be able to do this because you, O Lord, have given us the example and have bestowed on us the power of your Spirit. We shall be able to do this if every day, with you and like you, we are obedient to the Father and do his will.” 
This excerpt was taken from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae
published on March 25, 1995.
Chaplet of the Divine Mercy