Author and St. Augustine’s Seminary associate professor Dr. Josephine Lombardi. Photo from St. Augustine’s Seminary

'Symphony of Prayer' preparation for Jubilee

  • March 30, 2024

Dr. Josephine Lombardi is orchestrating “A Great Symphony of Prayer” to help Catholics meaningfully observe the Year of Prayer leading up to the 2025 “Pilgrims of Hope” Jubilee declared by Pope Francis.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad hoc Committee for the Preparation for the Jubilee 2025 commissioned this eight-part webinar series, featuring four Lombardi presentations in April and four in October.

The award-winning academic and author,  an associate professor of systematic and Pastoral Theology at Toronto’s St. Augustine’s Seminary, was tapped for this assignment when the CCCB learned she revised and updated her book on The Lord’s Prayer, On Earth as it is in Heaven, especially for the Jubilee. Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who wrote the foreword to Lombardi’s book, called for the Church to make the Our Father “the life program of each of His disciples.”

All four sessions, hosted on April 2, 9, 23 and 30 from 1 to 2:30 p.m., are devoted to a deeper study of The Lord’s Prayer. Each webinar will feature a 60-minute slideshow and approximately half an hour of Q&A discussion.

“My hope is that it will deepen (viewers) appreciation of the power of The Lord’s Prayer and how the order in which the petitions appear is not arbitrary,” said Lombardi. “In the first few sessions, we will cover the first half of the Our Father and the last two, the second half. We need to know, love and honour God before we’re open to doing God’s will, and how receiving daily bread strengthens us to deal with the challenges of human relationships, the need for forgiveness and the discipline to resist temptation and evil.”

Ideally, Lombardi would like to see participants in the webinar no longer “take this prayer” for granted and instead meditate upon the importance of each petition.

During the April 30 webinar, “Managing Trials and Resisting Evil,” Lombardi will discuss how the Gospel of Matthew’s account (Matthew 6: 9-13) of Jesus teaching His disciples this prayer ends with “deliver us from the evil one” instead of “deliver us from evil.” The prayer voiced during Sunday liturgical services is the English interpretation of St. Jerome’s Latin translation of the Biblical text.

Matthew’s Gospel is not the only Biblical mention of “the evil one.” 1: John 5:19 declared, “We know that we are God’s children, and that the whole world lies under the power of the evil one.” The Register asked Lombardi if Catholics are mindful enough about the enormity of “the evil one’s” sway on Earth.

“I think it’s true to Catholic teaching that we avoid two extremes,” said Lombardi.

One extreme is that there is no evil being, Satan, which literally means adversary, and instead, we blame everything on human activity. The other extreme is that we blame everything on Satan or the devil.

“Jesus is very clear in His teaching that there exists this evil being, Satan, who is the adversary, while the Holy Spirit is the advocate. The Holy Spirit is the power of God’s love and the spirit of truth. We are in this battle to discern the truth amid all this chaos and disorder. Sadly, when you live in a culture of fear, your ability to reason is greatly diminished, which makes it harder to see the truth.”

Lombardi’s Autumn series will concentrate on other devotions Catholics cherish. One session delves into the Rosary, specifically helping spectators “connect the mysteries of our faith to their day-to-day reality.” Another examines the power of praying with the saints, using St. Teresa of Avila as a case study. The third session focuses on the prayers Jesus spoken in John’s Gospel (John 17) before His arrest. The final webinar explores the impact of the Lectio Divina.

Visit to enroll in “A Great Symphony of Prayer.”

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