Daily prayer online

Latest Space #09

Greetings of Peace and Joy from your Editor, Fr. Gerry. As we come close to Christmas and the New Year, I am putting together this issue of Latest Space with the hope that it will help to bring you up to date on the many ways God has blessed us in Sacred Space over the past few months. And may the same Lord continue to bless you and yours with many gifts from above at Christmas and in the New Year.
The “Chapel of Remembrance”

During the month of November, many members of our Sacred Space community availed themselves of the opportunity afforded not only to submit names, but also to visit the “Chapel of Remembrance” and pray for their beloved dead. The total number of people that submitted names was 1,897 and they were from some 60 different countries. The total number of deceased persons for whom prayers were requested is a little more difficult to ascertain, since a few people wanted prayers for the deceased members of their family. However, the number would be in the area of 7,500.

It was interesting to note that more than half of those who submitted names – 1,032 to be exact – were from the USA. Next with 209 persons was the UK (including England, Scotland and Wales), followed by Canada (158), Ireland (149), the Philippines (90) and Australia (80). The other some 50 countries were represented by less than 20 persons who submitted names.

But more encouraging than the response in numbers was the feedback received from those who used this opportunity to pray for their dead. Some of this has already appeared on our feedback page, but here is a summary.

From Paris: I am an invalid living in France and I would so like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to ‘visit’ my loved ones on your Remembrance Chapel page. I will never be able to pray on their tombs in Ireland anymore but thanks to Sacred Space I can pay them a ‘visit’ and pray for them every day! Thanks, too, for the weekly Masses which they (R.I.P.) would have really appreciated.

From Australia: After my father entered eternal life on All Souls day, I placed him in your Book of Remembrance. My family and I thank you for the opportunity to place before God our loved one by Masses and prayers. My mother, his wife and companion for 68 years, is especially grateful.

From Canada: Thank you for the Chapel of Remembrance. I scroll through the names each time I visit Sacred Space, and pray for all of them. What a wonderful work you do, to be part of so many lives in so many countries.

From the USA: …..It was my dad’s wishes to be cremated and his ashes scattered over his beloved mountain tops in Gunnison, Colorado. We respected his wishes, but I….have nowhere to go to visit him. Now I do. And when I saw his name, I just touched the screen and cried. And I felt so grateful for this gift of the Chapel of Remembrance. Now he exists…his name is there…he is more than dust in the wind.
There were also some letters expressing regret that the “Chapel of Remembrance” was no longer available after November. But since it was introduced for “the month of the faithful departed”, it was decided to limit it to November. If there are other suggestions and there is such a demand, we could set up a similar “chapel” for other intentions.

The Day of Retreat

Fr. Leon has been working on the plans for a day of quiet prayer and meditation at Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Dollymount, Dublin, on Sat. February 28, 2004, beginning at 10 a.m., and finishing at 4.30 p.m. As of Monday, November 3, we have had a link button on the endpage of our website, which offers an application form for the retreat. There are still spaces available. We encourage you to sign up as soon as possible.

In the beginning there will be a time for getting acquainted with the place, the people, and the plan for the day. Then, in an atmosphere of silence, the day will be divided between times of preparation for prayer, prayer itself, and reflection on each one’s personal experience of prayer. There will be time alone and time together. At the end of the day, there will be Mass for those who wish to participate.

For those who cannot be present physically in Manresa, we hope to have in Sacred Space a “Retreat Chapel”, where those who so wish may be united with those making the retreat in Manresa, and be with them in their “walk with the Lord”. Watch out for a “link” to enter the Retreat Chapel.

The Response to “Support Sacred Space” Letter

As most of our readers will be aware, on November 18, Garry sent out a letter to those on our mailing list in which the following words were included:

“As 2004 approaches, we are looking to the next five years and want to ensure that Sacred Space will be as rich and fruitful a space for thousands of others as it has been for you. Put simply, we are asking for your help.

“As you know, there is no charge for visiting Sacred Space; we do not have advertisements, nor do we have any commercial support. We are a non-profit group. That makes us totally dependent on you, the Sacred Space visitor, to contribute so that we can continue this excellent service. We are grateful to those who have so far contributed generously…..

“It is not easy for us to ask for financial help, but we throw ourselves upon the goodwill of you, our visitors, and on God’s fatherly care. We trust, too, that you will continue to support us in prayer, so that we will have the resources and the inspiration that we need to continue this ministry…..”

The response has been very encouraging, not only in the financial sum that was sent in from all over the world (within three weeks, we had passed the 10,000 euro mark) but especially in the feedback received in letters. These two examples appeared on our FEEDBACK page:

“I have sent a donation and hope it will help. Please don’t hesitate to let us know when assistance is needed. You and your colleagues give us far more than we could hope to repay by mere financial means.” And “You can always ask us for help; it’s our pleasure giving what we can for your wonderful work.”
Some “Stats”

November this year was a good month for working out some statistics. It was a month of 30 days, 20 weekdays, and 10 weekend days. When the number on the counter of visitors was noted each morning, it was easy with division by 3, 2, and 1, to work out averages for the month, for weekdays and for the days of the weekend. This was the result.

During the whole month we had 262,886 visitors, averaging 8,766 per day.

On weekdays, we had 198,084 visitors, averaging 9,904 on a weekday.

On weekends, we had 64,802 visitors; averaging 6,408 on Saturday and Sunday.

Other News

Sacred Space in Chinese

On December 12, we received word from the Ignatian Spirituality Centre in Taiwan that the Chinese version of Sacred Space will be on line from January 2004. The text will be shown in traditional Chinese characters, without simplified characters. There will be a link from the opening page of , but it can also be accessed by logging on to May the many many millions of Chinese be blessed as they pray in Sacred Space.

Sacred Space – A Case Study

Many of our readers will remember Roisín Pye, who served on the Sacred Space team until the summer of 2002. She is presently studying in Edinburgh for a Master’s degree in Media and Theology. Using Sacred Space as a case study she submitted this December an essay entitled, “Towards an understanind of online religious communities”. She sent us a copy, with permission to quote as we thought fit. The whole essay is very interesting, but her “conclusion”, which we quote below, may stimulate further reflections and suggestions from the members of our Sacred Space community.

She writes in her conclusion as follows: “When looking at community online then, a number of aspects emerge. Strength of ties between people, a shared vision or meaning, a willingness to be honest and generous with time; these and more are common traits of communities formed around religious web-sites or discussion groups. These traits can be seen to greater or lesser extents in the myriad of sites and communities that exist online, and Sacred Space is a case where these traits can be seen in a limited way. There are many questions still unanswered as to the potential for community interaction and development online. For example, what is the potential for Sacred Space? What transformations would occur if the team introduced some type of interpersonal communication between the users? How would that transform people’s experience of the site? From the research looked at above, it could have positive effects for lots of people, for an extra depth in their lives of community and relationship. And in relation to the myriad of religious sites online, how far can these sites be developed? To what extent can these characteristics of community be pushed? Will using video technology while we communicate bring us closer together in years to come? In what way does the existence of online community challenge the sense of community in offline occasions of worship? Campbell talks about the experience of gathering together, in the real world, for worship in a church. Despite the gathering into a worshipping community, “individual members and visitors often enter alone, sit alone, leave alone.” People can experience a sense of isolation in a church despite being surrounded by a believing community; this is challenged by the sense of togetherness and sharing that can be seen in online communities, despite each user sitting on their own in front of the screen. What will the church’s response be? Can church leaders learn from this form of communication for offline worship? Can they be “critical friends” and explore the possibilities this medium offers the believing community? The key question out of all these questions, it seems to me, is whether the traits we have seen in online communities are enough for a definition of community that would sit well with the church’s self-understanding as community. However, I think there is still much more research to be done into this medium before we can answer that question satisfactorily.”

Sacred Space – A Printer Friendly Version

You may have noted on the page that gives the visitor the relevant days from which they can choose, there is now not only a choice between “full version” and “basic version” but also you may have a “printer friendly version”. This is for those who wish to print out the “prayer of the day” and take it along with them. Our Webmaster offers this possibility in response to letters from visitors. If you have any suggestions as to how it might be improved, please do not hesitate to contact [email protected]

Spreading the Word

When considering New Year resolutions, here are some suggestions as to how you might help in spreading the “good news” about Sacred Space.

  • Check the website of your local diocese, parish, or other similar organization – do they have a link to Sacred Space? If not, why not recommend a link?
  • Do any friends have homepages? Ask them to include a link to Sacred Space.
  • Has your local newspaper (diocesan or otherwise) featured an article on Sacred Space? Would they be interested? If so, do not hesitate to suggest one. You may even put them in touch with us, and we will cooperate as best we can.
A Christmas Poem
Christmas is upon us,

we celebrate with joy;

we hear the sound of gifts un-

wrapping by a little girl or boy.

Some come assembled while

others are in need of glue.

Gifts come in all shapes and

sizes, even with a card or two.

Pots and pans are busy, many

families share with a guest.

Jesus shares His Birthday and

we are the ones being blest.

One of those blessings is the gift of

Sacred Space where we go to pray,

or give thanks for those blessings

that have indeed come our way.

We join the millions who go there to

share their fears, hopes and dreams.

And the victories they have seen,

prayers answered, it would seem.

As we look forward to another year,

counting blessings, one by one;

Sacred Space is to be remembered,

a precious gift from Jesus to each and everyone.

– Written November, 2003 for Latest Space
by Frances Berumen, Oxnard, California, USA

A Christmas Letter

Dear Friend of Sacred Space,

We will all be taking a well-earned rest during the Christmas holidays soon. So I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and prayers throughout the year. The fact that so many people use Sacred Space and find some peace there is a constant reminder to us that even our little efforts can make a difference in the lives of others.

There was a tradition in Ireland – it may be in your country too – of putting a candle in the window at Christmas time to let the Holy Family know that there’s room for them in that household. It’s not just a sentimental or pious gesture, it also tells the wearisome traveller that a Christian family live there and that he or she will be welcomed.

Perhaps we, in our busy lives, have lost the art of welcome? Certainly I know nobody who puts a candle in their window anymore. And yet the message is so much deeper that just old piety. It is that we must look beyond our own lives and concerns and see the equally valid concerns of the other. Whether we’re believers or not, surely that is the message of Christmas.

This, too, has to be part of what we do at Sacred Space. Can the site solely be a place for the individual to pray and then leave? Should we ‘welcome’ the concerns, worries of the other, perhaps pray for their intentions online? Perhaps we should have a special intentions “chapel”, where we could spend a minute praying for the intentions of those weighed down and burdened in their lives? “Come to me all who are overburdened and I will give you rest,” said Jesus. Can we, almost 10,000 of us, who use Sacred Space everyday, help share the load of our brothers and sisters in 2004? In asking you that question, I invite you to respond with your thoughts and ideas to [email protected].

In the meantime, all of the team at Sacred Space – Gerry, Geraldine, Leon, Jae Hong, and myself – would like to wish you all a sacred and peace-filled Christmas.

Garry O’Sullivan,


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