Daily prayer online

Latest Space #15

Dear Friends of Sacred Space,

Greetings from the Sacred Space Team at the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin. Before I write anything else, I want to tell you about a change that we intend to make with our Latest Space mailing list. We have been using, for the most part, a list that has been created when we responded to letters that have come to us since Sacred Space was launched in Lent, 1999. For good reasons, we have decided that it would be better to send Latest Space to those only who express a desire to continue receiving it by e-mail. We will continue to make each issue available online, with a link at the end of the daily prayer, and the links at the end of the current issue to all previous issues. If you wish to continue receiving Latest Space by e-mail, make sure that you are still online, click on the link, then enter your e-mail address and submit.

Now to other announcements! Since the last issue of Latest Space, Patricia Coyle has taken office as Communications Manager. We welcomed her appointment in our last issue, but she did not actually join us till the end of April. I have invited her to introduce herself in this issue below. I would like to say a word here about those in Dublin who collaborate with Pat and myself to form the Sacred Space Team. Jae Hong Cheon, who hails from Korea, continues as our webmaster, a role which includes, among many other tasks, the responsibility of forwarding the material to our translators all over the world, so that they can have it online on the specified date. Though not with us here in Dublin, these translators, too, are among our faithful collaborators.

Paul Andrews, S.J. contributes the “Thought for the Week” and the daily “Need Inspiration?” points of Sacred Space. Frank Doyle, S.J. in Living Space offers Scripture Reflections on the liturgical readings for the Sundays and weekdays of the year. Some of our readers may remember that Dermot Roantree was introduced in Latest Space #6 as Editor of Catholic Ireland, a site which developed from the Jesuit Communication Centre, and which offers, among many other things, a “prayer site for kids” ( We are happy to welcome Dermot back to the JCC. He will use his gifts and experience in the further development of Sacred Space. Finally, I would like to introduce the latest addition to our Team, John Callanan, S.J. He will help us by adding some more variety to the “prayer guides” and “prayer advices” offered in Sacred Space. John is Chaplain at University College, Dublin, and has written a number of books on the meditation exercises of the late Fr. Tony de Mello, S.J.

Sacred Space team

The Sacred Space Team: From left, standing: Frank, Dermot, Jae-Hong; seated: Paul, Pat, Gerry (absent: John)

I hope you will find the items in this issue of interest and that they will help all of us us in Sacred Space grow as a community . As you continue to enjoy this time of the year, please keep us in your prayers. Happy Holidays to all! I myself will be making my annual trip to Long Island, New York, on July 21, and will be helping out in the Glen Cove Church of St. Patrick until August 22. Dermot will take care of the mail during that time, and, also, while I am away making my annual retreat from July 1st to the 9th. Please keep me in your prayers. God bless every one.

Gerry Bourke, S.J., Editor of Sacred Space

Sections within this issue of Latest Space:

  • A Word from our New Manager
  • Developing As A Community
  • Russian – the Latest Translation
  • Indonesian – a Translation on the Way
  • Italian – a Translation Revived
  • The Community Continues to Grow
  • A Link with a Multimedia Site
  • Sacred Space – The Book 2006
  • A Word of Thanks

  • Ways to Promote Sacred Space

    Life can take some very unexpected turns! More than six years ago, I was working in RTE (Ireland’s national radio and television station) and my friend, Alan McGuckian (then manager of the Jesuit Communication Centre) rang me and asked if I would be interested in doing a story on his latest project, a website called Sacred Space, where people could log on to be led in prayer. It was the beginning of Lent and he said they would give it a trial run for the six weeks to see how it would fare. I thought it was a novel idea, and soon Alan was on radio passionately promoting the prayer site. It was no ‘one Lent wonder’! Five years later I was presenting a religious series on television in Northern Ireland and Alan was on my programme, computer to hand, clicking viewers through the success story that is Sacred Space, talking about the community of people from so many parts of the globe united in prayer on line.

    Click on to January of this year! I’m back in RTE working on an early morning programme, getting up at 6 a.m., and it’s dark and cold. I have never been an early riser ( I don’t ‘do mornings’ well!), so I found this shift gruelling and there was hardly another sinner on the road as I made my way to work remembering my two teenagers at home, snuggled up fast asleep in bed. I would have liked to have had the energy to focus on a prayer but as I could barely think, let alone speak, there was no prayer and I felt very alone in those dark eerie early hours. Then one morning when I got to work I found a promotion copy of the book Sacred Space left on my desk. I went to the prayer of the day, it was Wednesday, January 12, and the reading was from the gospel of Mark. One line touched my heart. ‘In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.’ After that each morning my prayer began as I put my foot out of the bed in the company of Christ, not so lonely after all.

    I continued to pray through Sacred Space and the providence of God continued in my life. I saw the advertisement for the job as Jesuit Communications Manager, prayed, went for it, and within weeks was at my desk very proud to have the overseeing of Sacred Space as part of my brief. And I am really blessed to have such a dedicated, visionary team working on this special website. I am part of a small group who feels part of a very much wider community of prayer with you. We are not alone!

    In the April 2005 issue of The Way, a review of Christian spirituality published by the British Jesuits, Roisín Pye, one-time collaborator in the development of Sacred Space, contributed an article entitled “Sacred Space and Online Communities”. In it she suggests that while the many visitors to Sacred Space from all over the world are united as a prayer community, “It does not exploit all the possibilities of computer-mediated communication. It has none of the user to user communication that is possible through e-mail lists, newsgroups, discussion boards or chat rooms.”

    On June 24, a letter in response to that article arrived from a visitor to Sacred Space in Wimbledon, London, England, in which it was said: “Sacred Space is a reminder to stop and listen to God, whatever the circumstances around or within me. It has been stated that it has its limitations: ‘Because it is a static site, as opposed to a dynamic one, there are many aspects of community that it lacks.’ (The Way, April 2005, p.89) But its strength is that it uses the potential of a static site to the full. The focus is on God, the Holy Spirit, on the Bible reading, and prayer, being one in that Spirit – there is no distraction by fulfilling, at any moment, a need to communicate (e.g. chat rooms). One simply has to stop, read/listen, think, knowing a whole community across the world is doing the same. It is the moment to seek God, especially when despairing at His seeming absence, and always to find Him there, without interruption, or distraction.”

    The following day, the husband of the above writer, sent us these words in support of his wife’s comments: “Prayer is a form of communication already, and, by its very nature, would be distracted by chat room style activities. Why do participants in Sacred Space need to communicate with each other in such a mundane manner? Why can they not pray for those who are using Sacred Space that they do not know by name? Surely you cannot chat and read a prayer book at the same time! But again, do they need to chat about their prayer life – or would it turn into an agony aunt column? Just to restate the obvious – Sacred Space is excellent.”

    It is that delicate balance between prayer alone and the union within a community of prayer throughout the world that we must keep in mind as we continue to explore possibilities of developing as a Christian prayer community.

    On March 25 (Good Friday) of this year, a letter arrived from an officer of the US Air Force with this suggestion: “I come to you with a humble request. I have many acquaintances who are Russian speakers, and who have become keenly interested in this site. However, due to obvious language barriers, they cannot quite get the same benefit as I do from Sacred Space. Would it be possible to include a Russian page on here as well?”

    The Editor forwarded the letter to the webmaster of our Jesuit Russian site, and sent a copy of it to a Jesuit friend with whom he had worked for a number of years in Japan and who was now teaching in Russia. He received a response from his friend the following day, with these words: “You talk about a coincidence. Some call it ‘God’s finger’. There is another coincidence, namely that our Regional Superior is now here with us, so I could talk with him about your letter to our webmaster….Our Regional Superior is very interested in your idea. Actually, he had already thought that we should do something on those lines…So, take heart!”

    Two weeks later a letter came from the Russian webmaster: “It was nice to receive a letter from you. Your proposal has arrived just in time. If fact, we have been considering the possibility of making a Russian version of Sacred Space for a while. There is a strong lack of native speakers among Jesuits in our Province, but I’ll try to create a team with lay people. So let us try without long words to launch the project. Could you send me the material for April and May?” The requested material was sent to him right away. We were both surprised and happy to learn that Sacred Space in Russian was launched before the end of April!

    On May 24, a letter came from an Indonesian Catholic who introduced himself as a “Father of 3 boys and married for 26 years”. He had been praying “on and off” with Sacred Space for two years, and said that he felt the benefit of praying together with the entire Church, especially since the Catholic Church in his country represented only 3% of the population, while the Muslim population was 93%. In a follow-up letter on June 8 he mentioned how English was not widely spoken, but his son, whom he called an “aspy (asperger syndrome kid)” had his own website in English. In a reply on June 9, the idea of an Indonesian translation was suggested, and on the same day came these words: “You’ve got yourself a volunteer….I love to write myself…. If you agree, I can be your volunteer.”

    On that same day came some samples of the translation work he could do, with the assuring words: “One more thing, Father, we already have the official Indonesian translation of the scripture….so we only need to copy and paste.” Jae Hong has sent him the material and we are hoping that the Indonesian translation of Sacred Space will be launched on July 18.

    Visitors to Sacred Space may have noticed that from early in this year the note “temporarily unavailable” has been on the link for the Italian translation. In January we learned that the person from the Christian Life Community in Rome who had begun the work of translation when he was single was now married and had a child. So he and his wife would no longer be able to continue the work. The search was on to find some person or group that would be willing to take on the work involved. We are happy to announce that after many months and thanks to the cooperation of the Jesuit Provincial in Rome and the Italian Province Webmaster, a new group has been formed consisting of three Jesuit Scholastics and one layman – Giuseppe Zito S.J., Eraldo Cacchione S.J., Stefano Corticelli S.J. and Nicola Boccia. We are hoping that before long the Italian version will once more be available.

    On the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19, ’05 – the day before Palm Sunday – our counter registered 13 million visitors since Sacred Space was launched on Ash Wednesday,1999. On June 9th we reached the 14 million mark. Over those 12 weeks the average number of visitors for each day was:
    Monday: 14,644; Tuesday: 14,514; Wednesday: 14,133; Thursday: 13,537; Friday: 11,154: Saturday: 7,510; Sunday: 10,124. The average for the five weekdays was 13,596, and for the days of the weekend, 8,817

    Last year, we reported in Latest Space #11 the number of visitors during the five weeks between Sunday, April 18, and Saturday, May 22. The data given below, indicate the growth in visitor numbers over one year:
    Monday: 11,470; Tuesday: 11,290; Wednesday: 11,075; Thursday: 15,023; Friday: 13,196: Saturday: 5,890; Sunday: 6,830. The average for the five weekdays was 11,360, and for the days of the weekend, 6,360.

    The figures continue to indicate that there are more visitors on weekdays. Many seem to find it helpful to take a break for prayer during a busy working day, as their fellow workers may have a cup of tea or coffee, or a smoke!

    On June 22, we received a letter from the editor of “a Christian multimedia site aimed at providing young people with a safe, informative and exciting place to enjoy and discuss their faith.” It is called Xt3 (standing for Christ in the third millennium) and its URL is . The letter went on to say, “We have an online magazine, two audio streams and a TV channel for audiovisual clips. The majority of content in the magazine is in-house but we are also looking to use it as a portal to showcase material on other sites that would be useful to our members and visitors. I am extremely impressed with the daily prayers at the computer concept and would love to host one a week in the Xt3 magazine and link out to the site. The idea would be to publish the full prayer/meditation on one page and then place an icon and link at the bottom (and a link to the prayer guide higher up). I would add some text along the lines of “We are praying every week with Sacred Space, if you want to join the daily prayers click here [link]”

    Fr. Gerry responded positively to the proposal, and mentioned that Sacred Space was also available in book form. This response came on the same morning: “Thank you so much for your swift response, Fr Gerry. I am looking forward to putting the prayers and meditations before our visitors. We actually have a shop, too, and this (the book) would be a great item for us to carry on Xt3. I’ll flag it up to our shop manager. Can you tell me who I can contact regarding SACRED SPACE – The Prayer Book 2006? Fr. Gerry responded right away with the e-mail address of Michelle Anderson, the orignal publisher of SACRED SPACE – The Prayer Book. This multimedia site seems to be an excellent way of sharing our ministry, and bringing the Word of God to the ends of the earth – and especially to young people – in a gentle, non-coercive way.

    The latest news received from Michelle Anderson Publications in Australia, the original publisher of “the book”, is that Ave Maria Press in the United States has already sold all 10.000 copies they had printed. However, both the Australian company and Veritas Publications in Ireland still have some copies, and are. of course, open to further orders. The Prayer Book 2006 is about to go to the printer. Apart from the three publishers already mentioned, 300 copies have been ordered already by the Philippines, and there is a new Catholic distributor in New Zealand. It may seem a little bold to talk about presents at this time of the year, but if you yourself have found help in Sacred Space and would like to share this grace with your family or friends, the book makes a great gift to give them at any time of the year. Remember that, as with the current issue, the Prayer Book 2006 will begin with the 2006 liturgical year which begins in Advent.

    The Sacred Space team thanks you again for your response to our “Support Sacred Space” appeal for the financial year 2004-2005. Many of you have also used the occasion to encourage us by expressing your thanks for the help you have received on the site. Our campaign is ongoing, and we would be happy to hear from those of you who have considered responding to our appeal, and would still like to. Cheques can be made out to Sacred Space in your own currency, and sent to 36 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. Or you can make your donation to Sacred Space in euro on our secure link, which you will find at the end of the Sacred Space prayer.


    1. 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?

    2. Do any friends have homepages? Ask them to include a link to Sacred Space.

    3. 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. They will find plenty of material in previous issues of Latest Space and in our feedback pages. If they contact us at [email protected], we will do our best to help them.

    4. Download and print a poster, or some cards, from the endpage of Sacred Space, and spread them around.

    5. If anyone is moved by the Spirit to create a new Sacred Space poster, please let us have a copy.

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