As the one year anniversary of Katrina surrounds us, let us together offer the prayer shared last year by Sister Margaret Charles Kerry, fsp, a native New Orleanian:
Canticle of New Orleans
By Margaret Charles Kerry, fsp
Waters of the earth, bless your Maker.
Be kind to the people who need you to quench their thirst.
Hold back your raging destruction of flood and overflowing banks.
Be kind to the city that sings about you in legend,
that travels over you to unknown places.
Unite people - do not disperse them.
Waters of the earth, bless the Lord!
Winds of sky, bless your Maker.
Keep cool breezes flowing over the people of God.
Keep away disease and danger by your healing movement.
Hold back your anger in storm and destructive power in tornado.
Be kind to the city that knows when you caress the land
and keep the heat from overtaking the plants and livestock.
Remind people of God's care.
Winds of the sky, bless the Lord!
City of humanity, bless your Maker.
Keep your people safe who have built you.
Allow them to write music, sing, play
and dance in praise of God-given life.
Keep those in leadership from misusing what is gifted
by the unity of men and women, children and family.
Be kind to the City that brings happiness to so many.
Be kind to her history that tells the human story.
May the city be a city on a hill that shines God's light.
May your music, dance, and food
be a foretaste of the eternal banquet.
City of humanity, bless the Lord!
People of God, bless your Maker.
Keep hope in your hearts in time of distress.
Give hope to those around you
and know that you are loved
by those who worry about you in your distress.
Reach out to those who are near.
Reach from afar in times of trouble
– reach in prayer if you can't reach physically.
Let us ask forgiveness when our response
to trouble seems slow and unthoughtful.
Open your hearts to those who are vulnerable.
People of God, bless the Lord!
People of New Orleans, bless your Maker.
Know that you are loved.
Know that the rain, wind and water that bless the city
and surround it as a hug outside of times like this
will return to their banks and sky.
Your hope is our hope.
May we share what we have with you
as you share your faith with us.
We reach you in prayer
even as we long to reach you with a helping hand
and pluck you from distress.
We share in your distress
and hold in our hearts your pain and sorrow.
May God renew you!
People of New Orleans, bless the Lord! Margaret Charles Kerry, FSP, is a native of New Orleans and a Daughter of St. Paul. She can be reached at Kerrysso@aol.com. Website: www.pauline.org; BLOG: www.transformingtheworld.blogspot.com.Copyright © 2005, Daughters of St. Paul. Reprinted with permission.Permission is granted for the free reproduction of the Canticle of New Orleans in newspapers, magazines, bulletins, websites, or in photocopied format, provided that the entire Canticle and the author byline and credit is printed with the Canticle.