About six years ago, when he was pastor at St. Edward the Confessor parish in Duncan, Fr. Alfredo Monacelli, along with several parishioners, founded a group known as the Companions in Prayer for Persecuted Christians (CPPC).
Because of the persecutions in the Middle East, as well as the many persecutions elsewhere in the world, this group was established to seek the intercessory might of the Mother of God on behalf of our brothers and sisters living in the most difficult circumstances.
Members of the group, now numbering a little more than 150, pledge to pray every day the prescribed prayers: the Companions’ Prayer, the Salve Regina, and one decade of the Rosary. The Companions’ Prayer is a short one:
Holy Mary, Mother of Jesus, intercede for our persecuted brothers and sisters,
both Christians and others, wherever in the world they might be.
Bring them hope and solace in this, our time of need.
Companions sign a pledge form and receive a prayer card with a reproduction of a Marian icon on one side and the prayers on the other.
Fr. Alfredo’s successor as pastor, Fr. Luyen Dau, embraced the presence of the group, and our present pastor, Fr. Stephen Paine, is an enthusiastic supporter.
A recent innovation to remind Companions of the commitment they have made, and other parishioners of the existence of the CPPC, is the displaying of the group’s banner on the second weekend of each month.
Currently, St Edward’s is the only parish where this group is present, though a visitor from an Alberta parish has asked how to set up a unit.
The CPPC is not intended to be an organization, but more a movement. It doesn’t hold meetings and hasn’t much of an executive, just a Chair and Co-chair. It is not contemplated that any other unit would be subordinate to a central authority. Each is answerable only to its parish pastor or PPC, however any parish decides to arrange it.
by Tony Parr, Parishioner, St. Edward's Parish