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16 November 2009

Catholic Mothers Inspired By St Monica To Pray For A Homecoming This Christmas


The Bishop responsible for the work of Evangelisation in England and Wales is inviting Catholic mothers to pray for those who are distant from parish life.


Speaking to coincide with the launch of the now annual 'Come Home For Christmas' campaign, Bishop Kieran Conry said: 


"St Monica is the Patron Saint of Resting Catholics – she was a faithful wife and mother who prayed for years for her son to embrace the Christian faith. God answered her pleas and St Augustine became a great role model for generations of Christians throughout the ages."


“Monica reminds each one of us of the importance and power of Christian prayer, but also of the necessity to be patient. She teaches us that no matter how long it takes we are to be positively engaged - through prayer, love and invitation - in supporting those who are 'resting' Catholics to reconnect with their local Christian community. Motivated by and offering love, I encourage Mothers in particular, but all of us can participate, in nine days of prayer from 12th - 20th December. By the grace of God let's pray that thousands experience a deep encounter with the living God and that the invitations we issue to 'come home' are warmly received."


Come Home for Christmas is a seasonal outreach initiative which aims to offer a welcome to Catholics who for different reasons no longer or rarely attend Mass. Resourced by the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation (CASE), it provides outreach posters and invitation cards for Catholic parishes and a bespoke website for those wanting to explore reconnecting with parish life (for the latter see:


St Monica lived in the fourth century in North Africa as a wife and mother of three children. She is revered by mothers because of her tireless prayers for the conversion of her son, Augustine of Hippo. In his teens he joined a sect which taught the Manichæan heresy* and lived a life far from Jesus’ teaching. For 12 years she stormed heaven with her prayers and tears, begging God to bring her son back to the Catholic Faith. Eventually Monica's prayers were answered.


Whilst in Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St Ambrose. Augustine turned away from his old life and embraced Christianity, later becoming a bishop; he was declared a saint and Doctor of the Church serving as an inspiration to those who desire to turnaround their lives in a radical way. One of his most famous writing is his Confessions in which he wrote: “Our hearts are restless till they find rest in You.” (Book 1:1)


Veronica Williams is the founder member of Mothers’ Prayers which is an international prayer group for mothers, whose members join together in prayer around the world. She said: “We know that prayer works and are therefore very happy to support this initiative by promoting this novena. In our network we have hundreds and thousands of mothers praying in small groups united in prayer, and we have seen many mothers who because of their concern for their children come to our prayer groups and rediscover their faith.”


Other participating partners are the National Board of Catholic Women and The Union of Catholic Mothers.

For more information about the novena and outreach materials for parishes please see:








For interviews and more information please contact Clare Ward on tel. 0770 939 1998; alternatively contact the Catholic Communications Network on tel. 020 7901 4800.


CASE is an Agency of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.


National Board of Catholic Women

"Inspired by the example of St Monica we encourage not only Catholic mothers but all Catholic women to play their part in praying for ‘resting’ Catholics to come home for Christmas."

Christine Newman, President


Mothers' Prayers  

'Mothers' Prayers' is an international prayer group for mothers, whose members join together in prayer around the world; they experience wonderful answers to their prayers. Amongst these answers are children successfully coming off drugs, missing children coming home and many coming back to faith as well as relationships being healed.

The Union of Catholic Mothers
“As The Union of Catholic Mothers prays constantly for mothers, families and marriages, we are very pleased to support and take part in the annual outreach campaign ‘Come home for Christmas,’ particularly as this year the campaign is inviting Mothers to reacquaint themselves more fully with their local Christian communities.”
Mrs Sheila Goodchild, President


Novena Prayer (12th - 20th December 2009)

Faithful God, Light of all hearts, we praise You for Saint Monica, woman of
living faith and reconciling love. She nursed her son, Augustine, in the Name
of Jesus, and urged him tirelessly to a Christian way of life. In answer to
her prayers for his conversion You gave her greater joy than all her tears
had dared to ask. Hear our prayers: (here mention your request). As once You
captivated the heart of St. Augustine, so now draw our hearts to You, O
Beauty ever ancient, ever new. Amen.

(Adapted from source:

Gospel Reading for the Fourth Sunday in Advent (20th December)
The Gospel reading is The Visitation, Luke 1: 39 – 45

St Augustine of Hippo and

Augustinian Friars of England
St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), while not the actual founder of the order as he lived eight hundred years before its establishment, is regarded as its spiritual founder. The rule of life that he wrote for those who lived with him in community in North Africa, the Rule of St. Augustine, is the basis of the way of life of every Augustinian community.

*Manichæan heresy
Members believed that there were two gods - one good, the other evil - who were in conflict for human souls.


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