Jan 21, 2015

Here in the Hurunui district of Canterbury, the Good Shepherd parish is suffering a lack of rain. By the end of every February into March, the end of the New Zealand Summer, the Hurunui landscape is usually parched. But it is only mid January and we are already desperate for rain.

I knew that the people were really feeling the drought when people in most of our communities at last Sunday’s Masses spontaneously prayed for rain during the Intercessions. So I decided to offer Mass at Hawarden this morning with the special intention of prayer for rain.

A couple of hours after Mass, one parishioner who had been at the Mass, emailed me a pic of rain cascading off the roof of her verandah.  Soon after, as I was driving from Hawarden to Cheviot I heard thunder followed a few minutes by a downpour like we haven’t seen in months. Over the next few hours I heard from all over the parish that rain was falling.

I have no doubt that today’s rain was God’s loving response to our communal expression of our need. While there is humour as today we shared our stories of the rain, the deeper fact is that God is with us and God is listening to our needs, eager to provide for us in every situation.

While today’s rain was a welcome divine gift, we need more. Please pray with us:

O God, in Whom we live and move, and have our being,

grant the people of the Canterbury rain, in due abundance,

that, being sufficiently helped with temporal,

we may the more confidently seek after eternal gifts.

Through Christ, our Lord.


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  1. Superb timing. 8ml of Met Service’s long forecast of 15ml. Enough to settle the dust and keep the dream alive. Pray next weeks forecast is accurate.

    • Amen Liz!

  2. Hi John – a wonderful prayer for rain. I grew up in Darfield and in the drought years my mother sometimes used to go outside, “stamp her foot at God” (as she said) and pleaded for God to make it rain. Somehow that formed in me a picture of a God who can cope with our real feelings and with whom we can be honest. A small blessing of those tough years.
    Another memory is of the Vicar of Malvern, Hugh Paterson, putting a large bowl of dry earth under the altar, to stay there until the rain came. It always did.
    I continue now to pray for rain with your people of Good Shepherd parish.

    • Thanks Jenny. Hugh’s bowl of dry earth reminds me of a parishioner’s comment that a drought probably came because someone a few months earlier had put a statue of St. Joseph outside as a prayer for fine weather, and forgotten to bring it back inside…


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