Why Do I Pray?


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Please visit our video link above to see the Catholic Life TV show with host Dr. John Buckreis and Jeff Grabosky, author of "Running With God Across America", and me as guests discussing LifeRunners.org.  The show was broadcasted in October 2013 on Fairfax Public Access TV Channel 10, and now you can see the YouTube video from this website of the 25-minute show.

You may also like to see the 2012 broadcast of the Catholic Life show on Home Schooling at the same "Videos" link above, then click on the picture of the Catholic Life show on Homeschooling. 

Also see the 2005 broadcast of the Catholic Life show when I was the guest discussing Plenary Indulgences at https://plenary-indulgences.webs.com/.

All the best, and may Our Good Lord bless you always!  Steven


After I became a dad in 1994, I wrote an article called "Why Do I Run?" that was published in a couple of my alumni magazines and in the Washington Running Report (see  http://www.runwashington.com/2011/10/10/run/ for the story).   Now that I have completed many Marine Corps Marathons, I would like to share with you the fact that I have actually been praying during most of those training miles on the road.  What looks to the casual observer as some guy running in the neighborhood is really a fellow who is praying for an hour and just happens to be running.  Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with sitting in a chair at home during prayer time, I would prefer to do it on the road. 

It was not always that way though.  It all started around the year 2000 when I was visiting my parents in Rhode Island, and went for one of my daily hourly runs.  As I passed memorials of my youth, such as schools from where I graduated, I found myself thinking of old friends and experiences of the first 22 years of my life in these surroundings.  It then occurred to me that praying for them would be far better for them than simply thinking of them. 

This form of praying during my running through old neighborhoods quickly turned into a listing of things that I found important to pray for in my life whether I'm away or at home.  I then wrote these things down on a one-page document, which I called my Rosary Intentions and made copies of the page for each of my suit jackets.  These Rosary Intentions then turned into a prayer habit during my hourly daily runs.  I now dedicate a decade of the rosary (an 'Our Father', 10 'Hail Marys' and a 'Glory Be') to each of the 15 important things for which to pray and finish them before my running is over.

I am sharing my Rosary Intentions with you below in my hopes to encourage you to develop your own list of important things in your life for which to pray.  They are as follows: 

  1. Myself (and my salvation)
  2. Special Intentions of Mine and my Wife's
  3. Our Children, born and unborn
  4. Us as a Family
  5. My Parents and their intentions
  6. My Brother and his Family
  7. My Relatives who are in any Physical, Mental, Emotional or Spiritual Pain or Suffering
  8. My Wife's Family
  9. My Bosses, Coworkers (past, present and future), Friends, Others and their Families
  10. The President, Elected Officials and Other Leaders and their Families
  11. Intentions of the Pope (as part of a plenary indulgence, described further below) and his Family
  12. Intentions of the Bishops, and for the Priests, Religious and the Laity
  13. Financial Wisdom
  14. The Unborn and the Families they would have had
  15. Those I have offended and/or affected in any way by my sinfulness and their Families

Although, these intentions are not necessarily in order of importance, the first thing I pray for is for me and my salvation.  If you would like to read a great book to encourage you to live a holy life, pick up The Dogma of Hell - Plus How To Avoid Hell published by TAN Publishers.  At the end of the 540-page text, the author made it clear that the Church's teaching was that our merciful Lord would not refuse anyone salvation who requests it.   Knowing this, I feel compelled to make this request on a regular basis.

I then pray for any special intentions that my wife and I might have.  This can vary from time to time based on any current concern(s) we might have.  Next, I pray for our three children, who we home school (see http://www.setonhome.org/) and our unborn children we have lost to miscarriages.  This category also includes any children that are under my care or responsibility at any time.  I then pray for us as a family in order for our Lord to keep and protect us as a family unit, my deceased parents, my brother and his family followed by any of my relatives who are in any pain or suffering and my wife's family members.

The next beneficiaries of my prayers (of course, I am the real beneficiary of all these prayers) are for my bosses, coworkers (past, present and future), friends and others.  The people in the 'other' category include those who some might call enemies.  Since we are commanded to love our enemies, and since I have no enemies that I know of, I pray for those who might hate me because I'm Christian or because I'm Catholic, or for any other reason of which I am unaware.  I then pray for the President, all elected officials, dictators, royal leaders and all others in authority and their families.

The Church teaches that when our Lord grants a plenary indulgence, there is a full remission of all temporal punishment (time spent in purgatory) due to sin in one's entire lifetime up to that point.   So, as part of a plenary indulgence, I pray for the Pope and for his intentions (for his intentions, see  http://www.ewtn.com/faith/papalPrayer.htm).

A plenary indulgence, which can be requested of our Lord for oneself or for the deceased, is granted to the faithful who perform certain works listed in the Handbook of Indulgences.  Some examples of plenary indulgence works include praying a rosary with your family, saying the Stations of the Cross, and spending ½ hour reading scripture or in Eucharistic Adoration.  To learn more about the Church's teaching on plenary indulgences, and for a very good list of plenary indulgence works, please visit my web site at https://plenary-indulgences.webs.com/.   Additional conditions that must be met for the acquiring of a plenary indulgence are as follows:

-  that the person truly repudiate and be sorry for all sin, mortal and venial;

-  reception of Holy Communion on the day the indulgence is sought;

-  Sacrament of Penance several days (not specified how many, but I go once per week) before or after the indulgence is sought; and

-  prayer (which can in the form of an 'Our Father' and a 'Hail Mary') for the intentions of the Pope on the day the indulgence is sought.

I then pray for the intentions of the bishops (including priests, religious and laity) and their families.  I first started this practice by praying for my bishop, but when I traveled, I also included that bishop of the diocese in which I was visiting.  After attending an ordination for a bishop for the armed forces, who would shepherd Catholic military chaplains worldwide, my prayer changed to include all bishops and their intentions.

Next on the list of intentions is a decade for financial wisdom.  Financial concerns are considered by some as one of the top worries of the general population, who agonize over their future and the future of their loved ones.  The Lord says to seek first the Kingdom of God and all else will be given to you.  This and all other areas being prayed about are handed over to the Almighty.  After all, what better advisor can anyone have than the Good Lord Himself!

When I was in the process of developing my Rosary Intentions, I showed them to my wife to see if I had left out anything.  She said, "Why not add in the world!"  I feel as though our Lord spoke to me through her to add the very special intention of praying for the least of our brothers and sisters: the victims of abortion in the world, and for the families they would have had.  I can't think of a more appropriate act of chivalry than to pray for the unborn.  The definition of chivalry that I'm using here is to help those who cannot help themselves.  Of course, the souls in purgatory are also in this category, and that's where plenary indulgences for them are a great act of chivalry as well.   

My last decade is for all those I have offended and/or affected in any way by my sinfulness.  Have you ever thought of something you have said or done, years after it happened, that unnecessarily offended someone?  This group includes ones in which I am in contact no longer and do not have an opportunity to ask for their forgiveness.  As we all know, when we sin against someone, that sin can extend to others that are in that person's life.  Because of this, this special prayer is for the ones I offended and for their families and loved ones.

Throughout all these prayers, I ask that all the saints in Heaven also intercede for me.  As you can see from requesting of our Lord several plenary indulgences each week for the souls in purgatory, that list of saints is a growing number.  My hope is that these new saints would in turn pray for my family and me so that we would be blessed in this life and the next.  I then end my Rosary Intentions with an Act of Contrition. 

I hope you have enjoyed this approach to prayer and that you have been inspired to do something similar for your own special intentions.  In doing so, I wish you the peace that only our Lord can provide.


About the author: Steven H. Rossi, P.E., PMP, LEED AP, CCP, CFM, has been featured on television for home schooling his children and for his plenary indulgence web site found at https://plenary-indulgences.webs.com/Steven is a Registered Professional Engineer in Rhode Island and Virginia and is Certified as a Project Management Professional, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional, Certified Cost Professional and Certified Facility Manager.

Mr. Rossi holds a bachelor of science degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Rhode Island and an associates in architectural engineering technology degree from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.  Steven is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society.  He and his wife home school their three children (their oldest two have now graduated from George Mason University in Computer Science and Civil Engineering, respectively). 

Steven is a member of the Knights of Columbus (4th Degree).  Mr. Rossi is a 24-time Marine Corps Marathon finisher and an online marathon coach at http://marathon-training-plan-schedule.webs.com/ Steven can be contacted at [email protected](202) 525-7552 (mobile) or followed on Twitter @StevenRossi.

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