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A prayer for the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

God of life and creation,

Word bringing peace,

Spirit bearing justice!

You delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt,

answered the prayer of Hannah,

rescued Daniel from the injustice of the king.

You raise up the lowly,

and cast down the mighty.

Fifty years ago this day

the nations of humanity,

in solemn assembly,

enacted as an everlasting memorial the

Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We give you thanks and praise for

this witness of the dignity of the human person,

sealed by the testimony of martyrs

known and unknown throughout all human history,

In the millennium to come,

may this Declaration be a firm foundation for peace and justice.

Grant to the nations a spirit of wisdom and discernment

so that respect for these rights becomes the way of all people.

Bless those who create and sustain

a culture of life and love,

with endurance, hope, and abundance.

May the candles we light glow bright

with hospitality and hope,

respect and love,

peace and justice.

We ask for these blessings,

confident in your providence through all time,

calling upon Mary our Mother

and all the martyred victims of injustice and oppression,

through your Son, Jesus Christ, Redeemer and Savior, Amen.


A Litany of Remembrance and Salvation

God of witness and memory Lord, have mercy

Vindicator of the poor Christ, have mercy

Spirit bearing justice Lord, have mercy.

Response: We will not forget.

Let us remember this day all people who are

killed in wars, We will not forget.

tortured in jails,

disappeared in the night,  

starved for food,

subjected to oppression,

driven from their homes,

unlawfully imprisoned,

denied religious liberty,

excluded from economic opportunity,

marginalized by poverty,

targeted by racial and cultural prejudices,

silenced by violence and injustice.

Response: Save us O Lord. . .

From the marginalization of poverty Save us O Lord,

From the silence of the disappeared,

From the ruthless thirst for power and profit,

From the despair of homelessness,

From demonic structures of sin,

From economic exploitation,

From the culture of death,

From the lure of materialism,

From greed for money,

From covetousness of possessions,

From material wealth and power,

From alienation and anger,

From the politicization of all life,

From the exploitation of the maquiladoras,

From the demand for instant gratification,

From the lies of politicians,

From the scourge of war,

From the cruelty of transnational corporations,

From the denials of human dignity,

Response: Pray for us. . .

St. Peter Claver,

St. Francis of Assisi,

St. John of God,

Venerable Pierre Toussaint,

St. Moses the Moor,

St. Rose of Lima,

St. Rose Duchesne,

St. Martin de Porres,

St. Gaspar del Bufalo,

Blessed Maria Mattias,

St. Maximilian Kolbe,

Ugandan Martyrs,

St. Andrew Duc Lac & all Vietnamese Martyrs,

Blessed Frederic Ozanam,

Blessed Katherine Drexel,

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross,

Martyrs of the Americas,

Venerable Matthew Talbot,

St. Francis Xavier Cabrini,

St. Vincent de Paul,

St. Louise Marillac,

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton,

St. Mary MacKillop,

Blessed Kateri Tekawitha,

Dorothy Day,

Peter Maurin,

Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange,

Henriette Delille,

Archbishop Oscar Romero,

Stanley Rother,

Mother Teresa of Calcutta,

Ita Ford,

Maura Clarke,

Dorothy Kazel,

Jean Donovan,

Barbara Ann Muttra,

Shirley Kolmer,

Mary Joel Kolmer,

Agnes Mueller,

Kathleen McGuire,

Dietrich Bonfoeffer,

Martin Luther King, Jr.

May we hear and remember the tragedy, joy, despair, and hope of the voices that call to us and to history for justice, reconciliation, and peace.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.