Thursday, June 11

1944: Prayer in time of War

Following the D-Day landings in Normandy and the liberation of Rome, Cathedral parishioners were being encouraged to pray in thanksgiving for what had been achieved and in supplication that the war might soon end. The notice book for this day in 1944 includes the following announcements: "The bishops exhort us to pray continually in thanksgiving for the deliverance of Rome and the safety of the Holy Father: Te Deum [will be sung] before procession. Further they urge all of us to pray without ceasing for the success of the invasion – Mass, Holy Communion and evening devotions. [They] call on all of you to give support to the fighting forces in these days of battle – we owe everything to them under the guidance and providence of God. Baptisms today at 2.0 not 3.0pm. His Lordship the Bishop will preside at the last Mass today. Make an effort to be present and take part in this great act of thanks to God." Clearly there was an air of excitement but also an awareness of the task still to be done. It is also intriguing that an announcement about the time of baptisms sneaks in between notices concerning the war effort. It is a reminder that for everyone back home, life had to go on.