Back in 1986 Servant Books first published a United States edition of The Catholic Prayer Book. It was designed to be an all-purpose prayer book for every situation. It included prayers for Mass and the sacraments, prayers for good times and bad, and prayers for families, for the Church, for work and for those out of work. It was designed to capture the best of the Catholic tradition and the best of human concerns.
Now, 27 years and too many copies to count later, this beloved prayer book has undergone a much needed facelift. I had the privilege of working on this revision. I wondered if we should start from scratch—maybe this book had seen its day. So I spent many long hours reviewing, evaluating, and praying these prayers. And there were areas that definitely needed changing, such as updating the prayers of the Mass to the latest translation and including the luminous mysteries of the rosary at long last.
But as I reviewed this book I found to my delight that the book was still vital, still relevant, because it speaks to the deepest cries of the heart—longing for God, praise and gratitude for God’s goodness, and our all-too-human need for healing and food and work and strength in face of life’s struggles. These basic longings of the heart do not go out of style—they just become more sharply focused with the passing of years.
There is a beautiful new cover and a freshly designed interior and prayers for things that were scarcely on our radar 27 years ago. There is a new recommendation from Archbishop Cardinal Dolan of New York. So the best of the new is combined with the best of tradition to create a resource that will provide inspiration and help in prayer for many more years to come. I couldn’t possibly be more grateful for this enduring gift for God’s people.