Monday 13 December 2021

The Armed Forces Simple Prayer Book - Catholic Truth Society

The Armed Forces Simple Prayer Book
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860825989
CTS Booklet 

I stumbled upon this book while looking for a copy of Armed With The Faith: A Catholic Handbook for Military Personnel, of which there have been several editions. These volumes are special printings sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. This book is a variation of A Simple Prayer Book, but specifically printed for Her Majesty’s Forces. I believe there was a printing of 30,000 copies created of this book. The American counterpart is now over 500,000 copies. I compared this version with my own copy of A Simple Prayer Book, from a 2015 printing. There are only a few differences. 

This book is a wonderful edition of an excellent prayer book for our military personnel. The sections in this book are:

Prayers and Devotions

Basic Prayers
Morning and Evening Prayer
   Morning Prayer
   During the Day
   The Angelus
   Evening Prayer
Prayers to the Holy Spirit
Penitential Prayers
   Sacrament of Reconciliation
   Examination of Conscience
   Going to Confession
   The Way of the Cross
Prayers to Our Lady
   The Holy Rosary
   Other Prayers
Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions
   Act of Faith, Hope and Charity
   For the Faithful Departed
   Prayer of Saint Ignatius
   Prayer to Saint Michael
   In Temptation
   Prayer for the Pope
   Prayer for Vocations
   Prayer for Peace
   Prayer before a Crucifix
   A Night Prayer
The Divine Mercy

The Eucharist
The Order of Mass
   The Introductory Rites
   The Litury of the Word
   The Liturgy of the Eucharist
   The Communion Rite
   The Concluding Rites
If You Can't Get to Mass
   Spiritual Communion
Prayers for Holy Communion
   Before Holy Communion
   After Holy Communion
Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction
   A Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Catholic Teaching
Summary of Christian Doctrine
   The Mass Simply Explained
   The Sunday Obligation
   Fasting and Abstinence
   Note on Indulgences

Prayers for the Armed Forces
   General Prayers
   The Royal Navy
   The British Army
   The Royal Air Force

The only differences between this edition and the normal is the camp cover. The sections on Prayers for the Armed Forces. Each section on prayers for specific branches has a few prayers including 2 specific Air Force Collects. And this one does not have the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the section on Prayers To Our Lady. There is an excellent prayer for vocations to the military chaplaincy. 

“Prayer for Vocations to Military Chaplaincy

O Lord Jesus Christ, instil in the hearts of priests
the desire to dedicate their lives to you as chaplains
to our Armed Forces.

Give courage and compassion
to those who serve you as Forces chaplains.
My their hearts be filled with zeal and love of you
so that your name may be better known and loved,
for you live and reign for ever and ever.”

I can easily see this little booklet being treasured by members of the military and could not find any copies of this CTS version used online. This edition also includes a Forward by Bishop Richard Moth, which states:

“Each one of us is called to “a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer”

There are times in all our lives when we are confronted with tragedy and sadness, with joy and wonder. No matter what our circumstances, the call to this relationship with the God of love is given to each one of us. It is expressed in moments of private prayer and at those times when we gather together as a community of faith.

I am pleased to welcome this Prayer Book for our Armed Services community. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Knights of St Columba, through whose
kindness this book is provided. It is the result of much work and will accompany personnel on operations and at home - and their families and loved ones who are their constant source of love and support.”

It also contains an introduction from Ron Lynch Supreme Knight at the time of printing that states:

“In 1919 just after the Great War, a group of inspired men had the vision and foresight to establish the Knights of St Columba, an Order of Catholic lay men dedicated to the material and spiritual well-being of our members and their families. It would have been easy in those dark days for our Order to be inward looking and solely care for those closest to us. However, upon joining, we all commit to the principles of Charity, Unity and Fraternity, and the first of these has led us to provide support to countless others, wherever and whenever it’s been needed. We decided to mark this great Year of Faith by supporting the spiritual well-being of people of faith outside of our Order. So, we feel privileged and honoured to have been able to assist in providing this Prayer Book for those dedicated men and women in our armed forces, their families and friends. We pray that God will watch over protect and guard you always.”

The volume is a perfect size to be carried by a soldier at all times. And it is a wonderful example of the Ministry of the Catholic Truth Society’s service to Catholics. I found out while researching this review that the CTS dis a similar custom printing for prison ministry.

If you have friends of family in the military and can track down this volume, I am certain it will bless them. And if you cannot find one A Simple Prayer Book is an excellent substitute. Another excellent resource from the Catholic Truth Society. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

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