Johnstown Priest Offers Ideas for Enhanced Prayer at Home


By Tony DeGol

During these challenging days when going to Mass is not an option, one’s home can easily become a haven for prayer and spirituality.

The Very Reverend Mark Begly, VF, Pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Johnstown and Dean of the Johnstown Deanery, has no shortage of ideas for the faithful.

“We can’t come together right now, so we have to be creative and find some different and new ways for all of us to come together as a Church,” he insisted. “Maybe this is a time when God is inviting you to finally begin to truly pray, or, if you are already praying, to deepen your prayer.”

A great first step is establishing a designated prayer space in one’s home – a concept he calls a home shrine. Fill the area with candles, sacred art, and other items that speak to one’s heart.

“It’s kind of like having Church at home, and why not if we have a spare room or corner to do something like this to come together to pray as a group, maybe with your family, but also as an individual and continue your life of prayer at home,” he added.

Praying the Liturgy of the Hours, the universal prayer of the Church, is Father Begly’s next suggestion. Also known as the Divine Office, the Hours are a meditative dialogue on the mystery of Christ using scripture and prayer. An app called iBreviary can guide individuals through the five Hours: the Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Night Prayer.

“If we’re all doing it together, then in our homes, we’re all praying the same prayer,” he said. “You can join me. We can all join together.”

A Rosary and a good Bible, such as the New American Bible, are also essential, Father Begly insisted.

“Use the Gospel for daily Mass,” he continued. “Begin with maybe 10 to 15 minutes and try to build your prayer to about 20 minutes a day. If you’re more comfortable praying the Rosary, make sure that with Mary, you are not just saying a bunch of rapid-fire Hail Mary’s, but truly meditating on the mysteries with her.”

When praying, be vulnerable before God, Father Begly added.

“Given our social distancing and mandatory isolation, we can’t just sit around watching TV all day long,” he maintained. “Why waste this precious sacred time offered to us? Spend more time with family and more time praying. We don’t have any more excuses as to why we aren’t trying to pray.”