image The Long Walk Home: A Prayer Service in Memory of Nelson Mandela

The Long Walk Home: A Prayer Service in Memory of Nelson Mandela

+Leader: Our brother, Nelson, has completed his earthly journey. His earthly walk has come to an end. Let us pray him to his true home with words of love, joy, and gratitude.

Opening Prayer
Loving Jesus, Prince of peace
Open your arms to our brother, Nelson.
He spoke words of wisdom and justice.
He stood up to the oppressor.
He offered a vision of reconciliation and hope.
Bless him and rejoice in him as you wrap him with your holiness.
In this Advent time as we prepare to celebrate your birth,
It is appropriate that we light the first Advent Candle, the candle of hope.
May this candle of hope lighten the dark places of our hearts, our communities and our world. Amen
[youngest person lights the first Advent candle]

Optional Song:
We stand now to sing him home.
Suggested song: We Are Marching / Siyahamba – OCP- Spirit and Song
We are marching in the light of God (10x)
We are praying in the light of God (10x)
We are hoping in the light of God (10x)
We are loving in the light of God (10x)

Reading: Matthew 25:35-40
Jesus said, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’”
The Gospel of the Lord,
All: Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ.

Silent Reflection

Litany: Nelson Mandela’s words

Education is the most powerful weapon
which you can use to change the world.
All: Make us people of wisdom, O God.

The time for the healing of the wounds has come.
The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.
The time to build is upon us.
All: Make us people of healing, O God.

Let there be justice for all.
Let there be peace for all.
Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.
All: Make us people of justice, O God.

Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves…
Let freedom reign.
All: Make us people of freedom, O God.

I am fundamentally an optimist. …
Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun,
one’s feet moving forward.
There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested,
but I would not and could not give myself up to despair.
That way lays defeat and death.
All: Make us people of hope, O God.

No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

All: Make us people of love, O God.

Lord’s Prayer
Leader: Let us pray in the words that Jesus gave us and that Nelson prayed many times…
All: Our Father …

Eternal Rest
Leader: Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
All: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Closing Prayer
Compassionate and loving God,
You graced us with the gift of Nelson Mandela.
Embrace him, we pray, in your heavenly kingdom,
where his long walk ends
where there are no walls.
Comfort those who are mourning his loss.
God bless Africa, God bless this beautiful world.
We pray in the name of Jesus,

[You may wish to sing We Are Marching again]

CARFLEO is the Catholic Association of Religious and Family Life Educators of Ontario. Our goal is to help Religious Education and Family Life educators in their mission of bringing faith to the lives of the students and families that we serve. Email us at

You can download a Word version of this prayer service at

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