Photo courtesy of Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

WATERVILLE — Some of the purple circles are inspiring. Others are heartbreaking, while others, still, are heartwarming.

“The sanctuaries at St. John Church in Winslow and Notre Dame Church in Waterville are each graced by at Tree of Hope. Upon the branches are special prayer intentions that are remembered and offered at our weekend Masses during Lent,” said Fr. Dan Baillargeon, pastor of Corpus Christi Parish of which the churches are a part.

Parishioners were invited to write their intentions in a time of uncertainty and challenge on purple paper circles, which were then hung upon the trees.

“For the return of my estranged son,” reads one circle.

“That my children will recognize God in their lives,” reads another.

“That we have childlike hope,” is written on another.

Hope is the one emotion palpable in each of the purple circles. Hope for a better day in the lives of the authors and for those in need of support in the world around them.

“Of course, many are for the end of pandemic and world peace, but very few prayers for oneself. Most of them are for other people and causes,” said Fr. Dan.

Over 150 prayer circles have already been returned filled out, with more on the way. Purple circles also sit at the entrance ways to the churches and in the parish office for those who wish to participate. 

The initiative, coordinated by Fr. Dan and Kim Suttie, the parish’s pastoral life coordinator, began with a small card sent to parishioners inviting them to participate.

A prayer of hope printed on the cards asks God for, among other things, the “vision to see the best of things to come.”

“I look at each one before it is hung,” said Fr. Dan. “At each Mass, we pray for God’s blessings ‘upon the intentions of our Tree of Hope.’ The response has been great. The people love it.”