WINSLOW — Starting on Dec. 21, the shortest and darkest day of the year, and for 30 days forward as the daylight slowly begins to grow again, the Sisters of St. Joseph invite all to pray the 6 p.m. Angelus with them, a traditional Roman Catholic prayer.

“At this time of national disunity and division, with increasing fear and the threat of violence as we move towards what should be a peaceful transition of power,” said Sr. Claudette Poulin, according to a news release from the Sisters of St. Joseph. “We Sisters of St. Joseph hear the call from our tradition and our times to seek, pray for and act on behalf of unity and the common good.”

Those interested can join them via Zoom for the 10 minute ritual or pray alone or with others using a handout the Sisters will provide. “We are on the threshold of a new beginning with the return of the light to our hemisphere, the celebrations of this holy season, and the start of the New Year,” said Sr. Judy Donovan. “It’s the perfect time to pray for and act on behalf of peace and unity. We invite all to join us once, twice or for all 30 days.”

According to the release, the Angelus Prayer has its origins in the Middle Ages, a time of great divisions, violence and plagues. Just as the monks and nuns would stop everything at certain hours throughout the day to pray together, the Angelus began as a way for the laity in nearby towns and villages to stop whatever they were doing and pray when they heard the church bells ring at 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m.

The Sisters also are inspired by Pope Francis, who has been urging the world to overcome divisions by focusing on the Common Good. “The coronavirus is showing us that each person’s true good is a common good. In fact, when we love and generate creativity, trust and solidarity, it is then that concrete initiatives emerge for the common good. The promotion of the common good is a duty of justice that falls on each citizen. And for Christians, it is also a mission. If everyone contributes his or her part, and if no one is left out, we can regenerate good relationships on the communitarian, national and international level and even in harmony with the environment.” With God’s help, he said, “we can heal the world working all together for the common good.” (Sept. 9, General Audience)

The Sisters will lead the Angelus every evening at 6 p.m., which will be followed by a brief reading, some general petitions and a common prayer for peace and unity. The ritual will last no longer than 10 minutes.

Those interested in taking part can get the Zoom link or a copy of the prayer by emailing [email protected].