Nana, Papa, everybody up there, pray for us!

Sometimes I look up to heaven in frustration and grumble about the way things are in the world, my country and—let me not forget—my family.

I have relatives and family members who are so far from Christ that I find myself complaining, “Mom! Dad! What the heck are you doing up there? Stop enjoying yourself and think about us down here! How about some prayers! Get to work, PLEASE!”

Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating…but not much. I’m sure they’re praying for the rest of us, but just in case they’re asleep on the job or not giving 150 percent, I want to remind them to get going because if there’s anything our world needs now more than ever, it’s prayer. Don’t believe what the secularists and the media say. Pray works.

Down in this vale of tears, we need all the help we can get, which is why I try to spend as much time as possible appealing to the saints for their intercession because they understand firsthand how much life can be a struggle and they have a direct line to God.

I’m always asking the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph for help, along with my own group of personal favorites, who include my guardian angel, St. Michael, St. John Paul II, St. Ann and St. Joachim, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Joseph Barsabbas, Blessed Margaret of Castello, St. Martha, Venerable Fr. McGivney, Blessed Solanus Casey, Servant of God Vincent Capodanno, St. Padre Pio, Servant of God Chiara Corbella Petrillo, St. Jeanne Jugan, St. Josephine Bakhita, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Blessed Mother Clelia, St. Joanna, St. Mother Teresa, Servant of God Dorothy Day and St. Kateri Tekakwitha, who lost her family in a small pox epidemic.

I try to pray the Litany of Saints every day and petition everyone from Saints Peter and Paul to St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Mary Magdalen to “pray for us.” Last week, I had another idea that I thought might help during this time of crisis. I sat down at my typewriter and started to put together what I call a “Litany of Family and Friends” to my deceased loved ones.

The private litany I compiled included grandmothers, grandfathers, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, classmates, coworkers, nuns, and priests like Father Ed Coyne, who helped countless people in recovery when he was alive. Pray for us!

My litany also included teachers, professors and friends who made a difference in my life, including the most devout journalist I ever knew, the late Hugh Mulligan of Ridgefield. Pray for us!

If they did so much while they were alive, just imagine what they can do now. I’m convinced they’re waiting for us to call on them, so I encourage you to compile your own list and appeal to them by name for their intercession…every day.

I ask for help not just from saintly people I knew, but also from the less than perfect ones, and there are many. I figure they’re like the bungling angel Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and are always looking for opportunities to earn their wings.

The veil between heaven and earth is a thin one, and our beloved deceased family members and friends are always praying for us. While I never doubt that, it gives me enormous consolation to ask them for prayers.

Like Jesus and Our Lady, they’re watching over us, directing us and praying for the graces we need during these troubled times. Only when we see them again in heaven will we understand all they did for us during our earthly exile, and we’ll owe them a great debt of gratitude.

One last thought. Don’t forget your grandmothers. I’m convinced a grandmother’s prayers are one of the greatest forces in the universe. Don’t believe what the scientists, the secularists, the media and the atheists tell you. Politics, science and the press are nowhere near as powerful.

Someday when Jesus is handing out the Most Valuable Player awards, I bet there will be a long line of mothers and grandmothers standing in line to be honored. For all eternity, they’ll be recognized for what they accomplished for us with their prayers.