In anticipation of the Year of Faith, Bishop Conry, who is the bishop of Arundel and Brighton and chair of the Church of England and Wales’ evangelisation committee, hopes that working men and women will set the alarms on their cell phones for 2:55 p.m. to remind them to pray at 3:00 p.m. if possible, or during their lunch hour if 3:00 p.m. prayer is inconvenient. The prayer needn’t be long or formal; a few minutes of sitting quietly for a moment of praise and thanksgiving is sufficient.
With the Friday prayers, Bishop Conry hopes to renew a tradition dating back to the 17th century. And more than that, his request counters a government move away from the expression of faith in public places: Just this week, British government lawyers went to the European Court of Human Rights, defending the right of employers to ban the wearing of crosses or other symbols of faith in the workplace. The landmark cases heard on Tuesday of this week were brought by four British Christians, including two workers who had been forced out of their jobs for wearing crosses.
So Catholics—in Britain at least—will resume the tradition of First Friday prayers. I don’t know whether any of the American bishops will issue the call—but I think it’s a darned good idea! So as the Year of Faith approaches, as we gear up for a critical election in the United States, I plan to stop at 3:00 to pray on Friday, October 5, and Friday, November 2.
Will you join me?