Our bishops are calling us to incorporate their call for penance, prayer and sacrifice for life, marriage and religious liberty into our activities for the Year of Faith.
I have already been praying about these things. I’ve prayed every day for a long time about abortion. I plan to add one of the bishop’s ideas. My focus for this will be religious liberty.
I don’t think most Catholics realize the gravity of the threat to our liberties that the HHS Mandate represents. This threat is not just to Catholics, or even to religious people. If the government can attack the First Amendment so easily, then none of the freedoms Americans hold dear are safe.
I am going to publish the bishops’ full message concerning this call for penance, prayer and sacrifice to make it easy for you to read it. You can find a wealth of additional ideas, prayers and more detailed information at the USCCB website. I haven’t decided yet which of their suggestions I’m going to take. Which one of them will you do?
Here’s the statement from the USCCB website:
Call To Prayer For Life, Marriage, And
Religious LibertyThe pastoral strategy is essentially a call and encouragement to prayer and sacrifice - it’s meant to be simple. … Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty are not only foundational to Catholic social teaching but also fundamental to the good of society. - Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, from the news releaseabout the Call to Prayer
Join the Movement
- What: The U.S. bishops have approved a pastoral strategy to advance a Movement for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty. It is essentially a call to prayer, penance, and sacrifice for the sake of renewing a culture of life, marriage, and religious liberty in our country. Click here for a one-page handout about the Call to Prayer that is suitable for use as a bulletin insert or flyer.
Unprecedented challenges call for increased awareness and formation, as well as spiritual stamina and fortitude among the faithful.
- Why: The well-being of society requires that life, marriage, and religious liberty are promoted and protected. Serious threats to each of these goods, however, have raised unprecedented challenges to the Church and to the nation. Two immediate flashpoints are the following:First is the HHS Mandate, which requires almost all employers, including Catholic employers, to pay for employees’ contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs regardless of conscientious objections. This is a clear affront to America’s first freedom, religious liberty, as well as to the inherent dignity of every human person.Second, current trends in both government and culture are moving towardredefining marriage as the union of any two persons, ignoring marriage’s fundamental meaning and purpose as the universal institution that unites a man and a woman with each other and with the children born from their union. These challenges call for increased awareness and formation, as well asspiritual stamina and fortitude among the faithful, so that we may all be effective and joyful witnesses of faith, hope and charity.
- When: In this Year of Faith, starting on the feast of the Holy Family (Dec. 30, 2012) until the feast of Christ the King (Nov. 24, 2013)
- Who: All of the Catholic faithful are encouraged to participate
- Where: Throughout the entire country; at your local parish, cathedral, school or home
How To Participate: 5 Ways
1. Host or attend a Eucharistic Holy Hour on the last Sunday of each month
5 Ways to Participate:
1) Monthly Holy Hour
2) Daily Rosary
3) Prayers of the Faithful
4) Fasting & Abstinence
5) Fortnight for Freedom 2013
2. Pray a daily Rosary
3. Prayers of the Faithful at daily and Sunday Masses
- Suggested Prayers of the Faithful for life, marriage, and religious liberty, both at home and abroad
4. Abstain from meat on Fridays and fast on Fridays
- For the intention of the protection of life, marriage and religious liberty
- The practice of fasting: The general practice of fasting allows a person to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may be taken, not to equal one full meal.
- “The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice.” - Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1438
- For more information on fasting and abstinence, see the USCCB Fast & Abstinence page
5. Participate in the 2nd Fortnight for Freedom (June/July 2013)
- Goal: A visible, vibrant reminder of the God-given nature of religious liberty, the right to bring our faith into the public square, and the rights of individuals and institutions to conduct their professional lives according to their religious convictions
- Key issue: Potential Supreme Court rulings on marriage in June 2013
- Key issue: The need for conscience protection in light of the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate
- Key issue: Religious liberty concerns in other areas, such as immigration, adoption, and humanitarian services
Click here throughout the Year of Faith, as the Catholic Channel at Patheos.com invites Catholics of every age and stripe to share what they are gleaning and carrying away from this gift of timely focus.