In November, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in light of the election results, decided a need for on-going initiatives to preserve life, marriage, and religious liberty. We must continue to inform ourselves and others about the ramifications of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandate, the attempts to re-define marriage, and human life issues. It is necessary for us to continue to communicate with our elected representatives to act correctly on these issues or be prepared to lose their jobs in the next election.
The USCCB has decided that the best way to preserve what is just and true is to pray. They are promoting a five-point Call to Prayer for use in dioceses and parishes throughout our nation during this Year of Faith which will beg the Lord for the preservation of life, marriage, and religious liberty. Those five points are:
1) Eucharistic Holy Hour for the defense of life, marriage, and religious liberty, to be held on the last Sunday of each month, starting this month through November, 2013, the end of the Year of Faith (Times TBA in bulletin). These intentions can also be offered during one’s regular weekly holy hour at our Chapel of Divine Mercy. However, participate in the extra holy hour on the last Sunday of the month. We need to increase our prayer time and make additional sacrifices, not maintain the status quo.
2) The Holy Rosary prayed by families and individuals for the above intentions. Praying is what is necessary. As Bishop Jackels is fond of saying, “Pray, and pray more.”
3) Petitions included for the defense of life, marriage, and religious liberty during the Universal Prayer (Prayer of the Faithful) at Holy Mass. This began last Sun-day.
4) Fasting and abstinence from meat on every Friday, even when there is no obligation in precept, for the same three intentions. For those who are older this will mean nearly a year of Fridays like it used to be before the law changed. Personally, I think that will be the hardest to do, thus it will be even more important for me to do it.
5) Prayer Rallies similar to this past summer’s Fortnight for Freedom rallies held in dioceses throughout the nation and the Religious Freedom Rally held in Topeka. Participation will be especially important at the end of June and the beginning of July, 2013, in light of potential Supreme Court decisions at that time and of the August 1, 2013, deadline for some non-exempt religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate. Remember, the Office of Respect Life and Social Justice sponsors on the fourth Friday, at Noon, at the Federal Courthouse, 401 North Market Street, a prayer rally. The rally includes the praying of the rosary, song, other prayer, and sometimes short speeches.
More information and resources for this national Call to Prayer can be found on the USCCB website: www.usccb.org/life-marriage-liberty. We must not stand on the sidelines but be leaders in this Call to Pray by our bishops, the good shepherds of our Church.