What can one Catholic do to stop millions of yearly abortions, the threatening destruction of marriage, and the advancing threat to religious liberty?
The United States bishops are calling Catholics to prayer, penance and sacrifice throughout the upcoming year, for the sake of renewing a culture of life, marriage and religious liberty in our country.
And so The Cardinal Newman Society is urging all its members — and all the faithful — to respond generously to the bishops’ call to:
1. Pray the Rosary daily for life, marriage and religious liberty.
2. Abstain from meat and fast on all Fridays.
3. Take part in a special monthly Holy Hour at parishes or cathedrals.
4. Participate in another Fortnight for Freedom in June and July.
The bishops have urged Catholics to be strong and do these things from the Feast of the Holy Family on Sunday, December 30th, until the Feast of Christ the King on November 24th, 2013.
“All of us at The Cardinal Newman Society are grateful to the bishops for giving us these tangible ways to participate in the defense of life, marriage and freedom,” said Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. “I hope that all Catholics will join us in unity with our bishops by answering their call!”
The Society is also asking Catholics to help spread the word to Catholic schools and colleges, and urge them to:
1. Inform students and their parents about the bishops’ request.
2. Teach classroom lessons on life, marriage and religious liberty.
3. Organize daily communal Rosaries in classrooms, dorms or chapels.
4. Hold the special monthly Holy Hours.
5. Refrain from serving meat in cafeterias on Fridays.
“We’re facing unprecedented challenges and this calls for a response,” said Tim Roder, Associate Director of the U.S. bishops’ Office for Promotion and Defense of Marriage, in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. “This call to prayer is a response. The first action that should undergird everything we do is prayer.”
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said in a release that this “pastoral strategy” is essentially a call and encouragement to prayer and sacrifice. “It’s meant to be simple,” he said. “It’s not meant to be another program but rather part of a movement for Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty, which engages the New Evangelization and can be incorporated into the Year of Faith.”
He added: “Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty are not only foundational to Catholic social teaching but also fundamental to the good of society.”
Cathedrals and parishes are encouraged to hold a Eucharistic Holy Hour for Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty. At Sunday and daily Masses, it is encouraged that the Prayers of the Faithful include specific intentions for respect for all human life from conception to natural death, the strengthening of marriage and family life, and the preservation of religious liberty at all levels of government, both at home and abroad.
Abstinence from meat and fasting on Fridays are encouraged for the intention of the protection of Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty, recognizing the importance of spiritual and bodily sacrifice in the life of the Church.
The celebration of a second Fortnight for Freedom at the end of June and the beginning of July 2013 is also being planned. This Fortnight will emphasize faith and marriage in a particular way in the face of the potential Supreme Court rulings during this time. The Fortnight will also emphasize the need for conscience protection in light of the August 1, 2013, deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate, as well as religious freedom concerns in other areas, such as immigration, adoption and humanitarian services.
Roder told The Cardinal Newman Society that the challenges facing Catholics today can be intimidating. “Many people wonder what can I do in the face of all these challenges,” he said. “This is an opportunity to do what we do best as Catholics — which is pray, fast and offer sacrifice.”
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