US Bishops Call for Fasting and Prayer for Religious Freedom on Fridays in Advent

Posted by Matt Yonke (December 6, 2013 at 10:34 am)

USCCB logoThe US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a call for prayer and fasting for religious freedom on the Fridays of Advent this year.

From the USCCB website:

The U.S. Bishops are encouraging the faithful to pray and fast for the renewal of a culture of life and marriage and for protection of religious liberty. In particular, Catholics are invited to make a pledge to fast and abstain from meat on Fridays.

The site features specific intentions for each Friday which you can receive via e-mail or text message. Sign up for the intentions via text message by texting “FAST” to 99000 or via e-mail here. At that page you can also make a pledge to join this effort of prayer and fasting.

Here is today’s intention:

Friday, December 6

Intention: During this Advent season of hope, let us pray that all Christians are able to worship God freely and practice their faith in daily life.

Reflection: During the second week of Advent, we prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ, the King of Peace. It is a time to draw closer to God through prayer and through one another.

Pope Francis, in his recent apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. . . (“The Joy of the Gospel”), speaks of the need for hope and joy, which come fully only through faith in Christ. Pope Francis emphasizes “the importance of respect for religious freedom, viewed as a fundamental human right” (no. 255). Religious freedom is not only the ability to choose one’s religion but the freedom “to manifest one’s beliefs in public” (quoting Pope Benedict XVI). The Holy Father explains, “A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism.”

Did You Know? Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear two cases challenging the HHS mandate that have been brought by the owners of family-run businesses who seek to live out their faith in daily life.There has also been good news in HHS mandate challenges brought by two Catholic dioceses and related organizations; a federal judge in Pittsburgh has issued a preliminary injunction preventing the government from enforcing the HHS mandate against them.

Be sure to share this important fasting effort with your friends and family and on your social media sites!

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