WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 6, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The bishops of the United States are urging their faithful to take up a pastoral strategy aimed at bringing about an effective witness to the importance of life, religious liberty and marriage.
The bishops announced today a five-part call to prayer and sacrifice, which they approved during their November assembly. The program begins after Christmas.
“The pastoral strategy is essentially a call and encouragement to prayer and sacrifice — it’s meant to be simple,” said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. “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.
“Life, marriage and religious liberty are not only foundational to Catholic social teaching but also fundamental to the good of society.”
1. Starting with the Sunday after Christmas (Feast of the Holy Family) and continuing with the last Sunday of every month through Christ the King, November 2013, cathedrals and parishes are encouraged to hold a Eucharistic Holy Hour for life, marriage and religious liberty.
2. Families and individuals are encouraged to pray a daily rosary, especially for the preservation of life, marriage and religious liberty in the nation.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. There will be the celebration of a second Fortnight for Freedom at the end of June and the beginning of July 2013.
“With the challenges this country is facing, it is hoped that this call to prayer and penance will help build awareness among the faithful as well as spiritual stamina and courage for effective witness,” Archbishop Cordileone said. “We also hope that it will encourage solidarity with all people who are standing for the precious gifts of life, marriage, and religious liberty.”
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On the Net:
Web site with resources from the USCCB: www.usccb.org/life-marriage-liberty