The U.S. bishops announced today a new initiative which they stress is “not another program” but instead “part of a movement for life, marriage and religious liberty” which will begin the Sunday after Christmas.
They call it a five-part strategy but I prefer to think of these five actions as “5 Catholic Resolutions for 2013″.
The bishops explain what prompted their decision to call for this nationwide initiative — namely, the unparalleled threat to these sacred institutions and rights:
“The call to prayer is prompted by the rapid social movements and policy changes currently underway, such as the mandate by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that coerces employers, including heads of religious agencies, to pay for sterilizations, abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives, as well as increased efforts to redefine marriage.”
Here are the 5 Resolutions:
1. Starting with the Sunday after Christmas (Feast of the Holy Family) and continuing on or near the last Sunday of every month through Christ the King Sunday, 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 libertyat 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. The celebration of a second Fortnight for Freedom at the end of June and the beginning of July 2013 is being planned. This Fortnight would emphasize faith and marriage in a particular way in the face of the potential Supreme Court rulings during this time. The Fortnight would 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.
You can find out more about this USCCB initiative here.
As Catholics we know that our most effective weapons are always prayer and fasting, and that any effective actions we take in defense of life, marriage and religious liberty must be rooted in these spiritual practices.
Please prayerfully consider if you can heed the bishops’ call to join them in making these five resolutions in 2013, and help me spread the word!
Building up our spiritual and ascetic life by keeping these five resolutions, after all, will help mold us into more effective and compassionate warriors focused on transforming the culture!
What do you think — will you make the effort to add these 5 resolutions to your 2013 resolutions? Something good to think and pray about over the Christmas holidays!