- Prayer and Worship
- Beliefs and Teachings
- Issues and Action
- Catholic Giving
- About USCCB
U.S. Bishops' Call to Prayer for
Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty
December 30, 2012 - November 24, 2013
Catholics are invited to participate personally and as a community in prayer, penance, and sacrifice for increased protections of religious liberty and for rebuilding a culture favorable to life and marriage.
Learn more about the Call to Prayer, sign the pledge to fast, sign up for weekly email or text message prayer and fasting reminders with specific intentions,
and join the Facebook event!
I feel a little bit like a "woman without a country." I think of my hometown as "home." Yet when I visit, I realize anew that my place is no longer there. In this transient stage of young adulthood, I take great comfort in the stability and the unchanging nature of Christ and His Church. I hold onto His words, "I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Mt 28:20).
But I also know that I can't perceive my relationship with Christ and His Church as my own isolated comfort zone. In the verse right before Matthew 28:20, Jesus gave the disciples a command which Pope Francis explained in his Sunday homily at World Youth Day to 3 million attendees:
Jesus did not say: "go, if you would like to, if you have the time", but he said: "Go and make disciples of all nations." Sharing the experience of faith, bearing witness to the faith, proclaiming the Gospel: this is a command that the Lord entrusts to the whole Church, and that includes you; but it is a command that is born not from a desire for domination, from the desire for power, but from the force of love, from the fact that Jesus first came into our midst and did not give us just a part of himself, but he gave us the whole of himself, he gave his life in order to save us and to show us the love and mercy of God.
This command means that I cannot be solely focused on myself. I have been given the incredible gift of knowing that I am cherished by God and that by following Him, I become more fully myself. This gift must be shared.
We live in a society where people don't know and respect their own dignity or the dignity of those around them. People long for fulfillment, yet spend their lives trying to fill the emptiness that only God can fill with other unsatisfying substitutes. It is our responsibility to reach out in love and share Christ with all. Yet even the ways we do this face many challenges, such as the increasing threats to life, marriage, and religious liberty. One example is the HHS contraceptive mandate, which reaches so far as to threaten the ability of Catholic schools, charities and hospitals to serve others in accord with their moral teaching.
The U.S. bishops have called on the faithful to renew a culture of life, marriage, and religious liberty in our country through prayer, penance and sacrifice. We can participate in many powerful ways: monthly Eucharistic Holy Hours, daily rosary, special prayers of the faithful, and abstinence from meat and fasting on Fridays. A new intention, reflection, and "Did you know?" section is sent out each week by e-mail or text. (To sign up, text "fast" to 99000 or visit www.usccb.org/pray.)
So many today lack an understanding of God's love for each of us and what that means for our lives. That is why I am glad to join with thousands of Catholics across the country in responding to the Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty. Please consider how you can participate and invite your family and friends to do the same.
As Pope Francis said later in his homily: "When we face challenges together, then we are strong, we discover resources we did not know we had." Let us re-discover the power of prayer.
By accepting this message, you will be leaving the website of the
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This link is provided
solely for the user's convenience. By providing this link, the United
States Conference of Catholic Bishops assumes no responsibility for,
nor does it necessarily endorse, the website, its content, or