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USCCB: pray, fast for struggling marriages

August 16, 2013

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on August 16 for the following intention: “for husbands and wives experiencing difficulties in their marriage, that the Lord would strengthen their love for each other as a sign of His love for the world.”

A reflection, publicized by the USCCB on the afternoon of August 15 along with the intention, recalled papal comments on marriage:

As Pope Francis reminded the youth in Brazil, saying "yes" forever to one's spouse is a revolutionary act! Not knowing what tomorrow will bring, husbands and wives can rely on the grace of the sacrament they received on their wedding day.

And married couples can take heart that their "yes" to each other, even when it is difficult to say, bears much fruit in the world. Pope Benedict XVI called marriage "a Gospel in itself, a Good News for the world of today... The union of a man and a woman, their becoming 'one flesh' in charity, in fruitful and indissoluble love, is a sign that speaks of God with a force and an eloquence."

In December 2012, the US bishops announced a call to prayer and penance whose “overall focus is to invite Catholics to pray for rebuilding a culture favorable to life and marriage and for increased protections of religious liberty. Campaign components include monthly Eucharistic holy hours in cathedrals and parishes, daily family rosary, special Prayers of the Faithful at all Masses, fasting and abstinence on Fridays, and the second observance of a Fortnight for Freedom.”

The Friday prayer and fasting intentions change weekly; the links below describe how to receive the intentions in advance, typically the afternoon of the previous day.


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