USCCB asks prayers-- but not fasting-- on All Saints' Day
October 31, 2013
Breaking from a weekly request for fasting and prayer, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has asked the faithful to “honor all of the saints and continue to join in prayer for the building up of a culture of life, marriage, and religious liberty” on Friday, November 1: the feast of All Saints. The USCCB notes: “Since this feast day is a solemnity, it is not appropriate to fast on All Saints’ Day.”
In a reflection posted along with the weekly prayer request, the USCCB notes that the feast of All Saints was originally instituted to honor martyrs. “Although we often associate martyrdom with events of the past, violent persecution of Christians is still happening at an alarming rate in modern times in many countries,” the reflection continues, suggesting that prayer for persecuted Christians is appropriate.
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 campaign will last until the conclusion of the Year of Faith.
The Friday prayer and fasting intentions change weekly; the links below describe how to receive the intentions in advance, typically on the afternoon of the previous day.