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USCCB: pray, fast for compassion toward all

Catholic World News - December 13, 2013

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on Friday, December 13, for the following intention: “may we remember that we are not defined by our abilities, age or condition of dependency, and may we treat each person as the marvel that he or she is.”

In a reflection that accompanied the request for prayer, the staff of the USCCB upheld Pope Francis as an example of compassion and quoted from his message for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe: “Mary’s embrace showed what America – North and South – is called to be: a land where different peoples come together; a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age; a land which welcomes immigrants, and the poor and the marginalized, in every age. A land of generosity.”

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.”

This campaign was originally scheduled to end with the conclusion of the Year of Faith, but at their November 2013 meeting, the bishops voted to extend it indefinitely.

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

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