USCCB: pray, fast for those challenging the HHS mandate
January 03, 2014
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on Friday, January 3, for the following intention: “that all those who are challenging the HHS mandate – whether family-owned businesses or non-profit service ministries – would have the strength to keep fighting for religious freedom.”
“The federal government has chosen this January 1 to begin implementing its nationwide mandate forcing most Catholic universities, hospitals, and service ministries to violate Church teaching or face devastating fines,” USCCB staff stated in a reflection accompanying the intention. “Faith-based organizations like these seek to practice what they preach. That is, they seek to live out the Gospel mandate to serve those whom Christ called ‘these least brothers of mine’ (Mt. 25:40) while adhering to the tenets of our faith—including promoting the sanctity of human life. We pray that the courts will uphold our ability to live out the Gospel in its entirety!”
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.