Catholic World News

USCCB: pray, fast that we may assist women with unexpected pregnancies

January 24, 2014

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on Friday, January 24, for the following intention: “may we accompany women facing unexpected pregnancies with the compassionate and merciful love of Christ.”

In a reflection that accompanied the intention, USCCB staff noted:

In his homily at the Opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life, Cardinal O'Malley said, "The feelings of the woman in the Gospel must be like the young woman caught in a crisis situation of an unwanted pregnancy. She feels overwhelmed, alone, afraid, confused. We must never allow that woman to perceive the Pro-Life movement as a bunch of angry self righteous Pharisees with stones in their hands, looking down on her and judging her. We want the woman to experience the merciful love of Christ. Jesus does not condone the woman's fall, but He does not condemn her. He invites her to make a new start, to know that she is forgiven and loved. Pope Francis urges us to practice 'the art of accompaniment' which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other, in this case, the woman in crisis. This accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and our compassionate gaze which heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christian Life."

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.

Further information:
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  • Posted by: nix898049 - Jan. 27, 2014 12:19 PM ET USA

    Pregnancy isn't a 'crisis'. We do have a Crisis of Impurity - male and female. Some of these ads make it sound like becoming pregnant is no more volitional than catching a cold! When I was a kid, we made the connection and we didn't have the 'benefit' of Sex-Ed. Save the babies, by ALL means but for God's sake lock the barn door BEFORE MORE horses are stolen!

  • Posted by: brownjudith2930 - Jan. 27, 2014 1:01 AM ET USA

    How about the CCHD funding solid Catholic Crisis Pregnancy Centers?

  • Posted by: Leopardi - Jan. 25, 2014 9:43 AM ET USA

    It's not about "blame" or even "responsibility" at this point. It's about "providing options" for mothers in the most distressing situation imaginable and "saving unborn children" (blame and responsibility considerations come later). Those committed to helping these women and saving these children must measure our efforts in more concrete terms. What can we do to alleviate the problem through prenatial care and support. How can we provide plausible adoption. We must "walk the walk"! Leopardi

  • Posted by: shrink - Jan. 24, 2014 8:27 PM ET USA

    "We must never allow that woman to perceive the Pro-Life movement as a bunch of angry self righteous Pharisees with stones in their hands, looking down on her and judging her." OK, but Who does this? Who is he talking about? This strikes me as a straw man statement. That aside, I would think that we could pay some attention to the prime mover in "unwanted pregnancy", or better, any pregnancy out of wedlock, which is the male. No one is talking about the male. Why is that?