A Campaign of Prayer and Fasting
On Wednesday, August 1st, the Diocese of Harrisburg released the names of 71 priests, deacons, and seminarians from or with a connection to our diocese with allegations of sexual abuse against them. While the diocese works to bring some healing to victims and to protect our youth moving forward, the greatest contribution we can make as a parish is to make reparation for these horrific actions through prayer and fasting. Even when we have no part in a particular sin, our faith teaches us that sin damages the whole community, not just the sinner and direct victims. We are all members of the Body of Christ and St. Paul tells us that “if [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy” (1 Cor 12:26). In addition, we know that the greatest good of all, our salvation, was brought about by the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Through our humble offerings of prayer and fasting, we can participate in the sacrifice of Christ and can help to bring healing and repentance to Church and the whole world. For these reasons, we invite all members of our parish and any others to join us in a week of prayer and fasting. Any level of participation or modification of the proposed schedule is welcomed and appreciated.
Monday – A Day to Fast – Matthew 18:1-14
The Catholic practice of fasting traditionally involves limiting our eating that day to one full meal and two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. Today we invite those whose health allows them to join in a day of fasting, offering this sacrifice for the healing of all victims of abuse, especially those at the hands of a representative of the Catholic Church in our diocese and around the world.
Tuesday – A Day of Silence – Matthew 18:15-35
In our world it is often difficult to hear the voice of God amidst all the noise. Today we invite you to spend the day away from electronic entertainment (computer, TV, games, even your phone) and instead spend time with God in His Holy Scriptures. This is quite difficult in today’s world and we encourage you to offer whatever amount of time that you are able. Even offering just one moment with Scripture that you would otherwise spent in front of the TV or computer is a heroic sacrifice. For those unaccustomed to prayer with Scripture, it is recommended that you read a chapter/passage/section, and then spend fifteen minutes in quiet reflection, listening for what God has to say to you through His Word. We ask that you dedicate this time to all those scandalized by the conduct of the Church’s ministers, both Catholics and Non-Catholics, and especially those who have left the Church over this tragedy. For a helpful place to start, please consider the readings listed with each day this week and/or Revelation 12:1-17.
Wednesday – An Hour with Our Lord – Luke 18:1-17
Today all are invited to attend our regularly scheduled Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration (6-7pm) in the church. This tradition really has its roots in Jesus’ hour spent in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane before His Passion. During this time the sacrament of Confession will be offered. This can be a great time to pray for our own conversion, that others might always see the love of Christ in us despite our many failings. If you are unable to attend that time, we invite you, at a convenient time, to stop by our church, the Adoration Chapel next to St. Patrick’s parish office, or to spend an hour in your own home in quiet prayer.
Thursday – A Day to Pray with Our Lady – John 17:1-26
One of the most beautiful traditions of prayer in our Church is the Holy Rosary. Today we invite you to ask Our Blessed Mother Mary to watch over all the faithful priests, deacons, and seminarians of our diocese and around the world. Despite the damage done by far too many, there are still more ministers who strive every day to make Jesus present to us, especially when we are most in need of His love and care. We humbly ask that you dedicate a Rosary, or even a decade of the Rosary, for those who continue to labor faithfully in the vineyards of the Lord.
Friday – A Day to Abstain from Meat – John 19:1-37
The Church already asks us to abstain from meat or perform another suitable penance on Fridays. Today we invite you to offer this abstinence for our diocese, that shepherded by Bishop Gainer, we may work together to bring healing and build a community of faith where all members are safe and can come to know and love our Heavenly Father.
As was said before, you are invited to participate in this offering in any way and to any degree. For those who are able and feel called, we invite you to go beyond what is outlined here. A simple way to do that would be to dedicate time every day to prayer or to add an extra day (or days) of fasting. Traditionally, Wednesday accompanies Friday as a day to fast and/or abstain. Considering that Monday is nine days before the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we have placed a novena (a series of prayers over the course of nine days) near the entrances of the Church. Perhaps you received one after Mass this Sunday but, if not, they will remain in the church until the Assumption.
Also, we cannot recommend strongly enough the importance of remaining close to the sacraments in this difficult time, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Confession. We encourage all who are able to attend any of the daily Masses this week. Here at St. Rose they are 8:30am on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. There are also other times available at our neighboring parishes. To encourage the reception of the sacrament of Reconciliation, Fr. Richards and/or Fr. Logue will be available in the confessional after every daily Mass next week.
We sincerely thank you for whatever contributions you can make to our offering before our Heavenly Father this week. It is our hope that this will work towards the healing both of those affected by this tragedy and of our communities of faith; parish, diocese, and Universal Church.
And finally, we encourage all interested to read Bishop Gainer’s letter included in this bulletin as well as his full statement which can be found on the new branch of the diocesan website: youthprotectionhbg.com. Information is also available on that site regarding the protective measures in place for diocesan employees and clergy today as well as information on how to report suspected abuse to the diocese.
Fr. Daniel Richards Fr. Stephen Logue
Pastor Parochial Vicar