I received this letter from Archbishop Carlson. I pass it on to you both because he asked me to and because the matters contained within are important. As I have written before, these are not all of the issues that matter, nor all of the issues the USCCB addresses. But they are some that are moving toward their decisive moment in our nation’s history. So read, reflect, pray, and then act.

“I’m writing to you about an important initiative I’d like to engage you in. Our country is at a crossroads and the Church is facing unprecedented challenges. We find ourselves in a position in which prayer and prayerful action are absolutely necessary to combat the rapid social movements and policy changes currently underway in our country and in our culture.

By mid-to-late summer, the effort to redefine marriage may be front and center with potential Supreme Court rulings during this time.

As you know, August 1, 2013, is the deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS contraceptive mandate. Without a resolution to this matter that respects the conscience rights of individuals, Catholic Americans face religious persecution. Our religious freedom is also threatened in other areas, including: immigration, adoption, and humanitarian services.

For these reasons, I’m urging you to participate in the U.S. Bishops’ “Call to Prayer” and I’m asking you to encourage the faithful you serve to do the same.

The U.S. Catholic bishops have launched a pastoral strategy that addresses the necessity of prayer and prayerful action with regard to three key issues: Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty. This past November, the bishops approved a 5-part “Call to Prayer” strategy with an overall focus of rebuilding our culture into one that is favorable to life and marriage and for increased protections of religious liberty. “Call to Prayer” components include:

Monthly Eucharistic Holy Hours
Daily family Rosary
Special Prayers of the Faithful at all Masses
Fasting and abstinence from meat on Fridays
The second observance of a Fortnight for Freedom

As Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco recently stated, “The pastoral strategy is essentially a call and encouragement to prayer and sacrifice–it’s meant to be simple.” He added that, “It’s not meant to be another program but rather part of a movement for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty, which engages the New Evangelization and can be incorporated into the Year of Faith. Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty are not only foundational to Catholic social teaching but also fundamental to the good of society.”

The USCCB is providing a variety of resources to assist you with this vital prayer movement. Visit www.usccb.org/life-marriage-liberty for more information. Your participation can and will make all the difference.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson