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Day of Prayer and Fasting
September 24, 2020

Inspired by the Holy Spirit and the words of Abraham Lincoln, Christian leaders are asking all believers to join together in a day of prayer and fasting on September 24.

Fr. John Riccardo* explained in a podcast  how this idea came about. In the Old Testament, God was pleased when Solomon, given the chance to receive any blessing from God, asked for wisdom. Father wondered if there was a modern-day equivalent of Solomon. Searching the Internet, Father came upon a “Proclamation of a Day of Fasting” by President Abraham Lincoln just after the start of the Civil War. Father was amazed at the similarity to the situation in our country today:

“…whereas, when our own beloved Country, once, by the blessing of God, united, prosperous and happy, is now afflicted by faction and civil war, it is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation; and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals, to humble ourselves before Him and pray for His mercy…to pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved; that our arms may be blessed and made effectual for the re-establishment of law, order, and peace, throughout the wide extent of our country; and that the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing, by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its original excellence…

“Therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do appoint the last Thursday in September next, as a day of humiliation, prayer and fasting for all the people of the nation.

“I earnestly recommend to all the people, especially all ministers and teachers of all denominations, and to all heads of families, to observe and keep that day according to their several creeds and modes of worship, in all humility and with all religious solemnity, to the end that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace and bring down plentiful blessings upon our Country.”

Following this example, spiritual leaders are calling for a Day of Prayer and Fasting on the last Thursday in September, the 24th, that God will be merciful to our nation and heal our hearts. This is not about the election but the division in our country.

We are asking everyone to join us in this effort by prayer and fasting on this day. Fasting could be liquids and one evening meal, bread and water, or giving up something that is extremely difficult.

Please get the word out through friends, family, social media. We invite you to make copies of this article and leave in prominent spaces—Catholic bookstores, parishes, schools, bulletin boards, etc.

The situation in our country is beyond human remedy. Let us “humble ourselves before Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these United States and for a speedy restoration of peace.” (The History Place—Proclamation of a Day of Fasting by the President of the United States.)

* Fr. John Riccardo, former pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel, has been assigned by Archbishop Vigneron as leader of a new non-profit organization known as Acts XXIX, whose task it is to revitalize parish ministry in the Archdiocese.

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