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Fasting is not dead! As the Orthodox faithful prepare to enter into a two-week fast in preparation for the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, the Catholic Church is asking Her faithful to increase their offering and fast on Friday, July 29 as a response to the “barbaric murder” of Father Jacques Hamel that took place in the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen,France.
Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen was recorded as saying, “I cry out to God, with all men of good will. And I invite all non-believers to unite with this cry … The Catholic Church has no other weapons besides prayer and fraternity between men.”
The article, “French bishops declare day of fasting after priest’s murder” on the Catholic News Agency, states that during World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, Msgr. Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, secretary general of the French Bishops Conference, discussed the decision July 26.
“What happened in France had happened in other countries before, and actually we see Christians laying down their lives in the interests of their faith,” he told journalists gathered in Krakow for World Youth Day.
“They die because they are objects of hate and this for a fact gives us an additional motivation to live the life of fraternity we are called to.”
Saying the attackers were terrorists, Msgr. Dumas stressed that in the midst of shock and sadness following the attack, Christians must not let evil and violence dominate.
He even reminded those listening that the violence isn’t only against Christians. “Many more Muslims than Christians are killed because they are Muslims, so we pray and we are going to pray at Mass in a few minutes for peace and for all those who are killed because they believe in God.”
World Youth Day, which officially begins today, offers a special chance for reflection, he added: “We should see the horizon, the horizon of peace, of joy, brotherhood and prayer. We are rooted in our faith and in Christ and we believe that evil and violence will not have the upper hand.”
As Orthodox Faithful, we believe in the power of prayer. But more so, we wholeheartedly remember Jesus’ instruction to His disciples that some things require “prayer and fasting.” (Mather 17:21). Please consider joining the faithful in the fast on the first fifteen days in August.
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