To the editor:
The April monthly edition of the Courier featured a story on the Church regulations for fasting and abstaining for Catholics on Fridays outside of the Lenten season ("The fine print about Fridays"). One important reference missing from the article is from the pastoral letter on war and peace, The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response,issued by the U.S. Bishops May 13, 1983, which provided an important rationale for maintaining the optional penance outside of Lent.
"As a tangible sign of our need and desire to do penance we for the cause of peace commit ourselves to fast and abstinence on each Friday by eating less food and by abstaining from meat. This return to a traditional practice of penance, once well observed in the U.S. Catholic Church, should be accompanied by works of charity and service toward our neighbor. Every Friday should be a day significantly devoted to prayer, penance and almsgiving for peace" (#298).
Perhaps a voluntary return to this Friday practice as suggested several years ago by the bishops can rekindle within us a recommitment to a conversion of heart against violence in all its forms and proactive peace-making initiatives.
Rev. Kevin E. McKenna
Pastor, The Cathedral Community