As we approach the fourth year of #GivingTuesday, the time of year during which the charitable season is recognized as having started after the crass commercialism of post-Thanksgiving Holiday events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the Diocese of St. Petersburg (@DioStPete) and Catholic Charities (@CCDOSP) has decided to focus on prayer as a focal point for the event. We call this #PrayItForward! So on December 1st, we ask you to focus on the true meaning of the Advent season and pray for any of four (4) causes shown below. Together, through prayer, we can make a difference! Financial donations are always necessary and welcome, however, Our Father tells us prayer is powerful:
Mt 7:7 – “Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.:
Mt 21:22 – “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Jm 5:15-16 – “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven…The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
One such often forgotten need for prayer is for those on our state’s death row. As Catholics, we believe in the sanctity of life and therefore its protection from conception to natural death. Capital punishment, while sanctioned in only the most extreme circumstances, is predominantly unnecessary and importantly often frequently biased and unfair. Many who lost their lives were later found to be innocent. Many others have been saved from the death penalty due to advances in science (e.g., DNA testing) that later proved their innocence. That is why the Diocese of St. Petersburg is hosting an Interfaith Prayer Service for the End to the Death Penalty on November 30th at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle at seven o’clock in the evening.
In addition to praying for an End to the Death Penalty (1), the Diocese of St. Petersburg ministries ask your prayers for the following:
- Vocations to the Priesthood, Diaconate and Religious Life (2)
- Households of Faith (3)
The final cause for which we ask your prayer is one we at Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg are focusing on as one of the most divisive issues facing our society; that of Refugees (4). As one of the leading agents for helping our fellow humans escape the violence, physical mutilation, starvation, deprivation, and death they face in war-torn regions throughout the world, our mission is informed by Church teaching to help those in need and do our part to preserve life. While we recognize the legitimate concerns of others, we are called by Christ’s own teachings and our Holy Father, Pope Francis, who spoke so eloquently to the U.S. Congress on the subject of immigration (“Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War…We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather…respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal…Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – Mt 7:12), coupled with the first-hand knowledge that our refugees took anywhere between one-to-two (typical) and ten years (an extreme case) to be vetted and processed, to aid those seeking the safety and tranquility of our shores. For them and those millions who are unable to make it to our great nation, we ask you to pray the prayer above.
In addition to focusing on the spiritual and praying for one or all of the causes mentioned above, what else can you do?
1) Spread the word to all your friends and family: email, text, tweet, instagram and/or post on Facebook! Direct your contacts to this page: GivingTuesday-PrayItForward Story AND to the Diocese of St. Petersburg at GivingTuesday-PrayItForward Information to learn more and RSVP your intention to pray!
2) Encourage your co-workers and friends to join our prayer warriors!
3) As you make the commitment to pray either at the beginning of Advent (November 29th) or for #GivingTuesday on December 1st, go the DOSP website (address/link above) and download one of the four prayer cards and take an #UNselfie you can share on social media.