Archbishop Aymond's pastoral letter for Lent 2012 asks people to make an extra day of fasting and abstinence to help in the New Battle of New Orleans.
In a letter distributed to area church parishes last week, Archbishop Aymond asks area Catholics to join him in prayer and fasting specifically for the New Battle of New Orleans initiative, a campaign of prayer and action the archbishop announced on Ash Wednesday of 2011.
“Traditionally, Lent is a time when we embrace prayer, fasting and sacrifice that we may undergo the conversion and change of heart to which God calls us,” he writes. He goes on to write, “I am inviting us as disciples of Christ to do more. I am asking you to join me in choosing one day a week for the six weeks of Lent to pray and fast for the Battle of New Orleans. Jesus says some evils can be driven out only by ‘prayer and fasting’ (Matthew 17:21).”
The Battle of New Orleans campaign is one targeted at bringing an end to violence, murder and racism in the New Orleans community. Last year, Catholic churches in the archdiocese began reciting a special prayer titled, Our Family Prayer, at all Masses during Lent and it continues to be recited at all weekend and Holy Day Masses. In the letter, Archbishop Aymond asks that the practice of reading it at all Masses be restarted for the Lenten season. In terms of action, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans launched Isaiah 43, a specially designed parenting and mentoring program, at three area churches to serve as pilot sites in fall 2011. The parenting and mentoring program is based on Catholic principles and moral teachings focused on the dignity of the human person and the family. More sites will be announced throughout 2012.
The archbishop instructed that the letter be read at all Masses on Ash Wednesday (February 22) and be made available in print form the weekend of the first Sunday of Lent, February 26.