Will You Fast for Me?

Like most priests and faithful Catholics, for that matter, I get many requests for prayers. Parishioners will approach me after Mass requesting inclusion in my prayers because they have a health issue or another concern. If I don’t pray with them right then, I make a mental note to include them as I recall my prayer intentions before reciting the Liturgy of the Hours daily.


While I get many prayer requests, I can’t ever recall anyone asking me to fast or abstain for their intention. It would be very unusual for anyone to approach me after Mass asking that I give up a meal, dessert today, or that third cup of coffee tomorrow morning as a sacrifice for their intentions.


The novelty of having anyone ask me to fast for them came to mind when I read that Pope Francis requested prayers and fasting for Afghanistan during his Noon Angelus talk last Sunday. In his remarks, Pope Francis asked, “I appeal to everyone to intensify prayer and to practice fasting, prayer, and penance. This is the time to do it. I am speaking seriously: Intensify prayer and practice fasting, asking the Lord for mercy and pardon.” I decided to have a meatless dinner on Tuesday evening.


Fasting and meatless Fridays used to be a vital sign of Catholic culture. Even non-Catholics made an effort to facilitate Catholics who abstained from meat on Fridays. Recently, in an article for America Media, “It’s time for Catholics to go back to no meat on every Friday (not just during Lent),” Doug Girardot encouraged the practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays.


Many Catholics believe that meatless Fridays were done away with after Vatican II. Girardot reminds us that Canon Law still encouraged Catholics to fast and abstain on all Fridays throughout the year. In 1966, because eating meat had become such a commonplace food in American culture, US Bishops allowed for the practice of other forms of fasting and abstaining on Fridays as a substitute for meat. They never completely did away with the requirement for some form of Friday abstinence.


Girardot is a recent college graduate and so not familiar with the pre-Vatican II practice of mandatory abstinence from meat. But, in his article, he advocated for meatless Fridays as a response to global warming. Cattle production is a severe source of carbon pollution. It is estimated to cause one-tenth of American greenhouse gas emissions. Each year 10 million acres of tropical forest is cut down to provide grazing land for cattle. If the one billion Catholics worldwide returned to the practice of making Friday’s meatless, we could seriously impact the greenhouse gas emissions caused by cattle raising.


It might also be worth considering abstaining from seafood on Fridays. In a fishing port like Chatham, we are aware that overfishing is threatening many fishing species. Consider making Friday meals entirely plant-based. We can support the fishing industry on another day of the week.


This Friday, I plan to make my meals plant-based. I’ll abstain as a gesture of sacrifice for all those on my prayer list. Join me in fasting and prayer for the people of Afghanistan, the needy, and those who have asked for our prayers.


Rebooting Our Music Ministry

Cheryl Dueer, our new Music Director, is preparing to restart our choir. She plans a “Getting to Know You Gathering” on her deck and backyard on Wednesday, September 8, from 5-7 pm. Her address is: 86 Stone Ridge Rd, Brewster. Please RSVP to cduerr@holyredeemerchatham.org by Sunday, September 5.


She would like to start choir rehearsals begin Wednesday, September 15, at 5 pm but wonders if this is reasonable now or should wait until later in the fall. Drop Cheryl an email address letting her know if you plan to attend the rehearsal. The choir will follow these precautions during rehearsals: Singers will be masked, spaced at a distance, and practice kept to 1 hour. In the future, rehearsal time may be extended and start later to accommodate those who work. For those who do not like to drive in the evening, we have rides available. All interested singers are invited to attend.


Cantors and instrumentalists are also needed. If you enjoy singing in the shower or around the house, please talk to Cheryl about sharing your musical gifts. Nonmusical gifts are also needed. 

We want to bring back the Worship Aid. If you have experience with desktop publishing, please share that talent. You can email Cheryl or Father Sullivan. 


Annual Collection Progresses

The Holy Redeemer Parish Annual Collection continues through September. Registered parishioners received a follow-up mailing this week. Extra pledge cards are available in the pews for those who did not receive one. Please prayerfully consider the amount of your donation to this year’s Annual Collection. As of Tuesday, ----- parish households have donated $ --- to the collection.


Haiti Relief Appeal

This weekend, we will take up a second collection for Haitian relief. Online contributors can make donations on our website www.holyredeemerchatham.org. Donations will go to Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities to help Haitians experiencing so much suffering. Please be exceptionally generous.


Hearing Aid Found

A hearing aid was found after the 4:30 pm Mass at Our Lady of Grace last Saturday. It is in the sacristy waiting to be returned to the owner. We will have it in the parish office next week.


BC Alumni Club Golf Tournament for St. John Paul II High School

The Boston College Alumni Club of Cape Cod will hold its Annual Golf Tournament on Friday, September 10, 2021, at the Kings Way Golf Course in Yarmouthport. Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the St. John Paul II High School Scholarship Fund. All golfers are invited to participate. Nongolfers are encouraged to participate by sponsoring a hole. For more information, contact Bob Connor by email at bcclubcapecod@gmail.com.


Thank You for Kitchen Kits

Sincere thanks to the parishioners of Holy Redeemer who contributed to our St. Joseeph’s House Homeless Shelter Kitchen Kit program.  Hundreds of essentials were purchased to aid residents lucky enough to secure permanent housing.  Thanks too to the folks who transported the donations and assembled the Kits.  Your giving of time, talent and treasure are appreciated. Here at Holy Redeemer we only have to ask and our wonderful people give with true generosity.