Wednesday, June 01, 2011

New Approach to First Fridays

First Fridays are back! (Well, they never really went anywhere, but perhaps Catholic attention to them has waned substantially.) This year, the US bishops are redirecting our attention to the day Catholic devotion focuses on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, "burning with love for us," and proposing a year-long observance that can both help us pay more attention to Jesus and his self-sacrificing love and grow in awareness of the "least of his brethren." It's an adaptation of the tradition of meatless Fridays (funny how our culture is now promoting "meatless Mondays" for the sake of the environment, after Catholics pretty much let go of the meatless Fridays in honor of the Lord's passion). Instead of simply going meat-free in your meals, the bishops are suggesting "fasting" in the form of meals limited to what your family could afford if you qualified for government aid.  (It ends up being meatless simply because meat is so expensive!)

This is not just a "feel good" social solidarity experiment: each First Friday will be connected to our Catholic spirituality through a theme that unites our spiritual tradition with the Gospel works of mercy.  For this coming first Friday of June, falling as it does in the weeks preceding the Solemnities of the Body and Blood of the Lord and of the Sacred Heart, the theme is "A Eucharistic Response to Hunger."
Learn more on the First Friday program's Facebook page!

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