Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
Prayer is the one indispensable element in any undertaking or
strategy. Whatever other elements may be needed, if prayer is
not the absolute and essential action, the effort will
ultimately be unsuccessful.
As we are so very much aware, a number of crucial decisions
will be made by the U.S. Supreme Court in its current session
that will conclude at the end of June.
Oral arguments have already been made regarding the issue of
abortion - specifically, the constitutionality of health and
safety standards enacted in Texas for abortion facilities. On
March 23, oral arguments will be presented regarding the
Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious groups and
institutions that will be forced to provide insurance
coverage for contraception and abortifacients to their
employees, contrary to their conscience and to the principle
of religious freedom.
I invite all the members of our diocesan family to join me in
a novena of prayer and penance from March 14 to March 22, the
day preceding the oral arguments in the Little Sisters of the
Poor case. The elements of this novena should include some or
all of the following: personal and/or communal prayer,
participation in the Holy Mass (if not on all 9 days, at
least on some of them), specific forms of penance (such as
fasting), and the use of either a prayer to Saint Joseph
(March is the month of his patronage of the Universal Church
and of the family), or the diocesan prayer for the conversion
of hearts to protect religious freedom, the sanctity of human
life and the sanctity of marriage, or both. (See the prayers
Moreover, I invite all the members of our diocesan family to
join me in prayerful observance of each of the First Fridays
of April, May, and June. Our participation should include:
taking part in the Holy Mass, some form of penance, and
invoking the intercessory prayer of the Lord Jesus Whose
Sacred Heart continues to beat with love for the conversion
of those still blind. A holy hour is likewise encouraged on
each of these First Fridays.
Obviously, I leave to each person the concrete "how" of
making this novena in March and of intentional prayer and
penance on the First Fridays of April, May, and June. What is
absolutely essential is that our diocesan family be united in
prayer and penance from now until the end of June.
So much hope is to be found in our united prayer and penance!
Let us then be joined together in these ways, clinging to the
Lord Jesus, and imploring the intercession of Our Blessed
Mother, and of our diocesan patrons Saint Thomas More and
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Thanking you for joining me in this intentional prayer, I
Faithfully in the Heart of Christ,
Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde
Bishop of Arlington
Novena to St. Joseph
O Glorious St. Joseph, whose power it is to render possible
things which are impossible, come to my aid in the present
difficulty and distress.
Take the impossible and difficult affair which I recommend to
you under your special care and protection that it may have a
O Glorious St. Joseph, let it not be said that we have
invoked thee in vain. Since thou art so powerful with Jesus
and Mary, show that thy goodness equals thy power.
Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, we come before you to entrust our
prayers and petitions for our Church, nation and families.
We pray for the conversion of hearts to protect religious
freedom, the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of
We beg for your mercy and forgiveness for ways we have turned
from your love, and pray in reparation for those sins
committed against life and freedom.
We pray that our hearts be united to yours in order that all
mankind may come together to worship and adore you in unity
rooted in love and mercy.
We do this through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother,
Mary Immaculate; St. Joseph, Guardian of the Church; St.
Thomas More and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, our diocesan
patrons; and all the angels and saints.