Time to play some armchair liturgist, my friends. Here’s part of an e-mail attachment I was sent by a parishioner:
During the last few months, I have been praying that we formulate a successful plan to educate Catholics about the evils of embryonic stem-cell research and the promises associated with using adult stem cells for medical cures.
So, here are my ideas:
– Ask (or require) all of the priests in the Diocese at every Sunday Mass to include in the petitions one that is about stem-cell research. You could even furnish them some example petitions. One might be: “For an end to embryonic stem-cell research that destroys human life, let us pray to the Lord!”
– Once a month, encourage the priests to talk about why embryonic stem-cell research is against the natural law and why we should not support those who promote it. Maybe, they could expand on the subject of abortion in the same homily.
– Continue the small gatherings with John Morris and the excellent articles in the Key.
– Continue to get as much free press as possible and encourage others to write editorials.
I was asked to include a weekly petition against ESCR here at my parish, setting an example, one might say.
Some may argue that repeating these kinds of petitions until the embryonic stem-cell research goes away is an over kill. My response is that parishioners are used to having the same petitions given on a regular basis, such as those for ending the war or those for increasing religious vocations.
How would you respond? Here are the suggestions I sent back:
– We have monthly Eucharistic adoration now. If we had 23 people signed up with the specific intention of ending ESCR, that might help, especially if it were publicized.
– If 23 seems too much, we’ll have the same in Lent, for five hours on Tuesdays: that might be a start.
– Adoration may be punctuated with public prayer. Perhaps a designated hour of 24-hour adoration could include specific prayers and a reading or two at the beginning and end, and the time in church populated by people who feel strongly about the issue and want to pray in solidarity.
– We might consider a prayer service at another time dedicated to this intention. When I was in Iowa, I assisted the pro-life committee in my parish with an annual Rosary for Life. We also did an annual Sunday Vespers for another issue, the specifics of which escape my memory at the moment. We could do something large and promote well. We could try something less ambitious, but more regular: monthly or even weekly.
Weekly Sunday petition or not: what do you think?