Fast 4 Francis: Welcome the Holy Father


Yesterday, Tommy Tighe wrote about the report that about 31% of Catholics are completely unaware that the Pope will be here next month.

Clearly that 31% lives nowhere near Philadelphia, because everyone around here, Catholic or not, knows that the Pope is coming and that the city is going to just completely shut down. Or the world will end as we know it. Or something like that. It’s all-catastrophe, all the time around here.

While you won’t catch me anywhere near Philly during the Pope’s visit, I think it’s very cool that he’ll be here–and it’s good for the city. Really, it is. I think the mayor’s going a bit overkill on the lockdown part, but the visit is a good thing.

But no matter where you live, you can do something to help prepare for the Pope’s visit.

You can fast, and you can pray.

It’s Spiritual Bouquet time–for the Pope.

Fast4Francis is an opportunity for participants to embrace the Pope’s visit as an invitation to a deeper faith life and to pray for his safe travel leading up to and throughout his visit to the USA.

Darcie Nielsen, Assistant Director of Live the Fast, says “Prayers (novenas) and fasting together are powerful tools used in preparation for important events. This is a proactive effort to stimulate a fervent environment of prayer and faith for our Holy Father’s visit.”

The Fast4Francis novena will take place September 18-26, the nine days leading up to the pope’s arrival in Philadelphia.  Anyone from any faith may take part in the nine day fast. There are various tracks of fasting that participants can take part in. All tracks of fasting involve giving up certain foods, praying the prayers of the novena and taking part in a sacrament (like Holy Mass or Reconciliation). For example, Track 1 involves giving up coffee, Track 2, fasting from snacks and dessert, Track 3 involves skipping one meal, Tracks 4 and 5 bread and water fasts. Since prayer, fasting and almsgiving are inseparable, participants are invited to choose one of the Works of Mercy as well. Participants may also begin in one track and move to another or combine tracks during the nine day novena. For those who cannot fast, spending more time in prayer and/or going to adoration for the nine days is an ideal alternative.  As well, fasting can also entail giving up social media or television.

Pope Francis has said, “Fasting makes sense if it really chips away at our security and, as a consequence, benefits someone else, if it helps us cultivate the style of the good Samaritan, who bent down to his brother in need and took care of him.”

Want to learn more? Visit the Fast 4 Francis site and learn about the several suggested ways to fast and pray in preparation for the Holy Father’s trip to the USA.

Want to spread the word? You can print and share this flyer about Fast 4 Francis.

Image and press release material provided by Live the Fast. All rights reserved.

Desperately Seeking Loopholes

Not me. It’s TheKid.

After lamenting the fact that today’s snow day had fallen on Mardi Gras, thus depriving him and his classmates of donuts in “at least 3 classes,” he gleefully informed us that since he’s diabetic, he can have all the meat he wants, any time he wants.


“You don’t have to fast because you’re diabetic, but there’s nothing in diabetes that prevents you from abstaining from meat for a day,” we told him.

BACON“Yes, there is,” he shot back. “BACON!”

I miss the good old days, when he voluntarily gave up sprinkles for Lent. Sacrifice is a much harder sell for a 12-year-old, especially one who already uses every ounce of self-discipline he has and measures his snacks instead of just blindly sticking his hand into the pretzel bag like all his friends get to do.

But there will be no bacon tomorrow, Kid.

It’s the Little Things

I found this article “How to Practice Mortification without Outing Yourself as a Catholic” via Lisa, Franciscat, who posted it on facebook. It’s got 5 suggestions for little ways to help you grow in your spiritual life, without being all obvious about it. After all, “when you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” (Matthew 6:16)

You don’t have to wait until Lent to fast–even from little things. This article is worth the read–and it’s even got some humor in it.