The Purification of the Church

“Could you not watch with me one hour?”

Last weekend in my parish I preached on the current scandals in the Church and our response to them. You may be interested in reading that homily here. In it, I encouraged prayer and fasting for the purification of the Church. This weekend, then, I am publishing the following letter and list in my parish bulletin. I reproduce it here and invite you to join in this initiative also.

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Dear Parish Family,

At Masses last weekend (July 28-29), my preaching addressed the topic of the recent grave scandals in the Church involving bishops/cardinals and sexual predation. If you missed that homily, you might consider reading it online (HERE).

The “takeaway” from my homily was that we need to pray and fast for the purification of the Church. I especially encouraged that this be done on Thursdays – the day that Christ instituted the holy priesthood; but of course, any day/time is fine! The Lord has chosen us to live in this moment, so we must ask him how he wants us to respond. There is much righteous anger – but anger is not enough: we need to take holy and meaningful action.

The following, therefore, is a list of suggestions. Since, in our time, fasting is not a common spiritual practice, many are at a loss on where to start. In this regard, “fasting” should be understood as “making sacrifices”; thus, many of the things listed have nothing to do with food or drink. I hope that you will consider adding at least one such sacrifice to your week and offering it, with a prayer, for the purification of the Church.

Finally, we must not forget that the reform of the Church begins with you and with me: we are all called to be saints, and our Lord invites us anew to respond to that call.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Very Reverend Bryan W. Jerabek, J.C.L.
Pastor and Rector

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Suggested Prayers for the Purification of the Church (all can be easily located by web search)

The Litany of St. Joseph
The Memorare
The “Anima Christi” of St. Ignatius of Loyola
The St. Michael Prayer
The Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Morning Offering
The “My Queen and My Mother” Prayer
The Holy Rosary
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
The “St. Francis Peace Prayer”
The “Suscipe” Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola (“Take, Lord, and receive, all my liberty…”)

Suggested Fasting/Acts of Sacrifice for the Purification of the Church

Omit cream/sugar in coffee/tea
Take a cool shower instead of a hot one
Skip an episode of your show & pray/read instead
Skip a meal or skip snacks
Skip your evening wine/cocktail if you do that
Turn off the radio in the car
Skip a day on social media
If you’re a napper, skip a nap
Add some concrete service to the poor
Cook a meal for an elderly/sick neighbor
Say a special prayer for those who annoy you
Call someone you’ve been avoiding
Get up five minutes earlier and add some prayers
Fight against any time-wasting you may do
Donate money saved from making sacrifices
Pray kneeling instead of sitting
Get to know local priests, deacons, and religious
Make a list before you shop and stick to it
Fast for 2 hours before Communion instead of 1
Visit a nursing home
Don’t eat meat on all Fridays
Skip chocolate or sweets for a day
Clean out your closets and donate to charity
For ladies: don’t wear makeup one day
Park farther away at the store & say a prayer on the way in for those who were driving poorly on the way
Go out of your way to stop at the church or adoration chapel to say your prayers
Make the extra effort to come up with 5 unique things for which you are grateful and thank God
Resolve to come to Mass five minutes earlier and spend time in prayer
Resolve to spend a few minutes after the final hymn is over at Mass to thank God before leaving

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8 Responses to The Purification of the Church

  1. John P.C. says:

    Attending daily Mass might just be the way to respond for it is through Him, With Him and In Him that we will achieve the changes needed.

    • Thanks, John. Daily Mass is a good addition to the list, and one I had thought of including earlier, but then forgot while composing it under time constraints!

  2. Diana B. says:

    Thank you Fr. Jerabek will share this with friends and family. God bless

  3. Kathryn Anthony says:

    Thank you, Father Jerabek. One looks for a way to speak to this horror among non believers or even so-called Catholics those taught their religion in the present day skim-Truth-Baptise quickly-confirm Church. Kathryn

  4. Is it the Chruch that needs purification or is it the priesthood that needs purification? More to the point specific priest need purification. This is more a personal moral issue rather than an ecclesial issue.

    • The Church is made up of sinners and all of us are in need of purification. And this is much more than a “personal moral issue”; there are major systemic problems. We also believe that the Church is “holy” and we are able to distinguish between the essential holiness of the Church and things like this.

  5. Pilar says:

    Thank you so much Father Jerabek. Our family really needs this. May God bless you and may you always be a courageous and faithful shepherd to your parish flock and those of us in far away dioceses.

  6. Lisa McCord says:

    This is a wonderful idea. It gives us something to do when we feel helpless in keeping our Catholic Church strong during dark times like this.

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