James Ennis, executive director of Catholic Rural Life urges Catholics to fast and pray in response to recent news in the church. Here is his letter:

“The past several weeks have been very difficult for many Catholics as revelations of misdeeds and cover-ups fill our newsfeeds and social media. The hurt and the anger, the shame and the outrage run deep in all of us. Many Catholics in rural communities are not immune to the violence, pain and anguish caused by some priests and bishops overseeing their respective parishes and dioceses. The pain and hurt, the anger and outrage, the broken trust and broken lives are real.

“Last month on August 20, the Church celebrated the feast day of St. Bernard. He was a man of great holiness and wisdom, and although he was often in poor health, he was active in many of the great public debates of the time. He strongly opposed the corruption of some of the leaders in the Church of that time and wrote prolifically about the need for repentance and reform in the Church. The commentator in the Liturgy of the Hours went on to say, “The Church is always suffering from corruption and always being renewed. If St Bernard, so often ill, could take a leading part in this renewal, what excuse do we have?” The Church is all of us who are followers of Jesus Christ, and we have various roles to serve in helping the Church move forward in repentance and renewal.

“Cardinal N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston Archdiocese and President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in his August 27 statement wrote, “…the recent letter of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò brings particular focus and urgency to this examination. The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence. Without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusation and the guilty may be left to repeat sins of the past.” We support His Eminence’s statement and pray for wisdom and mercy that there may be a fair, just and prompt examination of the facts.

“Finally, there is a great need for prayer and fasting during this painful storm within the Church. Please pray for all of our leaders and pastors within our Church. We all need to grow in holiness and to draw ever nearer to Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit and through the intercession of His Blessed Mother.”