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Catholics urged to fast, pray for peace; group plans novena for nation


Bishop Peter A. Libasci of Manchester, N.H., is seen delivering his homily during a Divine Mercy Sunday Mass April 3 at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, N.Y. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic)

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MANCHESTER, N.H. (CNS) -- Bishop Peter A. Libasci of Manchester is urging Catholics to pray and fast for peace in response to the ongoing violence in the U.S. and around the world.

"The current civil unrest in our country, the acts of unspeakable violence in Orlando, Dallas, Baton Rouge, and in Nice, France, the violence and political instability in Turkey, and the ongoing suffering in the Middle East -- all are clear expressions of a rampant evil in our time," Bishop Libasci wrote in a July 17 statement, saying: "Individual Catholics as well as the church as a whole must do more."

The letter, addressed to New Hampshire Catholics, asked them to commit to a day of fasting and partial abstinence Aug. 12. He also directed that special prayers for peace be said at Masses Sunday, Aug. 14, and urged Catholics to also go to Mass Aug. 15 to say additional prayers for peace.

Meanwhile, the Holy League based in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and the Men of Christ are organizing a novena for the nation to take place Aug. 15-Oct. 7.

In his letter, Bishop Libasci also asked "religious leaders of all persuasions, and all people of good will" to join Catholics in solidarity "as a visible sign of hope in our world."

"I am calling on all people to pray for an end to violence," he wrote.

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