The Visit of Pope Benedict XVI evoked for many people the spiritual reality of life and rekindled hope and faith: hope in the goodness that is within people and in our society, and faith in God. Even if it is not easily articulated, a spiritual yearning is to be found within most people. This yearning is found also among Catholics who have lost touch with their faith or whose faith was never deeply rooted in a personal relationship with Christ. Wishing to respond to this yearning but perhaps lacking in confidence in talking about their own spiritual life, many Catholics are asking how they can witness to their faith; what can they do to help introduce their faith in Christ to others in simple and straightforward ways?
The Bishops of England and Wales recognise
that simple acts of witness, accompanied by sincere prayer, can be a
powerful call to faith. Traditional Catholic devotions such as making
the sign of the cross with care and reverence, praying the Angelus,
saying a prayer before and after our meals, to name only a few, are
straightforward actions which both dedicate certain moments in our daily
lives to Almighty God and demonstrate our love and trust in His
goodness and providence. If these devotions have been lost or even
forgotten, particularly in our homes and schools, we have much to gain
from learning and living them again.
The Bishops have looked again
at the role of devotions and the practice of penance, both of which can
help to weave the Catholic faith into the fabric of everyday life. Our
regular worship at Holy Mass on Sunday, the day of the Lord’s
resurrection, is the most powerful outward sign and witness of our faith
in Jesus Christ to our family, friends and neighbours. Sunday must
always remain at the heart of our lives as Catholics.
also wish to remind us that every Friday is set aside as a special day
of penitence, as it is the day of the suffering and death of the Lord.
They believe it is important that all the faithful again be united in a
common, identifiable act of Friday penance because they recognise that
the virtue of penitence is best acquired as part of a common resolve and
The law of the Church requires Catholics on
Fridays to abstain from meat, or some other form of food, or to observe
some other form of penance laid down by the Bishops’ Conference. The
Bishops have decided to re-establish the practice that this penance
should be fulfilled simply by abstaining from meat and by uniting this
to prayer. Those who cannot or choose not to eat meat as part of their
normal diet should abstain from some other food of which they regularly
This decision will come into effect from Friday 16 September 2011.
Emphasis mine, but this is wonderful news!
All read here :http://www.catholic-ew.org.uk/Catholic-Church/Media-Centre/Press-Releases/Press-Releases-2011/Friday-Penance