Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider. (Edward Pentin/EWTN News)
The intentions for this 40-day “crusade,” announced last week by Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, are focused on the upcoming Amazonian Synod.
Leaders of an international movement known as the Holy League of Nations have pledged their support, prayers and sacrifice, in response to a call from Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider.
The intentions for this “crusade” were focused on the upcoming Amazon Synod, and clearly stated concerns that “theological errors and heresies inserted in the instrumentum laboris may not be approved during the synodal assembly.” Also included in the intentions for this prayer crusade was that “Pope Francis, in the exercise of the Petrine ministry, may confirm his brethren in the faith by an unambiguous rejection of the errors of the instrumentum laboris and that he may not consent to the abolition of priestly celibacy in the Latin Church by introducing the praxis of the ordination of married men, the so-called ‘viri probati,’ to the Holy Priesthood.”
Fr. Richard Heilman, who heads the U.S. branch of the “Holy League” — known as the “U.S. Grace Force,” published a short response, less than an hour after news broke Thursday. In it, he instructs the more than 57,000 men and women currently enrolled in the 54-day Rosary Novena leading to Oct. 13, U.S. Rosary Coast to Coast, in what he calls the “battle plan”:
“Sept. 17 – Oct. 26 (40 Days): Add this intention to your daily Rosary: “Prevent approval of serious theological errors and heresies.”
Sept. 17 – Oct. 26 (40 Days): Add a day of fasting. Recommend Fridays and/or Wednesdays.
Sept. 29 (Feast of St. Michael) – Oct. 7 (Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary) (9 Days): Add the Chaplet of St. Michael.
Oct. 6 – Oct. 26 (Amazon Synod in Rome): Per Bishop Strickland call, add the Novena to the Sacred Heart with the intention stated.”
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The Register contacted Fr. Heilman, along with a number of the international leaders for the “Holy League of Nations,” to comment on their support of Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider’s “Crusade of Prayer and Fasting.”
Q. Fr. Heilman, initial reaction to the call for fasting and prayer has been mixed. Some are claiming that this is not enough — that very little will come from laymen praying and fasting, without shepherds such as Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider issuing real corrections to the heresies they claim are in the working document. The U.S. Grace Force, along with multiple countries within the Holy League have pledged to answer this call. Please tell me how you would answer cynics, and why you believe prayer and fasting will be answered.
A. Whether this is a popular view or not, I have taken virtually all of my cues from Cardinal Burke, and many other spiritual giants of our time. I include Bishop Schneider among those giants.
I remain astounded — maybe shocked is a better word — when I hear from Catholics, at times prelates, who say something like, “very little will come from laymen praying and fasting.” Have we completely lost our belief and respect in the supernatural power of God?
Perhaps this is why I cling to these spiritual giants, and take the others with a grain of salt. Of course, prayer and fasting are exactly what we should be doing. Whether it is Sacred Scripture, or revelations/apparitions such as Our Lady of Fatima, the very first thing we are called to do is to pray — and pray with intensity. Fasting, we have been taught, adds intensity to our prayer.
Of course, this “crusade for prayer and fasting” is not a substitute for action, but a power that feeds action, and keeps it aligned with the will of God. God will act; we will act, but it will be done through the supernatural power of God.”
Joining her voice to that of Fr. Heilman’s, Dagmar Adames, the laywoman who leads a Central and South American network of prayer from Panama, responded that, “‘Rosario sin Fronteras’ will join the U.S. (in this crusade of prayer and sacrifice). You can count on that. We are working and praying for the success of this, along with the events on October 13.”
From India, lay leader Melissa Miranda and her team of clergy responded that her network — which estimated in the millions, last year — would participate in the call for prayer and fasting, intending “that the Holy Spirit may guide the Church in the right direction.”
In Mexico, lay leader Gaby Pacheco, responded, “From Mexico, we join through www.cristoenlinea.tv. In the end the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph!”
Fr Heilman concluded, exhorting all who would read or hear of this “Crusade of Prayer and Fasting,” to consider joining forces. “Please, please let’s do the ‘Nineveh thing,’ and join Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider — and the world — in humbling ourselves as we call out, with every fiber of our being, to Almighty God during this challenging time!”
Bree A. Dail is the international coordinator for Rosary Coast to Coast and the Holy League of Nations.