The HHS mandate and the Little Sisters of the Poor:
Pope Francis has reminded us that “In the context of society, there is only one thing which the Church quite clearly demands: the freedom to proclaim the Gospel in its entirety, even when it runs counter to the world, even when it goes against the tide.”
We stand together as pastors charged with proclaiming the Gospel in its entirety. That Gospel calls us to feed the poor, heal the sick, and educate the young, and in so doing witness to our faith in its fullness. Our great ministries of service and our clergy, religious sisters and brothers, and lay faithful, especially those involved in Church apostolates, strive to answer this call every day, and the Constitution and the law protect our freedom to do so.
Yet with its coercive HHS mandate, the government is refusing to uphold its obligation to respect the rights of religious believers. Beginning in March 2012, in United for Religious Freedom, we identified three basic problems with the HHS mandate: it establishes a false architecture of religious liberty that excludes our ministries and so reduces freedom of religion to freedom of worship; it compels our ministries to participate in providing employees with abortifacient drugs and devices, sterilization, and contraception, which violates our deeply-held beliefs; and it compels our faithful people in business to act against our teachings, failing to provide them any exemption at all.
Despite our repeated efforts to work and dialogue toward a solution, those problems remain. Not only does the mandate undermine our ministries’ ability to witness to our faith, which is their core mission, but the penalties it imposes also lay a great burden on those ministries, threatening their very ability to survive and to serve the many who rely on their care.
The current impasse is all the more frustrating because the Catholic Church has long been a leading provider of, and advocate for, accessible, life-affirming health care. We would have preferred to spend these recent past years working toward this shared goal instead of resisting this intrusion into our religious liberty. We have been forced to devote time and resources to a conflict we did not start nor seek.
(Taken from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. http://www.usccb.org/news/2013/13-210.cfm)
Dear Friends, could you be so kind as to post this in your church bulletin from the Little Sisters of the Poor in Gallup. Thank you and God bless you all!
It is less than a month to the oral argument before the Supreme Court for the protection of religious liberty and the ruling of the HHS Mandate. We, the Little Sisters of the Poor at Villa Guadalupe, are preparing a prayer plan to follow before the 23rd of March and we are inviting all of our friends to join us when they can. It is as follows:
1. Every day at 3:00 PM, the hour of mercy, we will pray together the Divine Mercy chaplet until April
3rd, Divine Mercy Sunday.
A. We will start the Novena for Divine Mercy on Good Friday until Divine Mercy Sunday.
2. We will designate MARCH 15TH as a day where the Little Sisters, Residents, AJJ Associates, Staff, Pro
Life groups and all of Gallup if possible as a “12 hours to Watch and Pray with Our Lord for Religious
A. We will have a sign-up form for an Honor Guard to assure a prayerful presence that day begin-
ning at 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM.
B. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will be during the 12 hours except during the 11:00 AM
Mass that day.
During these special prayer times let us beg our Lord to “hear the cry of the poor” for our need to preserve the
God-given law of freedom of conscience in the practice of religious liberty which is being threatened by the government’s contraceptive mandate.
God love and bless you!
The Little Sisters of the Poor at Villa Guadalupe