Eco Catholic: Catholics in the U.S. will fast Monday as part of an international campaign geared toward greater awareness of and unity on climate change.
Real fasting isn't just restricting food choices. It must also include cleansing the heart of all selfishness and making room in one's life for those in need and those who have sinned and need healing, Pope Francis said.
Faith without concrete acts of charity is not only hypocritical, "it is dead. What good is it?" he asked, criticizing those who hide behind a veil of piety while unjustly treating others, such as denying workers fair wages, a pension and health care.
Eco Catholic: More than 40 countries plan to participate in the Lenten Fast for Climate Justice. Find out when your country's fasting day is.
In light of the recent political, military and social conflicts taking place around the world, Catholics and other Christians have found reason to come together in faith to pray for world peace and healing.
The 22nd International Week of Prayer and Fasting will take place Sept. 20-28. Organizers are encouraging individuals, families and parishes around the world to participate by fasting, attending daily Mass, prayer services and Holy Hours, going to confession, and praying the rosary and the Divine Mercy chaplet.
Pope Francis criticized those who practice fasting as a mere ritual, rather than as a sacrifice representative of a religion of love.
The pope made his remarks March 7, the first Friday of Lent, in his homily at morning Mass in the Vatican guesthouse, where he lives.
"These hypocritical people are good persons," he said, referring to the Pharisees who criticized Jesus and his followers for not fasting as required by Jewish law. "They do all they should do. They seem good. But they are ethicists without goodness because they have lost the sense of belonging to a people."
The traditional Lenten practice of fasting is being paired with the latest round of Fast for Families, intended to bring attention to the campaign for immigration reform.
From the interfaith clergy to the civil rights heroes, from the union activists and community organizers to one of the youngest members of Congress, those involved in an event Tuesday spanned the wide range of people working to keep Washington's attention on comprehensive immigration reform.
Marking the 22nd day of the Fast for Families, a prayer-and-fasting activity being observed around the country as well, four people who had consumed only water for 22 days broke their fast and symbolically handed over the role to others.
As an icy wind whipped the sides of a packed tent, five activists committed themselves Tuesday to fast from food and drink and to camp in front of the U.S. Capitol until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform.
"I know that there are going to be difficult days ahead of me," said Eliseo Medina from the Service Employees International Union. "I know that going without food will not be easy and I know that I will suffer physical hunger.