Friday, July 29, 2011

National Day of Prayer for Marriage - Aug 29

Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."
Mark 10:27
France had its Joan of Arc, we have Shawn Hernandez of Rochester, Minnesota.
Acting on an inspiration that came to her during Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, a 25 year-old Minnesota woman has launched the first national day of prayer for marriage which will take place one month from today – on August 29, 2011.

The idea to launch a prayer campaign for marriage came to her one night during prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. On this particular night, she had just finished praying the rosary when the idea to start a campaign popped into her head. At first, she thought it was just her own thoughts, but then she began to wonder if it could be from the Lord.

She prayed, “But Lord, I’m just a simple girl living in Minnesota! How would I get this done?”

Almost instantly, ideas for how to accomplish the mission began to flow through her head.

“But still, in my humanity I questioned it. I asked the Lord for a sign. Not just a small one, some way that I would know for sure this was really what He wanted.”

She went to the front of the chapel and knelt in front of the monstrance. There was a small Bible in the pocket of the kneeler and she had a sudden inclination to open it. The Bible opened to Mark 6:14-29, which is the account of the beheading of St. John the Baptist, who was murdered because he denounced Herod’s unlawful marriage to Herodius.

“Knowing his fight for marriage, even to the point of death, I knew it wasn’t a coincidence, but Providence,” Hernandez said.

She went home and discovered that the feast of the beheading of John the Baptist takes place on August 29 – just enough time for her to put a plan into action.
Shawn has set up a Facebook page and made an announcement through a YouTube video and her blog. Now it is up to the Holy Spirit and all of us to make this dream a reality. She has already drawn support from Susan Brinkmann of Women of Grace who wrote the article I am quoting from.
She called into the Women of Grace daily radio show and her call was taken, which gave her the opportunity to speak to a national audience. By the end of the show, the ministry’s staff journalist offered to write an article about the campaign to get the word out even further.

At this point, the miraculous way her story was unfolding gave her almost as much inspiration as her main motive for launching the campaign – love.

“The meaning of Love has been so torn apart and destroyed,” she said. “One reason for this is the use of birth control. It teaches us to believe the marital act of love is only for pleasure, which means that if children are no longer the fruit of this act of love, homosexual marriage would be permissible because the meaning of marriage would no longer be life. Marriage has lost its meaning. Love has been brought down to meaning something that makes you feel good, which is not love at all. Love is sacrificing. Love is the ultimate gift of self. Love always creates.”

But we know that “with God, all things are possible” (Mark 10:27) and if we join together in prayer, He will hear us and respond.

Therefore, Hernandez is asking individuals, prayer groups, parishes, anyone who wants to participate to make August 29 a special day of prayer for marriage. Pray the rosary, make sacrifices, attend Mass, make a Holy Hour, put an announcement in your parish bulletin, post in on your Facebook page.

“I am asking for anything you can do,” Hernandez says.


  1. The feast day commemorating the beheading of John the Baptist is one of the oldest in Christian tradition. The date of August 29 is agreed upon by Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans and Anglicans. (Although I'm not quite sure if the Orthodox celebrate it on August 29 or September 11 because of their use of the Julian calendar.)

    The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the feast on August 29, as does The Lutheran Church and The Church of England including many other national provinces of the Anglican Communion.

    The Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches also celebrate this feast on August 29. This date in the Julian Calendar, used by the Russian, Macedonian and Serbian Orthodox Churches, corresponds in the present century to 11 September in the Gregorian Calendar. The day is always observed as a day of strict fasting. In some Orthodox cultures pious people will not eat food from a flat plate, use a knife, or eat food that is round in shape on this day.

  2. Thanks for the additional info.

  3. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! God bless you! -Shawn

  4. M and Shawn. You're welcome. :)
    Why can't our bishops come up with an initiative like this? It is up to us, the laity, to lead the Church at times like these. St. Joan of Arc, pray for us.
    - God bless both of you!

  5. Right on, Michael. I think of St. Catherine of Siena and the times she lived in. She wasn't even a religious but a Dominican Tertiary. And she was instrumental in bringing reforms to the Papacy and clergy as can be read in her letters.
    St. Catherine, pray for us as well!

  6. M. Thank you. I didn't know that St. Catherine was not a religious. She is a holy example of how we need to uphold the teachings of the Church in times of crisis. St. Catherine, pray for the leaders of the Church.