Beginning the weekend of May 31, which is celebrated by Catholics as Pentecost Sunday, the 83 U.S. Catholic bishops who publicly opposed the University of Notre Dame’s commencement honor for President Obama started to receive “spiritual bouquets,” consisting of hundreds of thousands of pledges by grateful Catholics to offer prayers for the bishops. The prayers, primarily from people who signed The Cardinal Newman Society’s petition opposing the Notre Dame scandal, were offered in thanksgiving for the bishops’ inspiring witness to the importance of Catholic identity.
The request for the prayers was made by The Cardinal Newman Society on the Catholic feast of Ascension Thursday, May 21, and were sent to the bishops on Friday, May 29, in advance of Pentecost Sunday.
Each of the 83 bishops were sent a Spiritual Bouquet certificate which reads:
“On behalf of the members and staff of The Cardinal Newman Society and the more than 367,000 faithful who signed the petition at NotreDameScandal.com, this spiritual bouquet is made on the twenty-ninth day of May Anno Domini Nostri Jesu Christi two thousand and nine in grateful appreciation to the Church’s shepherds who prayerfully provided witness for a strong Catholic identity on Catholic campuses.”
The overwhelming prayer response in the spiritual bouquet includes:
Mass Intentions: 116,741
Divine Mercy Chaplets: 74,974
General Prayers: 236,615
Eucharistic Holy Hour: 37,125
Holy Rosaries: 146,944
Days of Fasting: 28,862
In addition to these prayers, Catholic priests offered 3,272 Holy Sacrifices of the Mass for the bishops.
“Our bishops deserve our support and prayers for their defense of Catholic identity, and as the battle for the soul of Catholic campuses continues, the bishops will need them more than ever,” said Patrick J. Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society.