Metro Detroit priest calls for national day of prayer and fasting to unite country

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Posted at 3:28 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 17:32:46-04

(WXYZ) — Depending on the experts you listen to, the articles you read or the cable channel you watch for your national news, America appears divided. The protesting, the coronavirus, the election – take your pick; it's pretty ugly.

However, a Catholic priest is reaching back to something President Abraham Lincoln used during the Civil War to try to unite the country.

In 2020, there's division erupting from politics, police brutality and COVID-19, so Father John Riccardo, a Catholic priest and former pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, he wants to unite the country with a national day of prayer and fasting. Riccardo is currently the executive director of Acts XXIX.

"The call behind the day of prayer and fasting isn't to pray for the conversion of their heart... no, it's right here. It's my heart," Fr. Riccardo said.

It will happen Thursday, Sept. 24. The inspiration comes from President Lincoln, who in 1861 during the Civil War called for a national day of prayer and fasting when all hope was lost.

"Invite Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Democrats, Republicans, Independents – everybody to set aside that day to do something similar, just to ask God to bring healing to our hearts," Fr. Riccardo said.

The pastor added that every bishop in the country is aware of this effort. A group at Ford Motor Company will take part and people all over America have reached out.

"So we've left it intentionally ambiguous so people of all faiths can observe however they choose to so," Fr. Riccardo said. "For me ,as a Catholic priest, we are going to try to do a procession with the eucharist through one of the streets and neighborhoods of Detroit."

Fr. John will end the day of prayer with a mass.

Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, of Detroit, is among many who sponsored the bi-partisan resolution, and is hopeful it will bring change.

And Fr. Riccardo is hoping divine intervention will bring healing to a nation on the brink.

"If we're not at the point, we're close to a point in our country where on our own we can't fix this," Fr. Riccardo said. "And so let's ask God to fix it."

The initiative was spearheaded by ACTS 29, a Detroit-based nonprofit dedicated to parish renewal nationwide. For more information, click here.