Fight against pornography draws upon power of fasting, prayer
CARMEL, Ind. (The Catholic Moment) — Priests hear all sorts of things in the confessional.
Every third Tuesday of the month, people of the Carmel Deanery are fasting to fight pornography.
Maria Muhlenkamp is among many participants from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, where Father Weldon serves as associate pastor.
“It is such a blessing that Father Weldon is taking action to fight pornography and make a change,” she said. “We live in a culture where fasting is far from popular. We have fast-food places on almost every corner and countless opportunities to eat whatever we want. It’s important to know that our daily choices and personal sacrifices truly do have the power to change lives. We can bring deliverance in the lives of people who are affected by the evil of pornography. It is interesting that when I fast, I rarely feel hungry and my mind is cleared to seek Christ without distractions. I can take the focus off myself and draw closer to God.”
“This is just such a prevalent sin from all ages,” Father Weldon said in a recent interview. “If you look at the statistics you realize the average age children see (pornography) is very young — 11 — and 90 percent of 8- to 16-year-olds have viewed pornographic images. It’s very prevalent, and in this age of the Internet, it’s easily accessible.”
Deacon Ralph Poyo, a youth minister for more than 20 years, former director of faith formation at St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Raleigh, N.C., and the founder of New Evangelization Ministries, spoke at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in September 2007 about his personal struggle with addiction to pornography.
“We brought him to address the issue because we wanted people to understand that this is not about some guy in a dark room,” Father Weldon said. “It’s affecting the family. It’s breaking families apart.”
Deacon Poyo’s message was poignant, but things weren’t changing in the confessional, he said.
“As I was praying about it, a Scripture passage came to mind,” Father Weldon said. “Jesus had just come off the mountain of Tabor after the Transfiguration and the disciples were trying to heal a guy and they couldn’t do it. Jesus did, and they asked him why they couldn’t accomplish what he had done and he said, ‘This kind can only come out through prayer and fasting.’”
It was a pivotal moment.
“I thought, ‘Yes!’” Father Weldon said. “This is going to take prayer and fasting.
“I wanted the whole diocese to do this, but I thought I better start small,” he said. “So I went to a deanery meeting with a flyer and proposed this and asked each pastor to put the flyer in their bulletins and in their parishes so that as a deanery we can fast to fight against pornography.
“Everyone was very pro-active,” Father Weldon said. “We put the signs up and made the announcement, put it in the bulletin, and people started doing it.”
Wesley Eurit and his wife, Jeannie, parishioners at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, became aware of the initiative and immediately began to take part.
“Father Weldon mentioned it, and we felt it was important because this is a prevalent problem throughout the diocese,” Wesley Eurit said. “I think as a nation we tend to believe that there’s little that we can do to change things for the better. My wife and I thought that this would be a way to do something, through the power of prayer, and that our efforts, combined with everyone in the deanery, could have a profound impact.”
Every third Tuesday of the month “reminds us of our need to pray and fast for others,” he said. “It’s something we all can do, and through the power of prayer and fasting we can make a difference.”
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This story was made available to Catholic Online by permission of The Catholic Moment (www.thecatholicmoment.org), official publication of the Diocese of Lafayette, Ind.
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