LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -This week Bishop Glen John Provost announced new requirements for Catholics in the Diocese of Lake Charles.
The stricter observances of certain rules like fasting and not eating meat - are aimed to help overcome evil in the world:
In times of trouble and crisis many faithful embrace their church and try to draw closer to God.
And so, Bishop Provost has issued a decree - which he explains is like an executive order for Catholics - to increase prayer, fasting and what’s known as eucharistic adoration.
"What I wanted was weekly adoration of the blessed sacrament in which special intentions including those for victims of sexual abuse be brought by the community to prayer in the presence of the eucharist," he said.
The bishop also calls for a eucharistic procession by each parish at least once a year. Another requirement, already done in many churches, is to say the prayer of St. Michael the archangel.
"It was written by Pope Leo the 13th in the 1880s following his own experiences in prayer where he realized that the forces of evil were working overtime as it were to spread confusion," said Bishop Provost.
And the decree reminds Catholics to abstain from meat every Friday, which Bishop Provost says was never done away with.
"That is universal law. I can't tamper with universal law. What I was doing in the decree was reminding the faithful that this law exists,” he said.
And to pray and fast on what are called ember days - 12 additional days of fasting a year.
Bishop Provost says both internal and community prayer is needed.
“We are living in a time of great crisis and change. Transition, crisis and change. And we need to get our bearings, we need to get our bearings, feet need to be on the ground. We need to think clearly. We cannot do that without focusing on Jesus Christ,” he said.
While the decree may seem extreme to some, devout Catholics like Elizabeth Barrilleaux already practice some of the new requirements:
"All of these terrible things are going on in the world and to counteract evil you have to do something even greater with love, through penance, and a lot of people do more than this."
The new requirements are to start in January.