The Bishop of Portsmouth has asked every church in his diocese to hold a Holy Hour of prayer on the eve of the parliamentary debate on assisted suicide.
Bishop Philip Egan urged faithful to pray before the Blessed Sacrament for an hour on Thursday evening before the Falconer Bill is debated in the House of Lords.
In a message he said the legalisation of assisted suicide would mark the “catastrophic collapse of respect for the infinite value of each human life”.
He urged Catholics to visit the Blessed Sacrament on Thursday and pray that Parliament rejected the Bill.
The bishop wrote: “I invite you, on Thursday 17 July, to meet Jesus for a special Hour of Eucharistic Adoration, to ask His protection of human life in its end stages.
“Even if you are unable to join the community for this Holy Hour, please at least pay a visit to the Blessed Sacrament that day. In meeting Jesus, the Son of God, in the Holy Eucharist to receive His love and life, we are also contemplating the Perfect Human Being.
“Jesus is the One who shows us in His humanity the Way to true happiness and human flourishing. He calls us to live not for self and for transient goals, but for God and for the love of others.
“When you meet Him, please pray that Parliament will firmly reject this Bill. Pray too for the terminally ill, and for the generous and selfless doctors, nurses and medical staff who care for them. Pray for those who will die today.
“Pray for any relatives presently looking after a dying loved one. And pray for our country, that through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, there may be a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”
Bishop Egan also appealed to the faithful to write to peers in the House of Lords to express their opposition to the Bill.