All religions, except some forms of Buddhism, recommend prayer. From the Latin precare, which means to beg, prayer is just that: begging, pleading, imploring a God, or some other otherworldly figure, such as a saint.
No one -- including Catholic leaders -- want to return to the days when homosexuals were feared and stigmatized. It was a time when homosexuality was viewed as a problem so profound that it affected the total personality.
This year, "eight days" has personal resonance. During the ordeal of hurricane Sandy six weeks ago, we lost power for eight days. It was inky black beyond the fire's glow. I finally understood, on a visceral level, why for millennia, people stared down darkness with celebrations of light.