“Fortnight for Freedom” to focus on prayer for religious liberty
6/5/2012 4:47:14 PM by Office of Communications
For a two-week period, beginning June 21 on the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, to July 4, Independence Day, Catholics from the Diocese of Buffalo will join the faithful across the United States in the “Fortnight for Freedom,” described by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as, “a great hymn of prayer for our country.” Among the first martyrs of the Church, St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More remained true to their faith in the face of political persecution.
The fortnight is part of the bishops’ coordinated efforts to mobilize Catholics in response to government attacks on religious liberty. Earlier this year, the Obama administration endorsed a Health and Human Services mandate that will require Catholic organizations and institutions to pay for employee health coverage that includes contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. The bishops have vigorously opposed the mandate on the grounds that the federal government is forcing the Catholic employers to provide coverage that is a contradiction of Church teachings and beliefs.
“During this two-week period, I call on Catholics throughout the diocese to join me in prayer for religious freedom,” said Bishop Edward U. Kmiec. “We know prayer can be very powerful and every day during the fortnight, in every parish, during every Mass, a special Prayer of the Faithful will be said.” Parishes and Catholic institutions are also free to sponsor adoration, special devotions and catechetical sessions as part of this national religious liberty campaign.
Bishop Kmiec will begin the fortnight on Thursday, June 21, at 3 p.m. with a holy hour at the Carmelite Monastery (75 Carmel Road, Buffalo). Bishop Edward M. Grosz, auxiliary bishop of Buffalo, will conclude the observance with a holy hour at the Dominican Monastery (355 Doat St., Buffalo) at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3.
The public is welcome to attend both prayer hours. “I believe the ‘Hour of Mercy’ at both of these powerhouses of prayer in our diocese will be the most effective and prayerful ways for Catholics to take part in the fortnight,” Bishop Kmiec said.
In addition to the “Fortnight for Freedom,” the bishops have designated the Solemnity of Christ the King (Nov. 25), as a day for bishops, priests and deacons to focus their homilies on religious freedom. The Feast of Christ the King is significant in that it was born out of resistance to totalitarian incursions against religious liberty. “We must be consistent in our message and in our teaching,” Bishop Kmiec said. “At every opportunity, we need to remind the faithful of the importance of defending our first freedom, our most cherished freedom: the freedom of religion.”
In their statement on religious liberty, the U.S. bishops wrote, “To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other. Our allegiances are distinct, but they need not be contradictory and should instead by complementary. That is the teaching of our Catholic faith, which obliges us to work together with fellow citizens for the common good of all who live in this land.”
For more information on the “Fortnight for Freedom, visit the HHS Mandate page of http://www.buffalodiocese.org/HHSMandate.aspx