Along with my brother bishops of the United States, I am asking the people of our diocese to join in a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, June 21-July 4.
I encourage the priests and all the people of our parishes to offer special prayers, organize events, especially ecumenical events with other Christians and all who wish to defend our most cherished freedom, our religious freedom.
The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “Fortnight for Freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty.
For more information one can go to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) website and bring up the document, “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concern for freedom as we deal with the insurance mandate of the Health and Human Services Department of our country. I am publishing here a prayer in English and Spanish (at left) that I would ask to be prayed at the end of each mass during these fourteen (14) days of prayer. Several weeks ago you received these prayers, and you can make copies of these prayers for our people. Thank you for your cooperation. God’s peace.