Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Jun
  • 8

Fortnight theme: ‘Freedom for Mission’

Posted By June 8, 2017 | 5:53 pm | Featured Article #4
6-9 fortnight-2017-logo-multi

Bishop McManus is scheduled to celebrate a Mass for the Protection of Religious Freedom at 7 p.m., Thursday, June 22 in St. Paul Cathedral to open diocesan participation in the sixth annual national Fortnight for Freedom.
The theme for this year’s Fortnight for Freedom is Freedom for Mission. The Fortnight runs June 21- July 4.
The Fortnight for Freedom was started in 2012 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ ad hoc committee on religious liberty “in response to the government’s HHS mandate forcing employers, even Catholic employers and private business owners of good conscience, to provide abortifacient drugs, contraception, and sterilization in their employees’ health plans or face exorbitant fines,” according to information provided by the diocesan Respect Life office.
“For the Catholic Church, our many ministries of education, healthcare, and charitable works continue to be at stake. Many people of all faiths have spoken out strongly against this violation of conscience rights. Currently 105 cases with over 300 plaintiffs have been filed against the mandate.
“Many people of good conscience, including medical professionals, social service providers, and business owners, continue to suffer persecution for following their deeply held religious and moral beliefs.”
Bishop McManus has invited the monsignors, priests and deacons, along with members of their parishes, to join him at the Mass. The bishop will speak about the theme of this year’s Fortnight for Freedom at a reception in the Cenacle after Mass.
The Respect Life office has listed several suggestions for parishes to take part in the Fortnight for Freedom. They include:
• Invite parishioners to join Bishop McManus for the Mass for the Protection of Religious Freedom
• Include a special petition in the Prayer of the Faithful at each Mass.
• Distribute a Prayer Card for religious freedom (or print the prayer in the parish bulletin), and encourage parishioners to pray it daily.  The prayer could also be prayed at weekend and daily Masses during the Fortnight, used to open parish meetings, and made available at Eucharistic adoration, etc.
• Distribute the USCCB bulletin inserts and encourage parishioners to read them and to visit www.fortnight4freedom.org.
• Invite a guest speaker to your parish for a presentation on religious freedom (contact the Respect Life Office for referrals).
• Encourage parishioners to offer special prayer, fasting, or acts of reparation such as meatless Fridays, a chosen day to fast, offering up Mass, praying the rosary or Divine Mercy chaplet, etc.
• Have a special parish Holy Hour, Mass or organize day-long (or multi-day) eucharistic adoration. Invite neighboring parishes to join you.
• Pray a daily rosary in your parish for the cause of religious liberty each day of the Fortnight.
• Present a Catholic movie night for members of your parish, such as “A Man for All Seasons,” about the martyrdom of St. Thomas More; “Becket,” about the 12th-century English martyr, or “For Greater Glory,” about the struggle for religious freedom in Mexico.
• Encourage parishioners to read “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” a document of the U.S. Bishops’  ad hoc committee for Religious Liberty.  Publish the document’s link in the parish bulletin, or make print copies available to parishioners. (www.usccb.org/issues and action/religious liberty/our first, most cherished liberty.cfm).
• Plan a parish outreach event including a meal such as a fish fry, picnic, pancake breakfast, or spaghetti supper to raise awareness about the Fortnight; invite a speaker; distribute handouts, etc.
• Host a study group on “Dignitatis Humanae,” the ground breaking document from the Second Vatican Council on religious liberty, using the 14-day reflection piece found at fortnight4freedom.org.
Organize an Independence Day family picnic with a special Mass to close the Fortnight for Freedom. Join churches nationwide by ringing the church bells at noon on July 4.
The diocesan Respect Life office also recommends that individuals can take part by praying, attending daily Mass, offer a daily rosary, practice some form of fasting, etc. read about the fundamental right to religious freedom (resources may be found at www.fortnight4freedom.org); tell others about the Fortnight for Freedom and why religious liberty is in jeopardy, and use social media to educate others and  spread the word.
Those who want more information about local events may subscribe to the Respect Life office email list at aledoux@worcesterdiocese.org.