Our country draws near now to our annual Fourth of July celebration complete with fireworks, parades, picnics, baseball games, concerts, and various speeches and ceremonies guaranteed to ro use our national pride and patriotism. As we do our United States Catholic Bishops also invite us to celebrate our freedom by participating in the second an nual Fortnight for Freedom which will be commemorated from June 21 to July 4, 2013 . The bishops invite us to this “two-week period of prayer and action, to address many current challenges to religious liberty, including the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate, Supreme Court rulings that could redefine marriage in June, and r eligious liberty concerns in areas such as immigration and humanitarian services.”
Here in our Archdiocese local events will include:
Freedom Forum - June 22 (Saturday) from 8:00 a.m. to Noon, St. Peter in Mendota. Please encourage anyone high school age or older to attend. Mass followed by a Holy Hour for Life.
Marriage and Liberty - June 29 (Saturday) at 7:00 p.m., Cathedral of St. Paul on the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul. Archbishop Nienstedt will preside.
Project Life and Liberty Postcard Campaign - June 29 and 30. Postcards are available in parishes for distribution. I found a nice sentiment about religious liberty that comes from the US Department of State International Religious Freedom Report for 2011: “To think, believe, or doubt. To speak or pr ay; to gather or stand apart. Such are the move- ments of the mind and heart, infinitives that take us beyond the finite. F reedom of religion, like all freedoms of thought and expression, are inherent. Our beliefs help define who we are and serve as a foundation for what we contribute to our societies.”
It’s a good reminder that the right to worship as one sees fit is the most f undamental of our rights – because it reaches down to the deepest level of the person. It’s also a good remin der for all of us to exercise that deepest part of our per son – to pray, to reflect on what it is that most defines us, to develop our powers of reason, to form convictions, and to strive to act upon what is good, beautiful, noble, and sacred.
So throughout the Fortnight let there be fireworks to lift our eyes to heaven – and let there be grace from heaven to inspire us to ever greater glory, glory, hallelujah.
Fr. Dennis Zehren