The USCCB’s 6th annual Fortnight for Freedom will consist of national and local efforts to educate Americans on challenges to religious liberty both at home and abroad.
The Fortnight for Freedom will begin June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—and July 4, Independence Day.
“We are called to follow Christ as missionary disciples by seeking the truth, serving others, and living our faith in all that we do,” said Bishop David Talley. “Let us take a few moments each day from June 21 - July 4 to pray, reflect, and take action on religious liberty, both here in this country and abroad.”
The Fortnight for Freedom is a campaign initiated by the Catholic bishops of the U.S. Events over the course of 14 days from June 21 to July 4 each year, call upon Catholics to participate in a pledge to religious liberty and an appeal for the inclusion of a “conscience clause” for religious institutions and religious faithful to practice according to the moral tenets of one’s religious faith.
The event has its beginnings in 2010 when Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York wrote a three-page analysis defending the the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Dolan predicted such actions on the part of the federal government would “precipitate a national conflict between church and state of enormous proportions and to the detriment of both institutions.
An ad hoc committee was formed and Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Illinois, proposed the name Fortnight for Freedom and the schedule designed to celebrate the feast days of saints who died for their faith, including Thomas More.
For more information, go to www.usccb.org/issues-and-action
The site hosts resources such as one-page fact sheets outlining current threats to religious freedom both in the United States and abroad; frequently asked questions about religious liberty, including quotes from the Founding Fathers, the Second Vatican Council and Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI; and a study guide on Dignitatis Humanae, Vatican II’s document on religious liberty.
The website also lists sample activities already planned in several dioceses, an image gallery of photos from previous Fortnight celebrations, as well as resources and recommendations for other local efforts, such as prayers for use in special liturgies.
Prayer for the Protection of Religious Freedom
O God our Creator, from your provident hand we have received
our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us
the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God,
and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be “one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We ask this through Christ our Lord.