Fortnight For Freedom-Input Wanted!

The most recent (April 12th) statement of our Bishops is another winner that makes one truly proud to have such shepherds.  The justice of  Church’s position is clearly laid out. The government’s encroachment on religious liberty is proven with summaries of various actions taken by both federal and state governments over the last few years. The concept of religious freedom and its centrality to what it means to Americans is illuminated with examples from our nation’s history. If you haven’t read it yet, do yourself a favor and read it now. Homeschoolers could probably use it for a combined history/civics/religion unit.

What excited me was this call to action:

“We suggest that the fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, be 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. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.”

Inspired by this, I emailed my pastor, sent him the link in case he hadn’t read it yet, and offered to help in any way he liked with any possible activities our church might have. This morning after mass he took my husband and me aside to talk about it.  What he said, more or less, was “Great! Yes! Let’s do something. What exactly did you have in mind?”

To which we replied, “Um……..I dunno. We thought you might have some ideas.”

Father said we should all think about it, and get together soon to discuss it some more, since this initial brainstorming session wasn’t even a drizzle.

Just  checked the USCCB website. They have a bunch of bulletin inserts and a special prayer card that can be ordered, but so far, no specific suggested activities. But rather than wait for the USCCB to suggests possible programs, it is probably better for dioceses and parishes to come up with their own activities.

So I’m trying to come up with some ideas for my pastor. Let’s see…  Bulletin inserts for each Sunday in June. Sermons. Maybe selected lay people speaking at the end of mass, since, after all, contraception is (unfortunately) a sticky issue. It would help to have laity stand up in church both to support Humane Vitae and to reiterate that this is about something bigger than contraception.

What else should we do? An information booth outside all church entrances? How about organizing an interfaith rally/march down mainstreet?

Have any of you thought about this Fortnight for Freedom yet? Please share your thoughts, even if they are only at the pipe dream stage. June will be here sooner than you think.  Let’s see if we can come up with a good list.

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Daria Sockey is a freelance writer from western Pennsylvania. Her articles have appeared in many Catholic publications. She authored several of the original Ignatius Press Faith and Life catechisms in the 1980s, and more recently wrote five study guides for saints' lives DVDs distributed by Ignatius Press. She now writes regularly for the newly revamped Catholic Digest. Her newest book, The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours, will be published by Servant Books this spring. Feel Free to email her at [email protected]

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