Have you been troubled by what is happening in America? The truths revealed by God about man, woman, marriage, sexuality, and respect for life are increasingly labeled as “bigotry” and “hate.” People who seek to live and work in conformity with their religious convictions are increasingly intimidated and penalized.
It is true that there are glimmers of hope, such as the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor. But we have seen repeated mandates and “guidance” from the White House pushing a radically secular ideology of “reproductive health” and gender. Most recently, legislation has been introduced that would gut the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed in 1993 (RFRA). This is the sobering backdrop for the fifth “Fortnight for Freedom” called by the U.S. Bishops.
Each year dioceses around the country arrange special events to highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. The Fortnight for Freedom is from June 21st (the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More) to July 4th, Independence Day. The theme for this year is “Witnesses of Freedom,” which focuses on 14 powerful witnesses and invites us to imitate their fidelity and courage in the face of adversity. Some of these witnesses include the Little Sisters of the Poor, Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More, the Coptic Martyrs, and St Kateri Tekakwitha. Brief summaries of the witness given by these individuals and groups can by found on the USCCB website at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/fortnight-for-freedom/index.cfm.
It is very important that we as Catholics join together in prayer for the protection of our religious freedom. We should never underestimate the power of prayer when done together. Bishop Callahan will be celebrating a Holy Hour on June 21st at 6:30pm at Blessed Sacrament Parish in La Crosse (… FYI – that’s one of Fr. Raj’s current parishes). Throughout the diocese we are invited to simultaneously celebrate a Holy Hour with the Bishop. Please join me in prayer and adoration before the Blessed Sacrament on Tuesday, June 21st at 6:30pm at St. Mary’s in Auburndale as we pray for the preservation of our religious freedom.