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Fortnight For Freedom

   
 





June 21st - July 4th, 2012 

Fortnight For Freedom Prayer Campaign

Call to Action by the Bishops of the United States

In their statement on religious freedom, "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty" (also available in Spanish) the Catholic Bishops of the United States issued a call for all to pray, fast, and give public witness during a "Fortnight for Freedom":

In particular, we recommend to our brother bishops that we focus "all the energies the Catholic community can muster" in a special way this coming summer. As pastors of the flock, our privileged task is to lead the Christian faithful in prayer.

Both our civil year and liturgical year point us on various occasions to our heritage of freedom. This year, we propose a special "fortnight for freedom," in which bishops in their own dioceses might arrange special events to highlight the importance of defending our first freedom. Our Catholic institutions also could be encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths, and indeed, all who wish to defend our most cherished freedom.

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.

In addition to this summer's observance, we also urge that the Solemnity of Christ the King—a feast born out of resistance to totalitarian incursions against religious liberty—be a day specifically employed by bishops and priests to preach about religious liberty, both here and abroad.

To all our fellow Catholics, we urge an intensification of your prayers and fasting for a new birth of freedom in our beloved country. We invite you to join us in an urgent prayer for religious liberty.

Almighty God, Father of all nations,
For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1).
We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty,
the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good.
Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties;
By your grace may we have the courage to defend them,
for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness,
and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
with whom you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Suggested Activities for the Fortnight for Freedom

There are many activities that can be conducted during the Fortnight for Freedom. 

Here are the activities being urged by Cardinal Dolan for all the parishes in the Archdiocese:

  • A Holy Hour for Religious Freedom during the Fortnight.  The worship booklet is available in both English and Spanish:

  • English

  • Español

  • Fliers posted in the parish advertising the Fortnight.  To download the full-color flyer seen above, click here.  For a copy of the Spanish flyer, click here.

  • A prayer for religious liberty recited after all the weekday and weekend Masses during the Fortnight.  To download a sheet of prayer cards that can be distributed at church, click here.

  • Parish bells ringing at noon on July 4th

Here is a comprehensive strategic plan that parishes may wish to use and adapt.

Additional resources for the Fortnight Campaign are being made available on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

  • Prayer Resources, including prayers of the faithful, a Holy Hour, a litany for religious freedom and ordering information for prayer cards.
  • Educational Resources on the Fortnight and religious liberty in general.

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Resources to Defend Religious Liberty

Resources to defend religious liberty are being added regularly.  Check back for more information.

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