Religious Freedom Week takes place from June 22 – 29 each year. It begins with the feast day of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, includes the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, and ends with the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
The theme for this year is Strength in Hope. It is taken from the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity:
They who have this faith live in the hope of the revelation of the sons of God and keep in mind the cross and resurrection of the Lord. In the pilgrimage of this life, hidden with Christ in God and free from enslavement to wealth, they aspire to those riches which remain forever and generously dedicate themselves wholly to the advancement of the kingdom of God and to the reform and improvement of the temporal order in a Christian spirit. Among the trials of this life they find strength in hope, convinced that “the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that will be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18). (Apostolicam actuositatem, 4).
Catholics face challenges both in our current political climate of polarization and within the Church. We want to encourage Catholics to persist in the struggle to participate in the advancement of the kingdom of God by finding hope in Jesus Christ.
To assist the faithful, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) developed daily “Pray-Reflect-Act” one-page resources to inspire people to learn more about religious liberty, pray about a particular issue, and utilize provided tools to act on what they learn, whether it’s finding ways for their parish to serve their community or perhaps even calling a Member of Congress to promote legislation supporting religious liberty. There is a “Pray-Reflect-Act” page for each day of the week on a different topic of importance. The daily resources are available in a PDF format or can viewed as a web page on the USCCB website.
The bishops encourage Christians to reflect on the importance of religious freedom so that the Church might have space to carry out her mission of service and mercy. The bishops also invite Christians to pray for our brothers and sisters who face intense persecution in in other parts of the world.
Join Catholics across the country to pray and act for the freedom to serve faithfully and with integrity. Through prayer, education, and public action during Religious Freedom Week, we will promote the importance of preserving the essential right of religious freedom, for now and the future, for Catholics and for those of all faiths.
For more information and resources, visit www.usccb.org/ReligiousFreedomWeek
Take Action - contact your local legislator about issues of
religious freedom. View the USCCB Action Alert Center
Share your faith in Jesus Christ with others. View tips to
help you explain religious liberty to others
Religious Freedom Week succeeds "Fortnight for Freedom," which began in 2012, to raise awareness of religious freedom issues. Over the years, the campaign shifted to more of a prayer and education campaign, and a need developed to raise awareness concerning other important religious freedom issues, including legal and policy challenges facing our adoption and foster care services, our migration and refugee services and other charitable works of the Church.
By focusing on religious liberty for one week, such as other successful public awareness campaigns like Catholic Schools Week, National Marriage Week and National Migration Week, Religious Freedom Week allows for a more focused period of time to bring attention to issues of religious freedom.
Religious Freedom Week continues to be centered around the feast day of saints who bore particular witness to religious liberty.