The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has called for a second Fortnight for Freedom that begins on Friday, June 21, the vigil of the Feasts of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, and ends on Independence Day Thursday, July 4. The first Fortnight took place during the same dates last year as an effort to educate the public about religious liberty, both at home and abroad. Recognizing that we still face threats to religious liberty, the U.S. Bishops are promoting Fortnight for Freedom 2013, designed to be a two-week time period of prayer and reflection upon the freedom of religion which we possess in our great nation.
As the Fortnight for Freedom is observed this year, the USCCB states the many challenges to religious liberty that Catholics and Christian face including:
Through prayer, study, and public action during the Fortnight for Freedom, the U.S. Bishops believe together together they will promote the importance of preserving the fundamental right of religious freedom, for now and the future, for Catholics and for those of all faiths.
On its website, the Diocese of Palm Beach has a special page devoted to Fortnight for Freedom. The page lists resources to help one observe the Fortnight for Freedom including a Prayer for Religious Liberty, prayer cards, and prayers for the faithful. There are also one-page Fact Sheets, videos and other educational resources to help you learn about the various threats to religious freedom. The page also includes suggestions options of Public Action.
Also posted on the diocesan website is the bi-weekly column written by Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito, Bishop of Palm Beach. The column Living the Truth in Love: St. Thomas More and Fortnight for Freedom discusses St. Thomas More and how he lived his life with faith and love of Christ and His Church. Bishop Barbarito also reminds us of the importance of our fundamental freedom.
"We are not truly free unless we are free to express our religious beliefs and to bring them to the public forum. Anything which in any way limits this freedom is a threat to our birthright as Americans citizens. Our ability to express our moral beliefs and to have them reflected in the laws of our land includes such critical matters: as the right to life, as denied by legal abortion; the government's intrusion of mandating practices against our convictions, as in the case of the HHS mandate; the government's intrusion into the definition of marriage as anything but a union between a man and woman; and the protection of the dignity of migrants who come to this country with a right to equitable immigration laws," writes Bishop Barbarito.
Bishop Barbarito's column will also be published in the June 21 edition of the Florida Catholic, the newspaper of the Diocese of Palm Beach.
During the Fortnight for Freedom, various parishes within the five counties of the diocese will celebrate special Masses, adoration and special talks. For a list of those events, visit the Events Calendar on the diocesan website.
To view the diocesan Fortnight for Freedom web page, visit www.diocesepb.org/fortnight-freedom More information on Fortnight for Freedom can also be found on the website of the U.S. Conference for Catholic Bishops at www.Fortnight4Freedom.org
The Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach encompasses the five counties of Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee. Comprised of 280,000 Catholics in 53 parishes and missions, the Diocese also serves the faithful community through its schools. There are more than 6,000 students and 500 teachers in the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Palm Beach.