Fortnight for Freedom
June 21st - July 4th, 2013
Fortnight For Freedom Prayer Campaign
- Call to Action by the Bishops of the United States
- Suggested Activities for the Fortnight for Freedom
- Resources to Defend Religious Liberty
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.
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 English and Español, formatted for different kinds of printers
- 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 weekday and weekend Masses during the Fortnight. To download a sheet of prayer cards that can be distributed at church, click here. To download sheet of prayer cards in Spanish, 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.
Resources to defend religious liberty are being added regularly. Check back for more information.
- Special page on the Archdiocese of New York Website, with background information about religious freedom and the HHS Mandate.
- Bulletin Announcements about the HHS Mandate in English and Spanish.
- Sign up to get action alerts from the New York State Catholic Conference Advocacy Network and the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment on important public policy issues, including religious liberty.
- Cardinal Dolan's blog post on Fortnight for Freedom: "Fortnight For Freedom" (June 20, 2013)
- Click here to listen to Cardinal Dolan's homily at the Fortnight For Freedom Mass on June 21, 2013