Fortnight for Freedom
The U.S Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) has called on the Diocese of Owensboro and the other Dioceses in the USA to participate for the third time in the Fortnight for Freedom from June 21 to July 4, 2014.
The theme is one of service this year. Please consider spotlighting services that your Parish are involved in providing and share that with Parishioners and with the general public as well when useful. The note below details what is available on the website, and can be reached by accessing the links provided below and on the Diocese of Owensboro website.
Currently Scheduled Events
In the Diocese of Owensboro, several events have already been scheduled, as can be seen below. Please consider developing one or more of your own and sharing the information so that it can be advertised on the website and that others might join you.
- The Paducah Deanery will host the opening service, a Corpus Christi Celebration and Procession on June 22, 2014 at 6:00 PM beginning at St. Francis de Sales Parish. The Catholic community will make stops at government buildings throughout downtown Paducah to pray for religious liberty as we join with our Catholic Bishops in their third Fortnight for Freedom initiative.
- The Passionist Nuns, along with the Parishes of St. Mary’s, St. Henry’s, St. William’s and St. Lawrence, invite all to participate in prayer for our nation during the 3rd Annual Fortnight for Freedom combined with Forty Hours of Eucharistic Prayer at the Passionist Monastery at 8564 Crisp Rd in Whitesville Ky. The guest speaker will be Fr. Ken Geraci, C.P.M. Services will be held on Sunday, June 22 - 7 PM with a Corpus Christi Procession, again on Monday, June 23 - 7 PM with a Forty Hours Service, and closure will be on Tuesday, June 24 - 7 PM with a Forty Hours Service.
- Please join Bishop William Medley for the celebration of Mass on June 28, 2014 at 5:00 PM at the Saturday Vigil Mass at St. Stephen Cathedral in Owensboro in honor of the Fortnight for Freedom.
- June 29 from 4:00 - 5:00 PM -- Immaculate Parish in Owensboro is hosting a Holyl Hour with Evening Prayer and Benediction. All are welcome!
- The Closing Service for the Fortnight for Freedom will occur on Friday July 4th with the Celebration of the Mass at 8:00 AM at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Hopkinsville by Fr. Richard Meredith and all are invited to take part.
The Catholic Conference staff has prepared a number of materials to assist the diocese in celebrating the Fortnight. This year, the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty would like to emphasize the link between religious liberty and service to the poor and vulnerable and has proposed the theme of Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Serve.
During the Fortnight, 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. In the secular calendar, we anticipate that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule at some point during the Fortnight (likely around June 30) on the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties cases, which are challenges to the HHS mandate brought by for-profit businesses.
The Conference has prepared materials that will hopefully assist you in preparation for the Fortnight. The materials below are already available publicly through the website www.Fortnight4Freedom.org, so please feel free to distribute widely or provide website links. The Diocesan Website also has links for these resources:
The materials listed immediately below should not be posted online but may be distributed to parishes for use during Fortnight liturgies:
- Ecumenical Prayer Service Outline
- Intercessory Prayers for Ecumenical Service
- Passages from Scripture for use during the Fortnight for Freedom
Finally, we are also providing the attached Talking Points to assist with your communications efforts. Please note that the publicly available materials are also available in Spanish on the Fortnight for Freedom website. We will also be providing Homily Helpers for the Sundays of the Fortnight as well as daily Masses at a later date. Please continue to check www.Fortnight4Freedom.org for updated information about the 2014 Fortnight, including the Fortnight’s new logo in English and Spanish, which we would encourage you to use to promote this upcoming two-week period.
Any diocesan staff with questions about the Fortnight should call or email Hillary Byrnes, lead staff to the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, at (202) 541-3454 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also email Hillary with Fortnight event flyers, activities, or websites so that we can add this information to the diocesan activities page.
Once again, we are planning two special Masses to begin and end the Fortnight for Freedom. On June 21 at 5:30 p.m. EDT, Archbishop William Lori will celebrate Mass at the Baltimore Basilica (America’s First Cathedral) to begin the Fortnight. On July 4 at noon EDT, Cardinal Donald Wuerl will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
In addition to prayerful observances, some dioceses may wish to coordinate with local groups to hold larger public events, such as processions, rallies, or town hall-style meetings, as a means of educating the public on the importance of religious liberty. For those dioceses considering hosting larger events, the website Stand Up for Religious Freedom provides a step-by-step guide on how to obtain permits for public spaces, solicit speakers from a variety of perspectives, and seek favorable media coverage of such an event.
The USCCB is grateful to diocesan staff for all of the work that has gone into the Fortnight during the last two years in your dioceses. (Please see a sampling of photos from 2012 and 2013 Fortnight events around the country here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/fortnight-for-freedom/fortnight-freedom-images.cfm.)
Thank you again for your prayers and support for this nationwide effort and for your united voices in the promotion and defense of religious liberty!