Parishes plan Fortnight for Freedom activities

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Gene Snyder U.S. Courthouse, 601 West Broadway, for a religious freedom rally June 8. The rally was organized by the St. Louis Bertrand Council of the Knights of Columbus. (Record Photos by Jessica Able)

By JESSICA ABLE
Record Staff Writer

At a religious freedom rally where hundreds gathered outside the Gene Snyder U.S. Courthouse, 601 West Broad-way, on June 8, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz invited those gathered to join him and learn more about the issues surrounding the federal government’s proposed health care mandate.

“We have from June 21 to the Fourth of July what is called the Fortnight for Freedom,” the archbishop said. “That is an occasion where I ask you to join me, because I’m going to increase my education.

“Do I know enough about what is happening? Do I know enough about my beliefs? You better believe I don’t. I’ve got to keep learning, and
I would recommend that you join me in that,” he said at Friday’s rally hosted by the Knights of Columbus.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, above, spoke at a religious freedom rally June 8 at the Gene Snyder U.S. Courthouse in downtown Louisville. Archbishop Kurtz encouraged those gathered to join him in prayer, education and reflection during the Fortnight for Freedom June 21 to July 4.

Earlier this year, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a document titled “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty.”  The document outlines the bishops’ concerns about what they said were recent threats to religious freedom. Out of this document, the bishops’ called for “a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom” — the “Fortnight for Freedom.”

Archbishop Kurtz noted that the two-week period was intended to be a time of reflection and study.

“This is a time of prayer where we come together as one church. Being informed will help deepen our understanding of the gift of religious freedom,” the archbishop said in a telephone interview June 1. “It’s also about taking the necessary steps in order to safeguard this freedom.”

Hundreds of people, such as the two above, waved American flags and held signs opposing the government’s proposed health care mandate at the June 8 rally.

There are a number of ways parishes have been invited to participate in the Fortnight including special prayers to be incorporated at Masses, prayer cards, study guides, litanies and daily reflections. Parishes in the Archdiocese of Louisville will observe the Fortnight for Freedom, June 21 to July 4, and several had scheduled local events and activities.

Holy Trinity Church, 501 Cherrywood Road, will incorporate a special Prayer of the Faithful into Masses. Also, the East End parish plans to insert religious liberty fact sheets in the parish bulletin.

St. Rose Church in Springfield, Ky., will host speaker Francis Manion June 21 at 7 p.m. in the parish center to kick off the Fortnight. Manion is a resident of Bardstown, Ky., and senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice.

“He will discuss what is at stake in the controversy over the HHS mandate, as well as the mandate’s wider context, showing it to be one of a series of recent challenges to religious liberty at both the federal and state levels,” said Dominican Father Kevin McGrath, pastor of St. Rose.

Additionally, Father McGrath said the parish plans to use the Fortnight prayer card (which can be found at www.archlou.org/fortnight) at each Mass. St. Rose Church will recognize the culmination of the Fortnight for Freedom with a holy hour and Mass on July 4.

Many other parishes have yet to finalize specific Fortnight plans. To find out what Fortnight for Freedom activities are planned at individual parishes, read the weekly bulletin or check the parish website.

A Mass will be held in Washington, D.C., at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception July 4. This Mass will be televised nationally on the EWTN cable channel.

More details about the Fortnight can be found at www.fortnight4freedom.org or www.archlou.org/fortnight.

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