By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz concluded the last in a series of Holy Hours dedicated to religious freedom, life and marriage June 22 at St. Paul Church.
The final Holy Hour coincided with the national Fortnight for Freedom held June 21 to July 4, a two-week period set aside by the U.S. bishops to reflect on religious liberty.
About 80 people gathered at the church on Dixie Highway to join the archbishop for prayer and a Mass.
“This Holy Hour is about trusting enough that God will take care of you and me,” the archbishop said. “We will be praying now not for ourselves but rather our nation.”
The archbishop noted that people originally came to the U.S. precisely for religious freedom. He added that religious freedom is a precious gift that should never be taken for granted.
“We do have a robust defense of freedom of speech but that’s not the case with freedom of religion,” he said. “In fact, freedom of religion is becoming more and more the freedom to worship, which means what you do for an hour on Sunday.”
But the Catholic faith requires more than attending Mass for an hour on Sunday, the archbishop said.
“We would not be very good Catholics if we went to Mass and on the way out said ‘Christ, see you next week,’ ” he noted. “Jesus said the way you treat your brothers and sisters throughout the week shows your faith.
“Freedom of worship is not the same thing as freedom of religion,” he concluded.
To learn more about the efforts of the national Fortnight for Freedom movement, visit www.Fortnight4Freedom.org. The website has details of fortnight events and suggested activities for parishes and families. In addition, readers can find fact sheets, educational resources and suggested prayers for the two-week period.
For additional resources, visit www.archlou.org/liberty.
Other parishes in the Archdiocese of Louisville holding Fortnight for Freedom activities include St. Christopher Church in Radcliff, Ky., and St. Patrick Church in Eastwood.
St. Christopher Church began the Fortnight observance with a Mass on June 21. The liturgy began a “Divine Mercy 22 Hours of Prayer for Freedom.” Eucharistic adoration was available throughout the day and night. A candlelight procession of the Blessed Sacrament was held on the grounds of the church at 3 a.m.
St. Patrick Church, 1000 N. Beckley Station Road, is celebrating the Fortnight with a Mass, followed by reflections, the Litany of Liberty and the Patriotic Rosary on each day of the Fortnight for Freedom. A daily schedule is available on the parish website, stpatrick-lou.org.
During the Mass and Holy Hour at St. Paul, the archbishop also called on those gathered to be defenders of the gift of life and the sanctity of marriage.
“When our life is done and we come to judgment, we know what Jesus will say: ‘How did you treat me in this world?’ ” he said. “From the very moment of conception to natural death we need to defend the right to life.”
He also said that while the church says to treat every person with human dignity and compassion “we do not have the right to change the definitions of marriage.”