Thursday, June 18, 2015

Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Bear Witness

"Keeping the spirit of the Gospel means that Catholic institutions are to bear witness in love to the full truth about the human person by providing social, charitable, and educational services in a manner that fully reflects the God-given dignity of the human person." - Archbishop William E. Lori, Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, on the "Freedom to Bear Witness"

“The Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Bear Witness will take place from June 21 to July 4, 2015, a time when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. The theme of this year's Fortnight will focus on the "freedom to bear witness" to the truth of the Gospel.”

I have been reporting on the Fortnight for Freedom initiate every year since it started. Anyone with their eyes open would see the many instances that our religious liberties are being curtailed. It continues and is getting worse. That is why I ask you to give this initiative your attention too, to pray daily between June 21 to July 4th, to read up on the subject, and to not be afraid to stand up for your faith even in conversations with friends and relatives. I am reminded of Matthew Kelly’s theme “Be Bold, Be Catholic.” Defend our Church when it is attacked. “From life to the Gospel, from Gospel to life,” is not merely a Franciscan theme, it is a way of life. The Gospel is radical, it is not passive and quiet, it is countercultural, especially in the secular society in which we live.

Freedom to bear witness means to evangelize our message, to bring to others the Good News, of Jesus’ love and great mercy for everyone. And it means to bear witness in our daily conversations with others.

So please say the prayer below every day and find a little time to become more knowledgeable. The USCCB has some great resources (link below), and a quick Web search will provide more.

“Be not afraid.”


Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty
O God our Creator,
from your provident hand we have received
our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us
the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God,
and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be "one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


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