Fortnight for Freedom

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The second annual Fortnight for Freedom will take place from June 21 to July 4, and will consist of national and local efforts to educate Americans on challenges to religious liberty both at home and abroad. As with last year’s Fortnight, the event will begin and end with a special Mass.

Locally, the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau will open the Fortnight for Freedom with a Mass at 10 a.m. in St. Agnes Cathedral, Springfield, on Fri., June 21. Bp. James V. Johnston, Jr., will be the celebrant. Fr. Tom Kiefer will offer Mass in St. Mary Cathedral, Cape Girardeau, on Fri., June 21 at 6 a.m. and 8 a.m.

On the national level, Abp. William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, will open the 2013 Fortnight for Freedom with a Mass in Baltimore’s historic Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on June 21 at 7 p.m. EDT. Card. Donald Wuerl of Washington will celebrate the closing Mass in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on July 4 at 12 p.m. EDT.

“The need for prayer, education, and action in defense of religious liberty has never been greater,” explained Abp. Lori. “The Fortnight for Freedom exists to meet that need. This year’s Fortnight occurs just weeks before Aug. 1, when the administration’s mandate coercing us to violate our deeply-held beliefs will be enforced against most religious non-profits. During the Fortnight, the Supreme Court’s decisions on the definition of marriage will likely be handed down as well. Those decisions could have a profound impact on religious freedom for generations to come.”

Both cathedrals will mark the conclusion of the Fortnight with Masses on July 4: St. Mary Cathedral, Cape Girardeau, at 6 & 8 a.m, and St. Agnes Cathedral, Springfield, at 10 a.m.

Further details about the Fortnight can be found at The site hosts resources such as one-page fact sheets outlining current threats to religious freedom both in the US and abroad; frequently asked questions about religious liberty, including quotes from the Founding Fathers, the Second Vatican Council, and Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI; and a study guide on “Dignitatis Humanae,” (“Of the Dignity of the Human Person”) Vatican II’s document on religious liberty. The Web site also lists sample activities, an image gallery of photos from last year’s Fortnight celebrations around the country, and resources and recommendations for other local efforts, such as prayers for use in special liturgies.


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