The Fortnight for Freedom will once again take place from June 21 to July 4, as originally proposed by the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty in their core document, Our First, Our Most Cherished Liberty. The Fortnight for Freedom is a two-week “special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action [that] would emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty.” 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.
This year's theme emphasizes the many withnesses to religious freedom, both past and present. All are invited to participate in service opportunities available during the Fortnight for Freedom.
Fortnight for Freedom - Special Masses
Baltimore, Washington Liturgies Bookend National Celebration of Fortnight for Freedom
June 21, 2016 Mass in Baltimore, MD
The Fortnight for Freedom Opening Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop William Lori on Tuesday, June 21 at 7:00 pm at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, Maryland.
July 4, 2016 Mass in Washington, DC
The Fortnight for Freedom Closing Mass will be celebrated by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, with Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh delivering the homily, on Monday, July 4 at noon at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C
Both Masses will be televised nationwide on EWTN.
Tour of the Relics of English Martyrs Thomas More and John Fisher
The Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty is working with Stonyhurst College to bring relics of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher from England for a United States tour. Consider making a pilgrimage to one of the tour sites.
June 18-19 - Archdiocese of Miami
June 21 - Archdiocese of Baltimore
June 23 - Diocese of Pittsburgh
June 23-24 - Archdiocese of Philadelphia
June 26-27 - Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul
June 28-29 - Archdiocese of Denver
June 30 - Diocese of Phoenix
July 1-3 - Archdiocese of Los Angeles
July 4-5 - Archdiocese of Washington
Share your Freedom to Serve experiences and photos with us with #free2serve! You can find us on Facebook and Twitter.
Text the word FREEDOM (or LIBERTAD) to 377377 for updates.
See photos from 2015 Image Gallery.
- 2016 Sunday Homily Helps
- Daily Homily Notes and Commentaries
- Frotnight for Freedom Fact Sheets
- Pope Francis on Religious Freedom | en Español
- Frequently Asked Questions on Religious Liberty | en Español
- Our First, Most Cherished Liberty: A Statement on Religious Liberty by the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty | en español
- Religious Liberty Lesson Plans
- More resources
Prayers of the Faithful at daily and Sunday Masses
- Suggested Prayers of the Faithful for life, marriage, and religious liberty, both at home and abroad
- En Español: Oraciones de los Fieles por la Vida, el Matrimonio, y la Libertad Religiosa
Recommended activities for parishes
Additional possible activities include:
- All parishes are encouraged to incorporate a prayer for the protection of religious liberty during liturgically appropriate times when Mass is celebrated during the Fortnight for Freedom. Click to see examples of the prayer cards.
- Parishes are encouraged to incorporate the prayer—as appropriate—into already-scheduled meetings, Eucharistic adoration, etc.
- Encourage your parishioners to fast or make an appropriate act of reparation in this period, such as meatless Fridays or a fast day on Wednesdays.
- Hosting/providing talks on religious freedom, sponsoring discussion on the Vatican II document Dignitatis Humanae. Religious Freedom is tied to Evangelization. Find ways for your parish to explore ways to both proclaim and live the Gospel in our world.
- Encouraging your faithful to make a Novena for religious freedom, from June 21 to July 4, inclusive.
- Providing a visible focal point for the faithful to learn more about religious freedom, and redouble their own efforts of prayer and reparation. This can be a place near the entrance to your sanctuary for your parishioners to obtain a prayer card for religious freedom, educational materials on religious freedom, and devotional materials for the Sacred Heart.
- Encouraging parishioners to take action in support of religious freedom using the NCHLA Action Alerts.
- Parishes can encourage and promote reading of the statement Our First, Our Most Cherished Liberty (en español). In addition to promoting it generally among parishioners, parishes may wish to engage existing small communities to read and discuss the document.
- Utilize the Fortnight for Freedom reflections on Dignitatis Humanae for group discussion or for personal reflection. These reflections and readings from the Vatican II document Declaration on Religious Liberty are available in English and Spanish and are intended for daily use during the Fortnight for Freedom.
- Use your bulletin, website, and social media to educate about the Fortnight for Freedom and the need to pray and work for religious freedom. Graphics can be downloaded from the USCCB website. You can also create banners or signs to display on your parish grounds.
- Promote the U.S. bishops' texting campaign through your website and bulletin.
- Additional ideas for parishes from the USCCB.
Additional Prayer Resources
- Sample Holy Hour for Religious Liberty
- Holy Hour for Life and Liberty (Homily Notes for Presider)
- Suggested Prayers of the Faithful
- Litany for Liberty
- Letania para Libertad
- 14-Day Study Guide to Dignitatis Humanae
- Current threats to Religious Freedom I En Español
- The Right to Practice Faith in Business I En Español
- Marriage and Religious Freedom I En Español
- Adoption Services I En Español
- Discrimination Against Catholic Humanitarian Services I En Español
- Discrimination Against Christian Students in Campus I En Español
- Lockin out small Church Congregations in NY I En Español
- Providing Pastoral Care to Immigrants I En Español
The fifth annual Fortnight for Freedom takes place from June 21—the vigil of the Feast of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day. This year's theme emphasizes the many withnesses to religious freedom, both past and present. All are invited to participate in service opportunities available during the Fortnight for Freedom. Special service opportunities offered by our Catholic parishes, schools and local organizations can be found at www.austindiocese.org/fortnightforfreedom. All are invited to share their service experiences through social media using #free2serve.
Send us information on how your parish is participating in the Fortnight for Freedom in the form of a URL, pdf, Word or Publisher document and we will post them here.
Questions can be directed to the Office of Life, Charity, and Justice at (512) 949-2487 or email@example.com.