Fortnight for Freedom
The Fortnight for Freedom, which we celebrated for the first time last year, takes place from June 21—the vigil of the Feast of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day. Last year, we saw a great diversity of events promoting religious freedom across the country. In 2013, we face many challenges to religious liberty, including the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate; potential Supreme Court rulings in June that could redefine marriage, causing serious religious liberty issues for Catholic adoption agencies and many others; and religious liberty concerns in other areas, such as immigration and humanitarian services.
To begin the Fortnight for Freedom, Bishop Vásquez will offer a Mass imploring God's help for the protection of Religious Liberty in this country. All are welcome.
Friday, June 21 at 6:30 p.m.
St. Luke Parish
Temple, TX 76502
Priests and Deacons: Please bring alb.
Bishop Vásquez has made these specific requests of our parishes.
- A homily on religious freedom is given on either the weekend of June 22-23 or June 29-30.
- Encourage all Catholics to pray the rosary each day during the two-week period.
- Hold a Holy Hour for Life and Liberty (Homily Notes for Presider).
- Contribute to a Spiritual Bouquet for Religious Liberty.
- To conclude the Fortnight for Freedom on July 4, all church bells in the diocese ring at 12:00 noon.
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. Prayer cards with a prayer for the protection of religious liberty can be ordered from the Office of Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living at no cost. Please allow two weeks turnaround time. You may keep the prayer card in your parish for daily or weekly prayer by Mass attendees or distribute to your parishioners to be prayed daily wherever they are. 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, Dignitatis Humanae, and the Church’s teaching on sexuality. Talks can be requested from the Culture of Life Speakers' Bureau. You can choose from the available list or you can make a special topic request. Brochures on contraception and Natural Family Planning are available from the Office of Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living.
- Encouraging your faithful to make a Novena for religious freedom, from June 26 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
- Litany for Liberty
- Letania para Libertad
Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty
The Fortnight for Freedom, which we celebrated for the first time last year, takes place from June 21—the vigil of the Feast of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day. In 2013, we face many challenges to religious liberty, including the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate; potential Supreme Court rulings in June that could redefine marriage, causing serious religious liberty issues for Catholic adoption agencies and many others; and religious liberty concerns in other areas, such as immigration and humanitarian services.
Bishop Vásquez will celebrate an opening Mass for Religious Liberty on Friday, June 21 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Luke Parish in Temple. All are invited to participate. Bishop has asked that all Catholics of the Diocese of Austin contribute prayers and sacrifices toward a Spiritual Bouquet for Religious Liberty. You can learn more about the Spiritual Bouquet and make your contribution at www.austindiocese.org/fortnightforfreedom.
La Quincena para la Libertad, la cual fue celebrada por primera vez el año pasado, se llevará a cabo del 21 de Junio –víspera de las fiestas de San John Fisher y Santo Tomás Moro- al 4 de julio, Día de la Independencia. En 2013 nos enfrentamos a muchos retos a la libertad religiosa, incluyendo la fecha límite del primero de agosto de 2013 para las organizaciones religiosas para cumplir con el mandato del Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de Estados Unidos (HHS por sus siglas en inglés); potenciales fallos de la Suprema Corte en junio que podrían redefinir el matrimonio causando serios problemas para agencias de adopción Católicas y muchas otras; y preocupaciones en otras áreas relativas a la libertad religiosa, tales como inmigración y servicios humanitarios.
El Señor Obispo Vásquez celebrará una Misa de apertura por la Libertad Religiosa el viernes 21 de junio a las 6:30 p.m. en el templo de St. Luke en Temple. Todos están invitados a participar. El Obispo ha pedido que todos los Católicos de la Diócesis de Austin contribuyan con oraciones y sacrificios al Bouquet Espiritual para la Libertad Religiosa. Puede obtener más información sobre el Bouquet Espiritual y hacer su contribución en www.austindiocese.org/fortnightforfreedom.
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 Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living at (512) 949-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.