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The Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Serve will take place from June 21 to July 4, 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 serve the poor and vulnerable in accord with human dignity and the Church’s teaching.
Here is a sampling of how dioceses across the Commonwealth will celebrate the Fortnight for Freedom:
In the Diocese of Altoona Johnstown Bishop Mark Bartchak will preside at a Holy Hour on June 24, 2014, at 7:00 p.m., at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. The Holy Hour will include Evening Prayer, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and a homily from the Bishop. All are invited to join Bishop Bartchak and others in prayer for the preservation of our religious liberty.
On each of the 14 days during the fortnight, the Diocese of Erie will publish information about one of the more than 90 services and ministries provided through the Diocese of Erie. This will be available on the website, their Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Bishop Brandt was the celebrant and homilist at a June 21 Mass at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral that opened the third annual Fortnight for Freedom observance in the Diocese of Greensburg. During the Fortnight for Freedom, priests of the Diocese of Greensburg are encouraged to use specific prayers for religious liberty at all Masses and to preach on religious freedom at one Sunday Mass during the observance and at the Mass on July 4, the close of the fortnight. In addition, pastors are asked to ring the church bells at noon on July 4.
In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, a Holy Hour for Religious Freedom will be held on June 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul. Confessions will be heard beginning at 5:30 p.m. and will be followed by Mass at 6:30 p.m. celebrated by Archbishop Chaput.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh will mark the third annual Fortnight for Freedom June 21-July 4 by encouraging local Catholics to pray for and learn about the need to safeguard religious liberty. A closing Mass is scheduled for noon Friday, July 4, at St. Mary of Mercy Church in Downtown Pittsburgh. Resources will be available here.
In the Diocese of Scranton, Mass of Faith and Freedom will be celebrated by Bishop Bambera on Sunday, June 29, 2014, at 12:15 p.m. in the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton. During this liturgy, we will reflect on the need to cultivate a spirit of service and to commemorate our freedom to serve in accord with human dignity and the Church’s teaching. Bishop Bambera has invited everyone in the Diocese, particularly those who serve the poor and vulnerable in a specific way, to join him for the celebration of this Mass, either in person or by watching the live broadcast on CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton.