The Fortnight for Freedom ended yesterday with Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Philadelphia Archbishop (and PCC Chairman) Charles Chaput preached the homily at the Mass. You can watch the homily here or read the full text here. In part, he said, “Today, July 4, we celebrate the birth of a novus ordo seclorum – a “new order of the ages,” the American Era. God has blessed our nation with resources, power, beauty and the rule of law. We have so much to be grateful for. But these are gifts. They can be misused. They can be lost. In coming years, we’ll face more and more serious challenges to religious liberty in our country. This is why the Fortnight for Freedom has been so very important.”
Bishop Joseph McFadden, PCC President, celebrated Mass yesterday at St. Patrick Cathedral in Harrisburg. Bishop McFadden said our Founding Fathers had an “understanding of God as the author of life and the guarantor of freedom … [this is] is a message that needs to be re-emphasized in our own day and our own society. We must not let God be pushed to the margins of American life or be totally removed from the public square.” Read more here.
Bishop Joseph Bambera of Scranton (pictured above) celebrated a special Mass of Faith and Freedom at the Cathedral of Saint Peter on Sunday, July 1. Bishop Bambera said, “All of our vast charitable works, including health care, social services and education, exist because of our faith in Jesus. They are not optional extras, but essential fruits of our faith. Yet the government has instead claimed the right to restrict our religious life to moments in which Catholics alone gather solely for worship and teaching. That is what is at stake in this battle for religious liberty. That is what is at stake for us as Catholics and indeed for every other religion and faith community.” You can watch or read his entire homily here.
These are just samples of the countless events have taken place across the Commonwealth and the country to mark the Fortnight. They include Holy Hours, Masses, lectures, presentations, rosaries and novenas.
Catholics of Pennsylvania have emerged with a better understand of religious freedom and a deeper relationship with God. As one parishioner said at a parish event during the Fortnight, ” We can’t take for granted that someone else is going to fight this fight. Religious liberty belongs to all of us and unfortunately we must work to keep it.”