The U.S. bishops have called for a Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer and action, to address many current challenges to religious liberty, including the August 1, 2013, deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS contraceptive mandate, Supreme Court rulings that could attempt to redefine marriage in June, and religious liberty concerns in areas such as immigration and humanitarian services.
Here is an overview of events happening across the state. Please click on the links for more events and information:
In observance of the Fortnight for Freedom, Bishop Mark Bartchak of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown will preside at a Holy Hour on July 1 at 7:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Altoona. The Holy Hour will include Evening Prayer, a homily, and Eucharistic Adoration.
In the Diocese of Allentown is hosting several events to mark the Fortnight for Freedom, including a viewing of the film about St. Thomas More, “A Man for All Seasons,” forums and Mass, and ringing of church bells on July 4.
In the Diocese of Erie, St. Thomas More House of Prayer, Cranberry, will hold all-night adoration, beginning Thursday, June 27 at 8:30 p.m. and ends Friday at 3 p.m. with benediction. The house will hold an outdoor showing of “A Man for All Seasons” on Friday at 8 p.m. on June 21. Also, St. Michael Parish, Fryburg is offering the Liturgy of the Hours on July 3. More information will be available here.
The Fortnight will begin in the Diocese of Greensburg with an Ecumenical Prayer Service for Religious Freedom led by Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt June 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, Greensburg. Bishop Brandt will be joined by priests of the diocese and ministers of other denominations.
In the Diocese of Harrisburg, St. John the Baptist Parish, New Freedom, will host an event entitled “Field of Flags,” during which participants will pray the living rosary, sing patriotic music and listen to speakers. Flags will be planted in support of religious liberty.
In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the faithful are encouraged to join together in prayer for religious liberty:
Prayer for Religious Liberty
Almighty God, Father of all nations, for freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1).
We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty, the foundation of human rights, justice and the common good.
Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties.
By your grace may we have the courage to defend them, for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness, and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, with whom you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever.
“Women’s Freedom and Religious Freedom,” a talk featuring Dr. Faith Daggs and Helene Paharick, kicks off the Fortnight in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Other events in the Pittsburgh area include a discussion of the redefinition of marriage and Mass with Bishop Zubik.
Bishop Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton has invited participation in two Fortnight events at Saint Peter’s Cathedral, Scranton. On Wednesday, June 26, at 12:10 p.m., he will host an Ecumenical Service of Prayer for Religious Freedom with representatives of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant denominations in attendance. On Sunday, June 30 at 12:15 p.m., he will celebrate a special Mass of Faith and Freedom.