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Fortnight for Freedom
Click here for resources from the USCCB. All parishes have been asked to recite the Prayer, Mary Immaculata
Click here for events taking place in the Diocese of Syracuse between June 21-July 4
A Letter from Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham
May 23, 2012
My Dear Friends in Christ:
I have joined my brother bishops in calling for a “Fortnight for Freedom” from June 21-July 4, a two week period of prayer and advocacy for religious liberty. As stated on the USCCB website, “the fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. 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. Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty.” (Our First, Most Cherished Liberty: A Statement on Religious Liberty, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2012)
The “Fortnight for Freedom” is in direct response to the federally imposed HHS mandate that will require most Catholic institutions to pay for employee health coverage that includes abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and contraception. Although this has been portrayed as a contraception issue in the media, the real issue is the attack on our religious freedom. The recent Health and Human Services mandate unconstitutionally attempts to define the nature of the Church’s religious ministry and would force religious employers to violate their consciences. People of all faiths should be greatly concerned with the ramifications of this action.
All parishes have been asked to join me in prayer for religious freedom. For the two week period, parishes have been encouraged to host a Holy Hour dedicated to this issue as well as to include special intercessions for the Prayers of the Faithful and to recite the attached prayer at each Mass.
I will mark the beginning of the Fortnight for Freedom with a Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 12:10 on Thursday, June 21, 2012. I invite you to join me at the Mass and to invite your friends, family and constituents as a way of spreading the word for this important cause.
James Madison, often called the Father of the Constitution, described conscience as "the most sacred of all property." He wrote that "the Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate." Please join me and fellow Catholics as we pray for a new birth of freedom in our great land.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham
Bishop of Syracuse