HARTFORD – The Archdiocese of Hartford is gearing up to participate in the Fortnight for Freedom, a pre-Independence Day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious liberty.
Its Web site offers materials from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has asked Catholics across the United States to participate in the effort from June 21 to July 4.
In his June column in The Catholic Transcript, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell outlines the threats to religious liberty and calls on all archdiocesan parishes and institutions to participate in the Fortnight for Freedom.
Parishes are joining the effort. St. Ann Parish in Avon has created a ministry called "Defenders of Faith" which will research issues and communicate methods by which people can fight legislation and mandates that threaten religious liberty. A book of intentions and prayers has been placed at the pulpit at Sacred Heart in New Britain for parishioners who wish to enter their intentions. SS. Peter and Paul in Wallingford will have an evening of prayer at 6 each night from June 21 to July 4 that will be dedicated to ending threats to religious liberty. Other parishes are also coming up with initiatives.
Included on the archdiocesan site is a link to the USCCB Web site and a link to the letter from the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities about a mandate that would require Catholic institutions to cover contraceptives and sterilizations in their health plans.
Also on the archdiocesan site are suggested homily notes and commentaries for daily Masses and sample homilies for Masses on Sundays June 24 and July 1. A sample Prayer of the Faithful and special Litany for Liberty for group prayer also are included.
The materials also have been mailed to all archdiocesan parishes and institutions with a letter from the archbishop that says he "heartily and enthusiastically" endorses support for the period of prayer, study, catechesis and public action.
The Fortnight for Freedom is designed as a response to the threat against religious liberty posed by the health coverage mandate.
The liturgical calendar during the two-week campaign observes several saints who were killed for standing up against political power, including Saint John Fisher and Saint Thomas More (commemorated together on June 22).