HARTFORD – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for a Fortnight for Freedom June 21-July 4, a two-week period of prayer and action related to challenges to religious liberty, including the Aug. 1 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate, Supreme Court rulings in June that could attempt to redefine marriage, and religious freedom concerns in such areas as humanitarian services and immigration.
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell will celebrate the televised Mass on WCCT-TV in observance of the Fortnight for Freedom at 10 a.m. June 23.
Parishes in the Archdiocese of Hartford are scheduling liturgies and activities, as well. All of the following listings can be found on the Events Calendar at right:
St. Mary Parish in Branford will recite the rosary at 7:30 a.m. each weekday during the two-week period for the intention of religious liberty. Information is available at www.stmarybranford.org.
St. Margaret Church in Madison will participate in the bishops’ initiative by offering prayers for religious freedom following the 7:45 a.m. weekday Mass, at a holy hour at 3 p.m. July 1 and on July 4 at adoration followed by Benediction at 7 p.m.
St. Catherine of Siena Parish in West Simsbury will hold a Fortnight for Freedom Prayer Service at noon Sunday, June 30, in its Mary Garden. Prayers and music will unite attendees in defense of religious freedom. The garden will be decorated in red, white and blue. Strawberries and cream will be served afterward. The event is sponsored the the parish Defenders of Faith committee.
Assumption Church in Ansonia plans a holy hour for religious freedom at 7 p.m. July 2 in the convent chapel. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Scripture readings, music, prayer and Benediction are planned.
Also planned at Assumption is a "Patriotic Ice Cream Social" at which conversation about contemporary issues facing the nation will be encouraged. A sparkler fireworks display will follow, weather permitting. A flyer outlining the event can be accessed here.
St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Naugatuck will have a prayer service with Eucharistic adoration for religious freedom at 6:30 p.m. June 28. An ice cream social on the rectory lawn will follow. It is open to the public.
At St. Rita Parish in Hamden, various parish groups, including the Knights of Columbus and a youth group, will be involved in the activities.
They include a vigil Mass for the feasts of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher at 6:30 p.m. June 21, an old-fashioned ice cream social following the 11:30 a.m. Mass on June 23 and extended adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on June 24.
Also planned at St. Rita is a talk about immigration and citizenship at 7 p.m. June 26 by Sister Mary Ellen Burns, a member of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who is an immigration lawyer and director of the Apostles Immigration Center in New Haven.
"For Greater Glory," a film about the Cristeros Catholic fighters for religious freedom in Mexico during the 1920s, will be screened at 7 p.m. July 1 in the St. Rita Parish Center. Popcorn and other refreshments will be served. A closing Mass for the Fortnight for Freedom will be celebrated at 7:30 a.m. July 4.
In addition, parishioners at St. Rita are being encouraged to pray the rosary on both Saturdays of the Fortnight for Freedom for the intention of religious liberty.
Also, at Our Lady of Pompeii Church in East Haven, in honor of the Fortnight for Freedom, the 8 a.m. parish Mass on Independence Day, July 4, will include patriotic hymns. The congregation is being encouraged to wear the patriotic colors of red, white and blue. The rosary that will be recited at 7:30 a.m. will include intentions for our country and religious liberty. Both are open to the public.