"What is that?" you ask. Well, I'll tell you. The Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) wrote a document about religious liberty, and they called for a 14-day period of prayer, action, and education in support of religious freedom. It runs from June 21st to July 4th. Now, even if you aren't in the U.S. you can still participate. Religious freedom is important no matter where you are!
|Image from this article on martydom by Msgr. Charles Pope|
Check out the official webpage for Fortnight for Freedom and the statement by the U.S. Confrence of Catholic Bishops reguarding freedom of religion.
Now you ask, "What do I do to participate?" I'll make 14 suggestions, since it's a fortnighty thing.
1.Check your Diocese newspaper for events in your area. Maybe a special Mass or a rally?
2. Pray the Rosary for religious freedom for all people.
3. Read about martyred saints. You can start at the Catholic.org page on martyred saints. Then, share what you learned with somebody else.
4. Write to the government about the HHS mandate. The NCHLA Action Center page can help you learn about the issues and send an email.
5. Support Christian musicians and artists. Do you like heavy metal? Check out Catholic Metal.com, or how about punk? Take a listen to The Outer Fringe, or just wander through The Catholic Music Network site and see what tickles your fancy.
6. Make a blog post about religious freedom. Tell others about the Fortnight For Freedom or about the martyrs you read about.
7. Write a story or poem with the theme of religious freedom. Maybe a fantasy about an alien planet where the characters must go underground to worship. Or if painting and drawing's your thing, make a picture.
8. Start keeping up on Catholic news around the world. For instance, what's happening to Catholics in China? What does the Pope say about Syria? Pop over to Catholic News Service or another Catholic news site and inform yourself.
9. Share the Good News on Facebook or Twitter. Take these 14 days to evangelize more. Go out and make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:19)
10. Listen to Catholic radio. If you don't get it in your area, go to Catholic.com and click on the "listen" button at the top to hear Catholic Answers live (6-8 Eastern time) or check out the podcasted shows on the site or subscribe at iTunes.
11. Decide of a Catholic book you want. Go into your local bookstore (they have them still right?) See if they have the book on the shelves. (You're almost guaranteed they won't have it.) Then ask them to order it for you. It sends the message that people want them! They are about making money, so they listen when people ask them to sell particular types of books.
12. And of course support your local Catholic bookstore, if you have one in the area. And support the shops and restaurants that support your parish. Does your parish have a bulletin? Check the back. It might indicate which local businesses support your parish.
(Whew! Can I think of two more?)
13. Organize a rally or ask your priest to hold a special Mass for religious freedom, then help him publicize it.
14. Pray for the success of the Fortnight of Freedom efforts.
I'm sure you can think of many more things to do!