Friday, June 22, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom

We attended our dioceses's beautiful prayer service opening the Fortnight for Freedom last night in front of the cathedral, where we heard from a Catholic businessman and the president of the Catholic hospital. Both of these speakers brought home the dilemma they are facing under the HHS mandate if it becomes a reality. The businessman spoke of how he has always treated his employees with respect and justice as a Christian should, by providing health coverage, and how he never thought be facing this moral dilemma. The second talk highlighted the monumental scale of Catholic social ministries  in this country, where one in every six people receive services from Catholic hospitals or health services, and how these services grew where there was a need, and how services have always been provided for all: "we have never asked them to recite the Creed or even to be baptized to be treated", we heard.

It was our Bishops' words, however, that entered the hearts of all present and made us aware of the magnitude of what we are facing in this country--and what is to come in a country where the government believes it must interfere with faith life. A civil attorney with a state government before converting and becoming a priest, the bishop spoke from experience, with conviction and wisdom. He spoke of Saints John Fischer and Saint Thomas More and how they were the government's good servants-- "...but God's first!".

Here is the text of the prayer  for the Protection of Religious Liberty we are all called to say the next fourteen days, leading to the the Forth of July:
O God our Creator,
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be "one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

And here is a suggestion of films to watch during this time.

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