On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

The Diocese of Phoenix is planning its own set of special events to highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. The following is a tentative schedule:

  • Friday, June 22 – Feast of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher:
    • Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted – 8:30 a.m. Mass at St. Thomas More Parish
  • Sunday, June 24 – Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist:
    • Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted – 9 a.m. Televised Mass at the Cathedral
    • Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares – 10 a.m. Mass at St. John the Baptist in Laveen
  • Friday, June 29 – Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul:
    • Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares – 7 p.m. Mass at St. Paul Parish
  • Sunday, July 1 – Masses in Flagstaff, Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares:
    • 10 a.m. English
    • Noon Spanish
  • Wednesday, July 4 – Independence Day:
    • 8.30 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral followed by Rosary – Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares

Catholic institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to defend our most cherished freedom.

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. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.

Source: usccb.org, Communications Office