WASHINGTON (CNS) — A religious liberty prayer vigil held the evening of June 22 on the east lawn of the U.S. Capitol drew about 100 supporters including Mary Ellen Barringer, a volunteer with the D.C. Knights of Columbus State Council and a member of St. Bernadette Parish in Silver Spring, Md.
“I think it’s important that we pray for our religious freedom,” she told Catholic News Service. “It’s important that we pray for our leaders that are in the Capitol and it’s important that we pray and show the world and the United States that we value our religious freedom.”
The vigil, which was preceded by a Mass celebrated at St. Joseph’s Church on Capitol Hill, was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus as part of the Fortnight for Freedom initiative. Sponsored for the second year in a row by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the two-week period consists of action and prayer to address current challenges to religious liberty, and chief among those challenges the Catholic Church feels is the federal contraceptive mandate. The candlelight vigil marked the feast of the martyrs St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, both of whom were executed for defending religious freedom.