Bishop Invites All to Participate
My dear friends in Christ,
United with my brother bishops throughout the United States, I am asking Catholics throughout the Diocese of Richmond to join me in prayer for religious freedom. This year we will observe a second Fortnight for Freedom from June 21 (the vigil of the feasts of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher) to July 4 (Independence Day). As it did at last year’s this Fortnight will reawaken the spiritual energies of our Diocese to ensure that our Church and every woman, man and child in our country and abroad enjoys the basic human right to freedom of religion and conscience. This year’s Fortnight is important for several reasons:
The Supreme Court of the United States will soon offer rulings on the redefinition of marriage, which could have grave implications for the religious freedom of individuals, businesses, faith communities, and our society as a whole.
Additionally, the far-reaching HHS contraceptive mandate that was issued as part of the new federal healthcare act will go into effect on August 1st, a mere eight weeks from now. While we wait to see if we will get relief from that mandate, we must continue to pray and demand that faithful individuals, businesses, and faith communities can act in accordance with their religious convictions.
All over the globe women and men are being persecuted on the basis of their religious faith. As Catholics and American citizens, we stand in solidarity with all people who face persecution and have a duty to become educated and speak out against this persecution. We must ensure our country remains both a shining example and a leader throughout the world for religious freedom.
Finally, this second Fortnight for Freedom is part of the Church’s work to generate a consistent and courageously Catholic vision for justice and the common good that protects life, marriage, human rights, and religious freedom. We must oppose threats to religious freedom in immigration, adoption, disaster relief, and every area in which this fundamental right is not respected. I hope this second Fortnight for Freedom will strengthen this movement here in our Diocese.
During this Fortnight, please reflect on and learn about current domestic and international threats to religious freedom. Invite your ecumenical and interfaith partners to join us in our efforts to protect this human right. And, above all else, I ask you to pray on each of the 14 days during the Fortnight for Freedom. Please use prayers for the protection of religious freedom in every Mass at every parish in our Diocese, consider offering a Holy Hour for Religious Freedom at your parish, and implementing some of the suggested Fortnight activities which the Office of Justice and Peace distributed. These resources are available on our Diocesan website (www.richmonddiocese.org/ojp). Additional resources developed by the USCCB can be found at www.Fortnight4Freedom.org.
Finally, I will offer a Mass for Religious Freedom on Sunday, June 23rd at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart during the Cathedral’s regular 9:00 AM liturgy. I invite all to join me during this special liturgy as we pray, learn, and act to protect religious freedom.
Thank you in advance for your participation in this year’s Fortnight for Freedom, and please be assured of my prayers for you, your communities, and for our great Nation.
Sincerely Yours in our Lord,
+ Francis X. DiLorenzo
Most Reverend Francis X. DiLorenzo
Bishop of Richmond
Office of Justice & Peace:
Suggested events and activities
Invitation to Interreligious Fortnight event in Diocese of Arlington- New 6/13
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Richmond – June 23 at 9 AM Bishop DiLorenzo will preside at Mass for the Fortnight for Freedom.
St. Luke Catholic Church, Virginia Beach – Mass for Freedom on Sunday, June 23rd at 9:30 AM. Daily prayer and Litany each evening; Rosary after daily 7 AM Mass, except on Monday; and 40 hours of devotion with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from Thursday, June 27th, to Saturday, June 29th.
St. Benedict Parish, Chesapeake – We will be offering prayers or novenas after each los Mass beginning June 21st. After Mass on Friday, June 21st and Friday, June 28th we will hold a Eucharistic Holy Hour for Life, Marriage and Liberty. On July 4th after Mass, we will offer the Rosary for America. Handouts from the USCCB on a variety of subjects concerning our religious freedom and holy cards will be available in the narthex.