Religious Freedom is under peril as never in our history
We got a wake-up call to the growing peril to our religious freedom this year: President Obama’s order to compel all Americans, with few exceptions, to include—as part of health care—coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.
This isn’t a matter of “choice.” With this mandate, which is now law and takes effect for most this August—or for those who seek more time, one year later, we lost our choice.
And if we don’t stop it—whether through legislation or by a court decision—we may lose our charities, our universities and our hospitals, because we won’t be able to operate them in a Catholic way. When the government says we can’t run our hospitals and schools according to our Catholic beliefs—they stop being Catholic. That’s what we now face.
It’s not just one issue—and it’s not just a Catholic issue
It’s not just mandated health “services.” It’s also redefining what marriage is… imposing potential criminal penalties when churches provide food or spiritual care to illegal immigrants…silencing military chaplains from teaching the contents of their faith… interfering with the religious rights of other Christians, of Jews or Muslims…and whatever else what may be coming down the pike in the years ahead. (And these threats have been supported by members of both political parties.)
The bishops unite in calling for a ‘Fortnight’ of prayer and sacrifice
All our Catholic bishops are united in asking 70 million U.S. Catholics to unite in prayer, fasting and sacrifice to turn the tide: so that we continue to enjoy all the blessings of liberty—including the blessing of living our faith freely and fully in our beloved country.
The Fortnight for Freedom: June 21 to Independence Day, July 4.
As pastor, I am asking every parishioner, of every age, to do what you can, if possible, every day during the Fortnight. We can all do something:
Ø Pray the Rosary, or Divine Mercy chaplet, or other prayers.
Ø Make a holy hour.
Ø Fast (still having one meal) as we do on Good Friday.
Ø Make some sacrifice (do without something) as during Lent.
Ø Attend daily Mass.
Ø Go to confession.
Ø Perform works of service or generosity.
Ø Take time to learn about your Faith—and about these threats.
Ø Share this information with others.
Ø Get involved as a citizen.
Look for the ‘Commitment Board’ at church—and make your commitment!
Starting June 2, a ‘Commitment Board’ will be displayed in each church, and in St. Clare Chapel. Commitment slips will be in the pews and in the back of church, so you—as you choose—can commit to whatever prayers, sacrifices or penance you wish. We’ll collect these every week, and your commitments (they can be anonymous) will be posted on the Commitment Boards to encourage us all.
If you have children, help them decide what they can do—and fill out a commitment form for them as well. While it’s not necessary to fill out a Commitment slip, the more we can post on the board, the more encouraged everyone will be. And let’s be honest—making that commitment makes it more likely to happen.
Corpus Christi (June 8-10): let’s proclaim Jesus our King in Piqua!
Every year we have 40 Hours at St. Mary, followed by a procession with our Eucharistic Lord through Piqua to St. Boniface. Let this be our way to pledge allegiance to Jesus our King, and to pray for the good of our city and nation.
Special holy hours at St. Clare, special emphasis at daily Mass, June 21-July 4
For each daily Mass from June 21 to July 4, where possible the Mass prayers will focus on part of our concern. For example, one day we’ll pray for the good of the Church; another, we’ll pray for all who suffer religious persecution worldwide.
If you wish to pray in the chapel with others, please visit the chapel on Mondays at 11 am, or Tuesday at 7 pm. Otherwise make a holy hour at any time you wish.
On Saturday June 23 and Saturday June 30, we’ll add an 8 am Mass at St. Mary, asking the Blessed Mother’s prayers in a special way (however, please understand that if a funeral or any of our priests have a health emergency, we may have to cancel this).
Father Martin Fox
P.S. For more information…
Watch the bulletin for updates. Meanwhile, visit these sites for updates:
US Bishops: http://new.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/fortnight-for-freedom/index.cfm
Archdiocese of Cincinnati: http://www.catholiccincinnati.org/