Fortnight of prayer for religious freedom begins June 21 throughout the diocese

Events are scheduled in Pittsburg, Harper County, and Winfield
By Bonnie Toombs
The U.S. bishops’ conference has announced a second Fortnight for Freedom, scheduled for the two weeks leading up to Independence Day, to raise awareness and support for the right to religious liberty.
The diocesan kick off for the event is June 21 with a 7 p.m. Mass at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Wichita. A reception will follow. Additional Masses, rosaries and Holy Hours are being offered throughout the diocese for the defense of Life, Religious Liberty and the Defense of Marriage.
“The need for prayer, education, and action in defense of religious liberty has never been greater,” said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore. “The Fortnight for Freedom exists to meet that need.”
The two-week event is designed to “emphasize the need for conscience protection” and general religious liberty both at home and overseas. It will focus on a broad variety of recent threats to religious freedom, including those in the realms of immigration, humanitarian aid, adoption and health care.
Among the major religious liberty concerns in the U.S. is a federal mandate, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, that requires employers to offer health insurance plans covering contraception, sterilization and some drugs that can cause early abortions.
We defend religious liberty because we are called by our faith and in love of Jesus Christ to love our neighbor. At my son’s middle school, the principal used the term live our faith out loud – I like that. To be silent means we willingly accept living our faith only within the walls of our homes or Church. Let it be said that the Diocese of Wichita is known for its loud and proud faithful living in our homes, parishes, neighborhoods and cities. During the Fortnight, I encourage you to learn more, pray more and take action.
There are daily reflections available during the Fortnight on the USCCB website. The reflections and readings from the Vatican II document Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis Humanae) are intended for daily use during the Fortnight for Freedom.
Educational materials, readings, and the questions that follow can be used for group discussion or for personal reflection are available at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/fortnight-for-freedom.
Toombs is director of the diocesan Respect Life and Social Justice Office.

Fortnight For Freedom Masses and Prayer
Friday, June 21: Mass, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, 7 p.m., reception will follow
Saturday, June 22: Mass, St. Mark, Colwich, 8 a.m.
Monday, June 24: Mass, Cathedral, Wichita, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, June 25: Mass, St. Teresa of Avila, Hutchinson, 12:05 p.m.
Tuesday, June 25: Spanish Rosary, 7 p.m., St. Patrick’s, Wichita
Wednesday, June 26: Mass, Spiritual Life Center, 11:15 a.m.
Thursday, June 27: Write or call your legislator, pray a family rosary
Friday, June 28: Christ the King, Wichita, 7:30 a.m., confessions 8 a.m., Mass, followed by Holy Hour
Saturday, June 29: Mass, Our Lady of Lourdes, Pittsburg, 8 a.m.
Monday, July 1: Mass, St. Joan of Arc Parish, Harper County, 5:30 p.m., Mass to be held at Immaculate Conception Church, in Danville.
July 2: Mass Holy Name Parish, Winfield, 8 a.m.
July 3: Mass St. John the Evangelist, El Dorado, 6:15 p.m., reception to follow
July 4: Mass Sacred Heart, Colwich, 9 a.m.