Bishop Peter F. Christensen and the other Bishops of the United States have called all the faithful to celebrate the Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Serve from June 21 to July 4, 2014, a time when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. The theme of this year's Fortnight will focus on the freedom to serve the poor and vulnerable in accord with human dignity and the Church's teaching.
1. Sponsor a day of faith-based service within the community, perhaps volunteering at a soup kitchen or helping to paint, garden, clean, or organize donations at a local charity. Highlight existing Catholic service activities and institutions and how they would be harmed if existing religious freedom protections were eroded.
2. Celebrate a memorial Mass for SS. Thomas More and John Fisher on June 21 (vigil) or June 22 (their feast day) to open the Fortnight for Freedom.
3. Present a Catholic movie night for members of your parish, showing any of the following movies:
4. Invite a local or national figure to speak to your parish about religious liberty. Also, encourage parishioners to read Our First, Most Cherished Liberty, a document of the Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.
5. Host a concert with religious music.
6. Plan a parish outreach event including a meal—a fish fry, a picnic, a pancake breakfast, or a spaghetti supper—to raise awareness about the Fortnight and advertise local Fortnight events.
7. Organize day-long (or multi-day) Eucharistic Adoration.
8. Sponsor a presentation on the history of Catholicism in the United States.
9. Host a study group on Dignitatis Humanae, the groundbreaking document from the Second Vatican Council on religious liberty, using the 14-day reflection piece at www.Fortnight4Freedom.org.
10. Lead a Eucharistic Procession through your community on a path that passes important government or civic buildings.
11. Host a panel discussion on the wide range of current religious freedom issues; on a single religious freedom issue in depth; or on how religion can and should influence policy issues generally.
12. Remind parishioners that the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision—a religious freedom challenge to the HHS mandate against for-profit businesses—is expected to occur during the Fortnight (likely on the last day of the Court’s term, June 30). Consider events surrounding the announcement of the decision.
13. As a parish at the end of daily Mass, pray the Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty.
14. Organize an Independence Day family picnic with a special Mass to close the Fortnight for Freedom.