Catholics applaud Fortnight for Freedom event
By Deb Wagner
FORT WAYNE — Catholics from Fort Wayne and the surrounding area gathered at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday, June 30, for a special Mass acknowledging the Fortnight for Freedom observance. The two-week period of prayer, penance, education and action to secure religious liberty ended on Independence Day, July 4.
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrated the 5 p.m. Mass and spoke in his homily about miracles being the signs of Jesus’ divine power and love, especially for the marginalized populations that includes the sick and suffering, the blind, the deaf, the lame, the possessed and the oppressed. The faithful can imitate the love of the heart of Jesus through living out faith. That is why the Church established thousands of charities, hospitals and health care facilities, colleges and universities, and other institutions — not only to care for them in the United States, but also to emulate the importance of serving others to the young people.
Fortnight for Freedom is a time in which to profess the right to live out faith without unjust intrusion by the government. The Department of Health and Human Services mandates employers, including Catholic institutions, to provide contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs in their health plans. Equally offensive is the government’s narrow definition as to what constitutes a religious institution.
Applause broke out as Bishop Rhoades ended his homily with “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Sean McBride, director of communications for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, believes: “Fortnight for Freedom is a tremendous initiative put forth by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that we hope engage people in issues beyond Sunday morning.”
Gregory and Dianne Mitro from St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Fort Wayne felt empowered by the Mass saying, “It’s a beautiful event and we need to have more protests publicly in order to have our country back in terms of values.”
Gregory adds, “While it is a good thing that Fortnight for Freedom is happening, it’s unfortunate circumstances have made it necessary to have it happen.”
Sacred Heart parishioner Rhonda Kuhn recommends that the observance continue until the November election.
Rita Talamantes from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception believes that “we are at a very historical time and that our actions (through Fortnight for Freedom) will prevent future strife.”
Matthew Bunson, editor of Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Almanac and Catholic Answer magazine, shares these thoughts about Fortnight for Freedom: “For those of us concerned about religious liberty, Fortnight for Freedom in an opportunity to work together in prayer, fasting and educating ourselves and others about what has, I think, become one of the most pressing issues in modern American Catholic history.
“In particular, the prayers and fasting performed in solidarity as a Church unite us and strengthen us and remind us of the power of the Holy Spirit in transforming hearts and minds. We need the Fortnight for Freedom to remember our bishops. Keep them in our thoughts and support their labors as the authentic shepherds of the Church. Finally, the Fortnight for Freedom reminds us as Americans and as Catholics, we should not have to choose to be one or the other as the bishops recently reminded us.”