Almighty and good God, Father of all Creation. We thank you for placing deep within us the Divine attribute of freedom and giving us a longing for it in our daily lives.


In history the founders of our great nation enshrined religious freedom as our highest liberty.


Inspire in us the gifts of wisdom and courage so that we may defend our liberty always that our children and our children’s children may be ever free to walk by the light of your Truth. Amen


Bishop William P. Callahan, OFM Conv. Diocese of La Crosse


For more information:


Office for Ministries and Social Concerns


Direct Dial: (608) 791-0161

Fax: (608) 791-2675


Fortnight for Freedom

Diocese of La Crosse (June 21-July 4, 2015)



Why Another Fortnight?

“The Freedom to Bear Witness”

We have a challenge. Just as we begin the season of summer relaxation, the US Bishops have called us again to cherish and defend religious liberty through a Fortnight for Freedom, June 21-July 4. 


There are good reasons for their summons (see “Fortnight for Freedom Fact Sheets ”).  Besides the threats to that freedom we face at home – such as those posed by same-sex “marriage” and healthcare mandates – the attack on religious freedom is even more distressing abroad. In the Middle East and in parts of Africa, churches are being burned and Christians persecuted, driven from their homes and often slaughtered by the thousands at the hands of radical Islam.


How to answer this challenge in a distracted world wooed by summer fun and sun?


We simply must remember who we are, what is at stake, and what it is that Jesus calls us to be and to do. A helpful meditation is provided in this excerpt from a talk by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia:


Christianity is not mainly about politics. It's about living and sharing the love of God. A Christian life begins in a relationship with Jesus Christ; and it bears fruit in the justice, mercy and love we show to others because of that relationship.


That's the test of our faith. Without a passion for Jesus Christ in our hearts that reshapes our lives, Christianity is just a word game and a legend.  Relationships have consequences. A married man will commit himself to certain actions and behaviors, no matter what the cost, out of the love he bears for his wife. Our relationship with God is the same. We need to prove our love by our actions, not just in our personal and family lives, but also in the public square. And that includes our social and business relations, as well as our politics. 


And then there is this, from Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the US Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty:


Retaining the spirit of the Gospel means more than distancing our institutions of service and education from moral evil. It means more than merely refraining from giving the kind of bad example that undermines people’s faith or encourages them to engage in wrongdoing. Rather, keeping the spirit of the Gospel means that Catholic institutions are to bear witness in love to the full truth about the human person by providing social, charitable, and educational services in a manner that fully reflects the God-given dignity of the human person.


During the debates at Vatican II on the text of the Declaration on Religious Liberty, the future John Paul II famously said, “there is no freedom without truth.” If we believe the Church’s teachings on sexuality and marriage are authentic manifestations of true human dignity, then defending these teachings will be linked to our defense of religious freedom.


Finally, once again from Archbishop Chaput:


The skills of the Christian citizen are finally very simple: a zeal for Jesus Christ and his Church; a conscience formed in humility, love for the truth, and rooted in Scripture and the believing community; the prudence to see which issues in public life are vital and foundational to human dignity, and which ones are not; and the courage to work for what's right. We don't cultivate these skills alone. We develop them together as Christians, in prayer, on our knees, in the presence of Jesus Christ.


And so the public witness we bear is first of all rooted in prayer. We conclude with a beautiful prayer provided by the US Bishops for the Fortnight:


O God Our Creator

from Your provident hand we have received

our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

You have called us as Your people and given us

the right and the duty to worship You, the only true God,

and Your Son, Jesus Christ.

Through the power and workings of Your Holy Spirit,

You call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,

bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel

to every corner of society.


We ask You to bless us

in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.

Give us the strength of mind and heart

to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;

give us courage in making our voices heard

on behalf of the rights of Your Church

and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.


Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,

a clear and united voice to all Your sons and daughters

gathered in Your Church

in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,

so that, with every trial withstood

and every danger overcome -

for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,

and all who come after us -

this great land will always be "one nation under God,

indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."


We ask this through Christ our Lord.




Return to this website frequently for updates on the Fortnight for Freedom.

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