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"Freedom to Serve" focus of third Fortnight for Freedom, June 21-July 4

FThe third annual Fortnight for Freedom will focus on the Church's "freedom to serve" by highlighting the link between religious liberty and service to the poor and vulnerable during the two-week event from June 21-July 4.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops created the original Fortnight for Freedom during the summer of 2012 to draw attention to the unfair federal Department of Health and Human Services mandate requring all employers to offer insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilizations. The HHS mandate was implemented for all employers on Aug. 1, 2012, while religious-based employers were given until Aug. 1, 2013 to comply. That deadline was then extended to Jan. 1, 2014, but several federal courts offered temporary injunctions to religious-based employers while their lawsuits against the HHS mandate make their way through the courts. These same religious-based employers are also watching for the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling expected in late June regarding two for-profit companies that have sued against the HHS mandate.

Want to help preserve the Church's "freedom to serve"?

Consider joining with us in reading Dignitatis Humanae, a Declaration on Religious Freedom by Pope Paul VI. We are partnering with the Archdiocese of Chicago's Peace & Justice Office in offering 14 daily emails breaking down Dignitatis Humanae into small segments, with a few reflection questions to help everyone understand what it means to practice one's faith in the world.

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Two nationally televised Masses will bookend this year's Fortnight. Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, will celebrate Mass at the Baltimore Basilica at 4:30 p.m. on Sat., June 21. To close out the Fortnight, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., at 11 a.m. on July 4. USCCB President Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., will be the homilist at the July 4 Mass.

Go to www.RemainFreeUSA.org or www.Fortnight4Freedom.org for prayer cards, parish resources and fact sheets. And check out this cool video from the USCCB on the upcoming Fortnight.