SALT LAKE CITY — To join the "Fortnight for Freedom" called by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the nuns at the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Monastery in Holladay are offering a novena with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament that is open to the public.
"We want people to know that we are joining with our bishops to do what little we can do to help our country," said Mother Maureen Goodwin, the monastery’s mother superior.
The USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty on April 12 issued a document, "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty," outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom. The bishops called for a "Fortnight for Freedom," a period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21 to July 4.
June 21 is the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More; July 4 is Independence Day.
"Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty," according to a USCCB press release. "Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty."
Special Masses to open and close the Fortnight for Freedom are planned. A Mass will be offered on June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, Md., celebrated by Archbishop William E. Lori of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Then, on July 4 at 12:10 p.m., a Mass will be offered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington and homilist the Most Rev. Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia. This Mass will be televised nationwide on the EWTN cable network; check local listings for broadcast time.
When the nuns at the Carmelite monastery became aware of the Fortnight for Freedom, they immediately agreed to offer a novena, Mother Maureen said. "You need to follow God’s law, and if the country is asking you to do something that is contrary to what the law of God is, you need to speak up," she said. "We can’t offer anything to anybody but prayer and to have people come and join us to adore the Lord and to make this petition."
Because the nuns realized that many people work during the day, they decided to open their chapel to the public for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the afternoon and early evening "to pray for that intention and to invite all of our Catholic friends to join us," she said. "We can see that it is a great need."
Likewise, Saint Elizabeth parishioners in Central Valley will be encouraged to pray during the fortnight, said Father Rick Sherman, pastor. Although he will be on vacation during that time, parishioner Sharon Davis has made bilingual prayer cards for the event, "so I will issue those with the bulletin this weekend and encourage the folks to pray along," Fr. Sherman said.WHAT: Novena for the intention of the Fortnight for Freedom
WHEN: June 21 - June 29, 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily
WHERE: Chapel of the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Monastery, 5714 Holladay Blvd. in Holladay
Open to the public
For more information about the Fortnight for Freedom, including prayer resources and suggestions for activities, visit http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/fortnight-for-freedom.
The document "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty" may be found online at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/our-first-most-cherished-liberty.cfm.