Friday, June 28, 2013

Fortnight for Religious Freedom June 21- July 4, 2013


fort•night (ˈfɔrtˌnaɪt, -nɪt)   n.  a period of fourteen nights and days; two weeks.

The Bishops in the United States have asked Catholics to join them in fourteen days of prayer starting on June 21 (the eve of the Feast of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher and leading up to Independence Day on July 4. Here are seven ways you can participate in this Fortnight for Freedom.

#7 Watch and Share the CatholicVote video on the Fortnight for Freedom

#6 Fast for Religious Liberty
Make a sacrifice. Give up something. Fast.
St. Thomas More gave up his life. We can willfully give up one of our comforts in hope that God will use this sacrifice to protect our liberties.

#5 Read Archbishop Chaput’s  warning for Catholics: “We need to wake up”
“There’s a special lesson in our current situation. Anyone who thinks that our country’s neuralgic sexuality issues can somehow be worked out respectfully in the public square in the years ahead, without a parallel and vigorous defense of religious freedom, had better think again.” 

#4 Understand the connection between religious liberty and defending natural marriage
CNA / Addie Mena
CNA / Addie Mena
“If same-sex marriage continues to gain ground in our law and culture, we’ll see an increased erosion of religious believers’ freedom to witness to their faith. And if that happens, we all lose out. A robust pluralism of diverse views will give way to an increasingly homogenized public life.” -Kim Daniels 

#3 Ask you pastor to preach on religious liberty.
(Show him the resources available at
#2 Donate to an organization fighting for religious liberty in our courts

#1 Pray for Religious Liberty
And our shepherds have given us great prayers to chose from. Among them:
The Litany of Liberty (PDF) (the title alone should have your attention and interest
Prayer to St. Thomas More (PDF) – he allowed himself to be put to death by the king rather than renounce the Catholic faith
Prayer to Our Lady of Gaudalupe (PDF) – Patroness of the Americas and the Unborn
Prayer to Mary Immaculate (PDF) – Patroness of the United States

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Re-creation

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” –Jesus to His apostles, Mark 6:31 
In St. Mark’s gospel chapter 6:7-13 Jesus sent out the Twelve on mission.  They were sent out two by two and Jesus gave them authority over unclean spirits. They went off and preached repentance. They drove out demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

When the twelve returned, (beginning in Mark 6:30) they reported all they had done and taught. Evidently their missions had had success as “people were coming and going in great numbers and they had no opportunity even to eat (Mk 6:31.)” Jesus is well aware of the hard work they have done and knows too their need to replenish their spirits and bodies so they can continue to minister, and so He invites them to come away.

St Josemaria Escriva
St. Josemaria Escriva (feast day today June 26) wrote “Rest means recuperation – to gain strength, to form ideals and make plans. In other words, it means a change of occupation, so that you can come back later to your daily job with a renewed energy.” (Furrow 514)

During the summertime, many families plan vacations. Some vacations are to far away places or to extravagant resorts. Other vacations are more like “stay-cations” where the family stays close to home but tries to do some fun things that are easy on the budget. It is important when planning summer activities and vacations to make sure we focus on recuperation, renewal and rest.  If you’ve ever been on a certain type of vacation where you come home more tired than when you left, you know what I mean.

In her book The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God, Ruth Pakaluk shares beautiful thoughts on summer and recreation.
Ruth, a mother of six children, wrote that “summer is a time for recreation. The meaning of ‘recreation’ has been trivialized into ‘killing time’, doing something amusing that distracts you from the boring grind of ‘real’ life. But in its origin, the word ‘recreation’ has religious significance- literally; it is a re-creation, a restoring and improving upon creation.”

She continues, “Summer is the time of year when we should be sure to teach our children the importance of this God-given rhythm of life, alternating between diligent application to work and then refreshment of the soul through recreation. Summer is a time to teach children how to savor a slower pace, how to appreciate being outdoors, how to be with and get to know members of the family.”

Everyone seems to relish the long days of Summer and Summer is a great time to take a vacation-but DON’T take a vacation from your faith!

One of the things I love about being Catholic is that the Catholic Church is everywhere, universal. Summer is a great time to live this message deeply and teach it to our children. If you are planning to go away this summer, be it across town, or far away, the first thing you need to do is plan where you will attend mass for the Sundays you are away.

Technology has made this so quick and easy. We can all do it with just a few clicks of the mouse. You can find Catholic Churches and mass times for any parish by city name, zip code or area code at Or on a Google map put in “catholic churches” and the name of the city and it will pin point all the surrounding parishes.

Keeping Holy the Sabbath during summer is the best way to rest regularly. When we attend mass each Sunday, we take all our work and efforts from the week and lay it on the altar to be offered up to God the Father along with the sacrifice of Jesus.

Live this summer with all the sacraments and grace you can get! 

 CLICK HERE for my list of great Summer Books