Looking for religious freedom heroes this Independence Day

For Catholics, Independence Day 2012 is more than a day to remember and honor the heroes of our nation from its founding through today.

It’s a time to be one.

Faced with threats to our religious liberty and our Catholic institutions, our church leaders have asked that we observe a “Fortnight for Freedom” starting this Thursday, June 21, and extending through Independence Day, July 4. We’ve been carrying stories about it for several issues. You’ll hear about it at weekend Masses.

How can we be heroic? The Founders pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor in signing the Declaration of Independence. Can we pledge extra daily Masses during the fortnight? An adoration hour? A family rosary? A nightly prayer to St. Michael the Archangel?

Can our families design a colorful yard sign that says “Protect Religious Freedom” to witness to neighbors? Might we take it to the spot we stake out for our community’s fireworks display?

Can we commit to stay informed on the topics surrounding the Health and Human Services mandate? Can we sign up at our parish or online at ilcatholic.org to join the new Illinois Catholic Advocacy Network?

Heroes are known for their sacrifices. Preserving the gift of religious freedom is worth a personal sacrifice in the coming days. Let’s not just remember our heroes this Independence Day. Let’s be one. — Thomas J. Dermody

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