Series to explore religious liberty issues, Year of Faith

Wishing to support Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, and other church leaders in their strong calls to defend religious liberty, as well as to prepare for the approaching “Year of Faith” proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI, a group of area Catholic laymen decided to take action.

The result is a four-part series of monthly talks that begins at 7 p.m. next Friday, July 27, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 7403 N. Radnor Road in Peoria.

The series, called “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death,” is the result of members of a prayer group deciding “let’s try to do something,” according to Peter McKean, a member of St. John’s Parish in Bradford.

McKean will speak at the first gathering on the theme “The Call to Arms.” He will summarize recent speeches and documents from Bishop Jenky, Pope Benedict, and the U.S. Bishops and propose a plan of action for Catholic laymen in response to the calls.

Other prayer group members will speak at sessions planned for Friday evenings in August, September, and October.

McKean told The Catholic Post it is part of the design of the series that the speakers not be well-known figures.

“It’s us ‘nobodies’ who have to stand up and start to do something,” said McKean, who called the series the fruit of group’s prayer and study of recent church documents. He said the series is open only to men in an attempt to “grow friendships among Catholic men.” To that end, a key element of the evening will be a social hour at 8 p.m. following the 45-minute main talk and a question-and-answer period.

The series continues as follows:

Aug. 17 — “Strategy and Tactics for the Field of Battle,” led by Warren Diem, a retired school teacher from Chicago. He will discuss the facts and implications of the Health and Human Services mandate, the church’s response, and the implications for Catholic laymen.

Sept. 21 — “Basic Training for Catholic Laymen,” featuring Steve Rudolph of St. Mary’s Parish, Metamora. Rudolph’s topics will include personal sanctity as the foundation for answering the call, and the habits of effective “Catholic warriors.”

Oct. 19 — “Advanced Training: Wielding our ‘Weapons,'” led by Cliff Rebello of St. Jude’s Parish, Peoria. Rebello will discuss how knowledge of the faith is our only true weapon, and help set personal goals for the Year of Faith.

All talks begin at 7 p.m. and are offered free of charge.

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