Preserve Religious Freedom

Patriotic Hymns Sing-Along

Hymn
We tried something different after the 10:30 AM mass last Sunday. Parishioners love singing patriotic hymns and several are in our hymnal. Even if one is selected for the recessional hymn on a patriotic holiday weekend, that leaves a few favorites unsung. So, after America the Beautiful as a recessional hymn, most parishioners stayed on to sing the entire repertoire of patriotic hymns in our hymnal!

Before the mass, we prayed the Prayer For Religious Liberty from the USCCB. We have a lot to be thankful for and as much to be vigilant about on this national celebration of freedom.

 


Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito In Madison, NJ Speaks About Religious Liberty and Evangelization

Alito: America's dedication to religious liberty being tested

Associated Press

Wednesday,March 15, 2017  7:10 p.m.

MADISON, N.J. -The U.S.is entering a period when its commitment to religious liberty is being tested, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito told an audience Wednesday at an event

Samuel Alito
Justice Samuel Alito


sponsored by a Catholic lawyers' organization.

Alito used his own words from his dissent in the Supreme Court's landmark same-sex marriage case, telling the gathering he had predicted opposition to the decision would be used to "vilify those who disagree, and treat them as bigots."

"We are seeing this is coming to pass," he said, then mentioned Bob Dylan's famous song lyric, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

"A wind is picking up that is hostile to those with traditional moral beliefs," Alito said.

The speech was sponsored by Advocati Christi, a group of Catholic lawyers and judges who seek. to "provide an opportunity for lawyers learn about the Catholic faith and Catholic social teaching and to help them integrate these into their life and practice."

Alito served as U.S. Attorney in New Jersey and was based in Newark while a member of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He has been a Supreme Court justice since 2006.

In a roughly 45-minute speech that mentioned the Founding Fathers and 19th-century French writer Alexis De Tocqueville as well as Dylan and the 1960's TV sitcom "The Flying Nun," Alito discussed the hostility faced by Catholics in the U.S. over the centuries, and of his own joy as a youth staying up until the wee hours of the

morning to witness John F. Kennedy elected the first Roman Catholic president in 1960. "I felt it bad lifted me up from the status of second-class American," he said.

While religious freedom has been recognized in Congress and in the courts, Alito said, attitudes are slower to change. He recounted a Democratic lawmaker who opposed his nomination in 2005 because Alito would make "too many Catholics on the court."

Alito said reactions to Supreme Court decisions such as the Hobby Lobby case, in which a company balked at being required to cover certain forms of contraception in its employee health plan, should spur action.

"We are likely to see pitched battles in courts and Congress, state legislatures and town halls," he said. "But the most important fight is for the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans. It is up to all of us to evangelize our fellow Americans about the issue of religious freedom."


The (Saint) Benedict Option

Another interesting book for Lenten reading, sobering but spiritual, The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher was published this week. A book in the genre of Archbishop Chaput's book, written from a slightly different perspective but arriving at the same conclusions: we (Christian believers) are in trouble around the world and here in America.

Dreher's thesis is that we have lost the culture war against religion. Just as the barbarians sacked Rome and then St. Augustine's city of Hippo, they have done so again in our age of "liquid modernity, a time when social change occurs so rapidly that no social institutions have time to solidify." Dreher complains we have become a society of strangers, each pursuing our own interests under minimal constraints. Barbarians abandon objective moral standards, refuse to accept any religious or culturally binding narratives except those they choose, repudiate memory of the past and reject history as irrelevant and distance themselves from community and any unchosen or unwanted social obligations.  

Capital-one-barbarians-425x246
Barbarians Enjoying the Culture They Destroy While It Lasts
Capitol One Ad Campaign 2003

Remember the Capital One credit card commercials with hordes of rapacious tribesmen rampaging through cities heedlessly destroying the structures of civilization? "Barbarians are governed only by their will to power, and neither know nor care a thing about what they are annihilating. By that standard, despite our wealth and technological sophistication, we in the modern West are living under barbarism, though we do not recognize it. Our scientists, our judges, our princes, our scholars, and our scribes—they are at work demolishing the faith, the family, gender, even what it means to be human. Our barbarians have exchanged the animal pelts and spears of the past for designer suits and smartphones." The barbarians are not at the gates, they are on the Supreme Court, in our national and state legislatures and our national security agencies in elected and non-elected positions of power. 

Don't think so? Consider how that in less than one generation, "Christian beliefs about the sexual complementarity of marriage are considered to be abominable prejudice—and in a growing number of cases, punishable."

He traces the roots of these losses from the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation and  two World Wars. The most dramatic post-war losses here in America were the Supreme Court decisions legalizing abortion and then only decades later the right to same-sex marriage. The gleeful, vindictive pursuit by same-sex marriage activists of a few Christian bakers and wedding planners who won't cater same-sex weddings should warn us, that Christian believers are the real targets, not a shortage of bakers and caterers for same-sex weddings.

 

 

Supreme Judgement
Lawmakers Unto Ourselves

Dreher laments that the West has "lost the golden thread that binds us to God, Creation, and each other. Unless we find it again, there is no hope of halting our dissolution. Indeed, it is unlikely that the West will see this lifeline for a very long time. It is not looking for it and may no longer have the capability of seeing it. We have been loosed, but we do not know how to bind."

The only thing to do is to become like St. Benedict of old, who preserved ancient wisdom, fostered communities of belief and nurtured the flame of faith until the time was right for the faith to rekindle the world with the love of God.

Guess what? During Lent that looks like pray, fast, give alms. Grandparents and wise elders need to educate their adult children and their grandchildren in the riches of the Faith. Stations of the Cross, Palm Processions, the Veneration of the Cross and the solemn celebrations of the most Holy Days of the Christian year, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil give us the strength to "keep the flame of faith alive in our hearts until the Lord comes," as our parents and godparents were charged during our baptisms. This is as urgent now as it was in the days of the Roman persecution.

 

 


Prayer of Bishop John Carroll for the United States of America

Excerpts from the prayer Bishop John Carroll, first American bishop, composed this prayer in 1791.

 

John Carroll Stained Glass
Bishop Carroll's Seal


We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

...We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.


The US Civil Rights Commission And Religious Liberty

The US Civil Rights Commission released a briefing report to the President entitled "Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties." It studied the conflict between the expanding Federal legislation and regulations on sexual identity and marriage vs. freedom of Religious organizations, institutions and individuals to practice their faith.

The Commission's recommendations are troubling, but telling

  1. Overly-broad religious exemptions unduly burden nondiscrimination laws and policies.
    Federal and state courts, lawmakers, and policy-makers at every level must tailor religious exceptions to civil liberties and civil rights protections as narrowly as applicable law requires.
  2.  RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) protects only religious practitioners’ First Amendment free exercise rights, and it does not limit others’ freedom from government-imposed religious limitations under the Establishment Clause.
  3. In the absence of controlling authority to the contrary such as a state-level, RFRA-type statute, the recognition of religious exemptions to nondiscrimination laws and policies should be made pursuant to the holdings of Employment Division v. Smith, which protect religious beliefs rather than conduct.
  4.  Federal legislation should be considered to clarify that RFRA creates First Amendment Free Exercise clause rights only for individuals and religious institutions and only to the extent that they do not unduly burden civil liberties and civil rights protections against status-based discrimination.
  5. States with RFRA-style laws should amend those statutes to clarify that RFRA creates First Amendment Free Exercise Clause rights only for individuals and religious institutions.
  6. States with laws modeled after RFRA must guarantee that those statutes do not unduly burden civil liberties and civil rights with status-based discrimination.

The full report (over 300 pages) is linked here Peaceful Coexistence.

 

Comments from Chairperson of the US Civil Rights Commission,  Martin R. Castro, appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011.

“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian
religion.” —John Adams

 

CASTRO_Bio
Chairman Martin R. Castro

The phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia,
Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.

 Religious liberty was never intended to give one religion dominion over other religions, or a veto power over the civil rights and civil liberties of others.

However, today, as in the past, religion is being used as both a weapon and a shield by those seeking to deny others equality. In our nation’s past religion has been used to justify slavery and later, Jim Crow laws. We now see “religious liberty” arguments sneaking their way back into our political and constitutional discourse (just like the concept of “state rights”) in an effort to undermine the rights of some Americans.

This generation of Americans must stand up and speak out to ensure that religion never again be twisted to deny others the full promise of America.

 


Faith and the Full Promise of America

 

Lori
Archbishop William Lori


A Statement from Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty

 

For the current Chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, religious liberty is reduced to "nothing except hypocrisy," and religion is being used as a "weapon… by those seeking to deny others equality." He makes the shocking suggestion that Catholic, evangelical, orthodox Jewish, Mormon, and Muslim communities are comparable to fringe segregationists from the civil rights era. These statements painting those who support religious freedom with the broad brush of bigotry are reckless and reveal a profound disregard for the religious foundations of his own work.

People of faith have often been the ones to carry the full promise of America to the most forgotten peripheries when other segments of society judged it too costly. Men and women of faith were many in number during the most powerful marches of the civil rights era. Can we imagine the civil rights movement without Rev. Martin Luther King, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel? In places like St. Louis, Catholic schools were integrated seven years before the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Jesus taught us to serve and not to count the cost.

Our record is not perfect. We could have always done more. Nevertheless, we have long taught that the one God, maker of heaven and earth, calls each and every individual into being, loves every individual, and commands believers to love and show mercy to every individual. The idea of equality, which the Chairman treats as a kind of talisman, is incomprehensible apart from the very faith that he seeks to cut off from mainstream society.

Today, Catholic priests, religious and laity can be found walking the neighborhood streets of our most struggling communities in places abandoned by a "throwaway culture" that has too often determined that quick profits matter more than communities. We are there offering education, health care, social services, and hope, working to serve as the "field hospital" Pope Francis has called us to be. We wish we were there in even greater numbers, but we are there to humbly offer the full promise of America to all. Rest assured, if people of faith continue to be marginalized, it is the poor and vulnerable, not the Chairman and his friends, who will suffer.

Catholic social service workers, volunteers and pastors don't count the cost in financial terms or even in personal safety. But, we must count the cost to our own faith and morality. We do not seek to impose our morality on anyone, but neither can we sacrifice it in our own lives and work. The vast majority of those who speak up for religious liberty are merely asking for the freedom to serve others as our faith asks of us. We ask that the work of our institutions be carried out by people who believe in our mission and respect a Christian witness. This is no different from a tobacco control organization not wishing to hire an advocate for smoking or a civil rights organization not wanting to hire someone with a history of racism or an animal rights group wishing to hire only vegetarians.

In a pluralistic society, there will be institutions with views at odds with popular opinion. The Chairman's statement suggests that the USCCR does not see the United States as a pluralistic society. We respect those who disagree with what we teach. Can they respect us? We advocate for the dignity of all persons, a dignity that includes a life free from violence and persecution and that includes fair access to good jobs and safe housing. People of faith are a source of American strength. An inclusive and religiously diverse society should make room for them.

 

 


The Catholic Church's Teachings on Marriage

There are likely to be a great many questions this weekend about the nature and meaning of marriage and the Catholic Church's teachings. It is a great opportunity to shed informed, gospel light on an otherwise dark and confusing morass of politics and media hype.

There is a great resource at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop's webpage. 
To see it, click here.

 


Pray For And Demand Religious Liberty

Wed135
It is fitting that the US Bishops fortnight for freedom prayer for Religious Liberty will be prayed at all the masses this weekend, especially in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision affirming the right of gay couples to marry in all 50 states. Whether or not the decision will be as controversial and divisive as another 5-4 ruling, the Roe v. Wade decision which paved the way for legalized abortion in the United States, remains to be seen.

Almost that same day, in a surreal coincidence, Pope Francis appeared to endorse divorce in certain circumstances.

No doubt the law suits will begin against those who deny such couples their rights under the 14th amendment and they will surely not be limited to Christian bakers who refuse to decorate wedding cakes with same-sex wedding themes. The battle to not only permit, but to force individuals and institutions to sanction same-sex marriage will intensify. Loss of tax exempt status , loss of authority to perform civil marriages for certain ministers and priests, and prosecution of preaching as hate speech are some of the problems experts identify for church based groups which oppose same-sex marriage. 

Pray with us this Sunday to preserve the rights and freedoms of all.

 

 


Pope Condemns Execution of Christian Hostages by ISIS, Prays for the Deceased

I would now like to turn to my native tongue to express feelings of profound sorrow. Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians. Their only words were: "Jesus, help me!". They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians. You, my brother, in your words referred to what is happening in the land of Jesus. The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ. As we recall these brothers and sisters who died only because they confessed Christ, I ask that we encourage each another to go forward with this ecumenism which is giving us strength, the ecumenism of blood. The martyrs belong to all Christians.

Let us pray for one another, and continue to advance in the way of wisdom, good will, strength and peace.

Pope Francis at the Vatican


The President, The Inquisition and The Crusades

Sunday homilies are constrained by length and by the understanding there are children of all ages present at most liturgies. They are never “speeches” or “talks” and even those that convey new information are not to be lessons or lectures. One of my pastor mentors in seminary used to say that a homily should always end with something we can do.  With that understanding, here is last Sunday’s homily.

 

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 1:29-39

Jesus heals Peter’s Mother-in-Law

 

Any week the President of the United States

Uses Christ’s name twice in one speech

In the same context with the

Inquisition and Crusades

Serious Catholics have some

Praying to do

 

My responsibility isn’t to criticize

The president

But his speech has left some sickened

 

My responsibility is to lift us up

With the gospel truth

Of Jesus Christ

Just as Christ raised up

Peter’s mother-in-law

From her sickbed

To full health

 

Don’t let anyone keep you

In a sickbed about your faith!

Read, study, know the truth

A few moments on the two issues

The president raised in his prayer breakfast speech:

 

In 1998 John Paul II made these concluding remarks in a speech about the Inquisition

       Yet the consideration of mitigating factors does not exonerate the Church from the obligation to express profound regret for the weaknesses of so many of her sons and daughters who sullied her face, preventing her from fully mirroring the image of her crucified Lord, the supreme witness of patient love and of humble meekness. From these painful moments of the past a lesson can be drawn for the future, leading all Christians to adhere fully to the sublime principle stated by the Council: The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it wins over the mind with both gentleness and power.

 

The modern synthesis of the Crusades in many academic and political institutions is that the soldiers of the First Crusade appeared without any warning to pillage and plunder the Holy Land and slaughter non-Christians.

  In truth, well before 1095 the year of the first Crusade which came to the aid of the Byzantine emperor in the West who feared Constantinople would fall to the Muslims, wars of Islamic aggression had already seized control of the formerly Christian territories of Egypt, Palestine, Syria, North Africa, Spain, most of Asia Minor and Southern France. Italy was under assault, Sicily was eventually taken. Muslim invasions would be led into Europe.

3 of 5 Christianity’s primatial sees had already been captured: Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria. Constantinople would eventually fall. Only Rome escaped…narrowly.

Any war, primitive or modern, is gruesome and brutal.

 Here is John Paul II’s prayer during a celebration of the Great Jubilee in 2000:

 Let us forgive and ask forgiveness! While we praise God who, in his merciful love, has produced in the Church a wonderful harvest of holiness, missionary zeal, total dedication to Christ and neighbour, we cannot fail to recognize the infidelities to the Gospel committed by some of our brethren, especially during the second millennium. Let us ask pardon for the divisions which have occurred among Christians, for the violence some have used in the service of the truth and for the distrustful and hostile attitudes sometimes taken towards the followers of other religions.

 

The silence of Islamic religious leaders

       Asking forgiveness for wars of aggression

       or disavowal of the acts committed by some

       in the name of their prophet

       is deafening

 

Our Christian baptism

does not put us on a “high horse" as the president said...

Far from it

We are touched by Christ

For service and to be his disciples

 

After today’s gospel miracle

       He set out on a preaching mission

       Throughout the whole region

 

We are empowered to

       Preach about Christ’s church

       His gospel message

And to condemn

       The abuse of human rights

       And religious freedom

       Wherever they occur

 Not because the church

       Can claim its members

       Are sinless saints

       But because

       Christ and his church

       Are the world’s best hope

       Not its greatest threat

       As some media pundits

       And militant atheists

       Would have us believe.

 

 We must be careful

       Not to let criticism of religious extremism

       turn to religious indifferentism

       Or hostility to

       Persons of any religious faith

 

But this is not a time for Christianity

       To be in bed with the flu

       Or to be weakened

       By medicinal doses of guilt

       Whether served up to us

       By the media or our president

 

Out of an abudance

       Of political correctness

 

Should our voices for an end to

       Senseless violence against civilians

              Men, women and children

              And graphic, public executions

              Be silenced?

 

Can we at least agree to condemn

       Beheadings, crucifixions

And slave markets

       Of Christians?

  

Can we condemn

Cowardly acts of terrorism

       Defend against them

       And try to make the world

       A safer place?

 

We must.

 

Lent is almost upon us.

A perfect opportunity

       To express our grief in ashes

       And our hope in Jesus Christ

       To pray, fast and do penance

       And work

       For peace.

 


Masses for Peace and Justice This Weekend

Prayforpeace4cl
In solidarity with Pope Francis, Bishop O'Connell has given Trenton parishes permission to substitute the Mass of Peace and Justice in lieu of the mass for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Special intentions for world peace will be offered at all the masses which will unite Catholics throughout the world in prayer for a conversion of minds and hearts and aversion of further bloodshed and more serious calamaties. We will also pray for the many dead and for those who are persecuted, especially Christians in the Middle East, Africa and in fact, all around the globe.

Please join us for a prayerful and holy Eucharist and raise your mind and heart to God together with your fellow parishioners in praise, lament and petition. 

 


HHS Mandate

Ear_listening_107454
As you know, volunteers from Holy Cross parish have been collecting signatures to express disagreement with the federal government's executive mandate to employers to provide morally objectionable medications and treatment, e.g. contraceptives and abortifacients. 

I don't have the final signature tally, but it was substantial, even for this time of year when parishioners travel. As our volunteers were inviting people to sign the petition and announcing its purpose, one person reported, "Oh, I'm not signing it, I agree with contraception."

That's a misconeption. The issue isn't whether or not one personally agrees with the Church's teaching, or practices it - the petition expresses concern that the government now mandates that companies not excused by the restrictive definition of "religious employer" provide health insurance which pays for contraceptives.  The mandate doesn't simply allow them, it mandates that those who morally object to their use provide them and pay for them.

Whether such an intrusion on religious liberty will be permitted will ultimately be decided when the record breaking number of cases challenging it come before the Supreme Court. It would have been more heartening if the proposal had to be withdrawn because of public outrage. 

 


Freedom of Worship or Freedom of Religion: Just Semantics?

Capture
Perhaps you have noticed the criticism of the Obama administration, including the president himself, for substituting the phrase "freedom of worship" for "freedom of religion"?

It's difficult to know whether this rhetoric is carefully chosen to indicate a more restrictive interpretation of religious liberty in this country. Without the HHS mandate for health insurance contraceptives and the aggressive campaign to redefine the meaning of marriage, the rhetorical shift might not even be noticed. However, while freedom of worship is surely crucial to religious liberty, so is the freedom to practice the principles of one's faith outside the walls of a religious building. The Fornight for Freedom campaign aims to protect that freedom.

For the past nine days, Holy Cross parishioners have recited the Prayer for Religious Liberty after all our masses. We have also been conducting a campaign for signatures to express opposition to the HHS mandate that religious employers provide health care insurance for morally objectionable medications and procedures.

On July 2nd over 100 religious leaders and scholars released a letter entitled "Standing Together for Religious Freedom." The statement was supported by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore and Dr. Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission among others. 

Here is the text of the open letter:

We write as an informal and diverse group of religious leaders, theologians, lay practitioners and community servants. We believe the doctrines of our respective faiths require something of us beyond the walls of our churches, synagogues, temples, and other places of worship. Those faith convictions manifest themselves through our daily interactions among family, neighbors, strangers and institutions.

 Further, we recognize the United States, at its best, is unique among the nations of the world when it defends the self­ evident freedom of all people to exercise their faith according to the dictates of their consciences. This freedom contributes to the vibrancy of our nation. Unfortunately, this delicate liberty of conscience is under threat. 

Through its contraceptive coverage mandate, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) continues to breach universal principles affirmed and protected by the U.S. Constitution and other federal laws. While the mandate is a specific offense, it represents a greater fundamental breach of conscience by the federal government. Very simply, HHS is forcing Citizen A, against his or her moral convictions, to purchase a product for Citizen B. The HHS policy is coercive and puts the administration in the position of de.fining-or casting aside-religious doctrine. This should trouble every American.

 Many of the signatories on this letter do not hold doctrinal objections to the use of contraception. Yet we stand united in protest to this mandate, recognizing the encroachment on the conscience of our fellow citizens. Whether or not we agree with the particular conscientious objection is beside the point. HHS continues to deny many Americans the freedom to manifest their beliefs through practice and observance in their daily lives.
 

The First Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Free exercise includes the freedom to order one's life, liberties and pursuits in accordance with his or her convictions. HHS breaches the free exercise clause and federal statutes (passed with broad bipartisan support) by selectively denying some Americans this constitutionally protected right.

 Americans afford each other broad liberties with respect to lifestyle choices. However, the federal government has neither a compelling interest nor the appropriate authority to coerce one citizen to fund or facilitate specific lifestyle choices of another. Ifthe federal government can force morally opposed individuals to purchase contraception or abortion-causing drugs and devices for a third party, what prevents this or future administrations from forcing other Americans to betray their deeply held convictions?

Therefore, we call upon HHS to, at a minimum, expand conscience protections under the mandate to cover any organization or individual that has religious or moral objections to covering, providing or enabling access to the mandated drugs and services. Further, because HHS claims to be acting on authority granted it by Congress, we ask Congress to consider how it might prevent such offenses from occurring in the future. Any policy that falls short of affirming full religious freedom protection for all Americans is unacceptable.

Full Text in English and Spanish with Signatories is here.

 

 

 


Text of National Prayer Card Fortnight for Freedom

O GOD OUR CREATOR, 
from your provident hand we have received
our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us
the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God,
and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be “one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
Copyright © 2012, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved

Fortnight for Freedom

Fortnight-4-freedom-logo
As a way of participating in the national Fornight For Freedom organized by the United States Bishops, Holy Cross will offer parishioners the opportunity to sign petitions alerting our elected representatives that we object to the HHS contraceptive/abortifacient mandate imposed administratively by Washington. 

After all the weekend masses, we will also pray the novena prayer to protect religious liberty in America 

 


Christians Persecuted Worldwide

Persecution of Christians is increasing all around the world noted Catholic Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomassi during an interview on Vatican Radio.

The bishops of the United States have asked all Catholic parishes to participate in the Fortnight for Freedom, a prayer and petition crusade to protect religious liberties, especially here in the United States. 

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/05/29/vatican-spokesman-claims-100000-christians-killed-annually-because-faith



Holy Cross Parish will again participate in the petition signing and will have petitions available at all our masses. More details to follow.

 


New Jersey Right To Life Rally for Religious Freedom in Trenton NJ

 

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The rally starts at noon local time, Saturday October 20, unless otherwise noted.
Signs will be provided.
It is not necessary to RSVP.
Pray the mass at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption at 10:30 in Trenton just before the rally.

 

 

 

Some of the Organizations and Groups forming the Coalition to Stand Up For Religious Freedom