Photo: Matthew Stock prays during a vespers service at St. Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, last June 22, the second day of the U.S. bishops’ “fortnight for freedom” campaign. TLIC file photo by Gregory A. Shemitz

• Bishop Murphy to celebrate Opening Mass in Cathedral on June 21
• Religious Liberty Rally on June 29
• Bishop Brennan to celebrate Closing Mass on July 4 in Cathedral

The Fortnight for Freedom, an effort kicked off last year by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), will take place again this year from June 21 —- the vigil of the Feasts of Saint John Fisher and Saint Thomas More -— to July 4, Independence Day, 2013.

In 2013 Americans face many challenges to religious liberty, including the August 1 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate; potential Supreme Court rulings that could redefine marriage in June, causing serious religious liberty issues for Catholic adoption agencies and many others; and religious liberty concerns in other areas, such as immigration and humanitarian services.

To open the Fortnight for Freedom in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Bishop William Murphy will celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Agnes on Friday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Then, a Religious Liberty Rally will take place at Saint John the Baptist Diocesan High School on Saturday, June 29 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The rally will feature many speakers, including Bishop Murphy.

On July 4, a closing Mass will be celebrated at 12:10 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Agnes by Bishop Robert Brennan, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

During the Fortnight, the liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power —- Saint John the Baptist, Saints Peter and Paul, the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome, Saint John Fisher and Saint Thomas More.

Through prayer, study, and peaceful public action during the Fortnight for Freedom, we hope to remind ourselves and others all throughout the United States about the importance of preserving the fundamental right of religious freedom.

Visit the diocesan website (,, the Diocesan Facebook page and your parish bulletin for details concerning these and other fortnight events.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has set up a website for more information about the Fortnight for Freedom, visit: Join the Fortnight for Freedom Facebook Page so you can stay up to date on the latest Fortnight for Freedom 2013 news.