Scroll down for slideshow

HICKSVILLE — After joining in a public witness Rosary on the street in front of Holy Trinity High School here, Bishop John Barres called on Catholics in the Diocese of Rockville Centre to continue to “defend and promote the First Amendment Religious Liberty rights of all our fellow Americans” during his keynote address at the diocesan Rally for the Fortnight of Freedom, June 28.

“This is a time for the Church to be a bold proponent of religious liberty and the principles of the Second Vatican Council document on religious liberty Dignitatis Humanae, he said. “And this is the time for each of us to be a bold proponent of religious liberty as well as an instrument of dramatic missionary growth as we both assert our rights as Americans and seek to bring the truth of Christ to our communities, our neighbors, our families and ourselves.”

The rally, organized by Catholics for Freedom of Religion (CFFR), is one of the local highlights of the annual Fortnight for Freedom, a 14-day national period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, first called for by the U.S. bishops in 2012.  In addition to the outdoor rosary, the evening included a number of speakers, including Katelyn Schnoor, a 2017 graduate of Holy Trinity H.S. and Barbara Samuells, president of CFFR.

Awards were presented to the student winners of a CFFR sponsored religious freedom art contest: Sloane Sackett and Jack Lane of St. Aidan’s Williston Park, Bryan Boccafola of St. Joseph, Garden City and Courtney Marmeno of St. Therese of Lisieux in Montauk as well as others who have promoted the cause of religious liberty.

Present at the rally were members of  the Little Sisters of the Poor, who have become somewhat symbolic of the cause of religious liberty. The religious order, which serves the indigent elderly, has been involved in a nearly five-years long fight against the Department of Health and Human Services contraceptive mandates that were part of the Obama administration’s healthcare plan.


Photos by Ed Casey

“The logic of our Baptism is depth of holiness and a missionary spirit,” said Bishop Barres. “How often have saints stepped up in the crossroads of history and in the crises of history to a sanctity that transformed the world and history?”

“It is our time – right here and now to be the saints that ring the Liberty Bell of history. And it is our time to be instruments of the Divine Mercy, the Splendor of Truth, the Joy of the Gospel and the dramatic missionary growth of Christ’s Church, the Universal Sacrament of Salvation.”  To read the entire bishop message, click here.