WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops invites Catholics “to pray, reflect and act to promote religious freedom” during Religious Freedom Week, which is set for June 22-29 and has as its theme “Solidarity in Freedom.”
“Solidarity means much more than engaging in sporadic acts of generosity,” the USCCB said in a June 2 news release about the annual observance.
“It means thinking and acting in terms of community,” it said, quoting Pope Francis’ encyclical “Fratelli Tutti.” “Religious freedom allows the church, and all religious communities, to live out their faith in public and to serve the good of all,” the release added.
The first day of the observance is the feast of two English martyrs who fought religious persecution, Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher. The week includes the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, June 24, and ends with the feast of two apostles martyred in Rome — Sts. Peter and Paul.
Each day of the week focuses on different religious liberty topics of concern for the U.S. Catholic Church. Resources prepared by the USCCB for Catholics to “Pray — Reflect — Act” on the day’s theme can be found at: www.usccb.org/ReligiousFreedomWeek. The topics are:
• June 22: Adoption and foster care — “Pray that children waiting to be placed in a loving home and the caregivers who serve those children will find strength and support from the church.”
• June 23: Catholic social services during the pandemic — “Pray that God would continue to grant Catholic institutions the wisdom and courage to serve a world suffering the effects of the COVID pandemic.”
• June 24: The Equality Act — “Pray that the dignity of all people will be respected in our country,” including “people of faith.”
• June 25: Church vandalism — “Pray that Christian witness in the face of attacks on our churches will convert hearts to faith in Jesus Christ.”
• June 26: Catholics in Nicaragua — “Pray for our Catholic sisters and brothers who are suffering in Nicaragua.”
• June 27: Conscience rights for medical professionals — “Pray that governments would respect the consciences of all people who care for the sick and vulnerable.”
• June 28: Pope Francis’ solidarity with beleaguered Christians in Iraq — “Pray for Christians in Iraq and that people of all faiths in the land of Abraham may live in peace.”
• June 29: Free speech — “Pray that Christians will have the courage to speak the truth with kindness and clarity, even in the face of adversity.”
The USCCB resources aim “to help people understand religious liberty from a Catholic perspective, pray about particular issues and act on what they learn by advocating for policies that promote religious freedom,” the news release said.
“Through prayer, education and public action during Religious Freedom Week, the USCCB hopes to promote the essential right of religious freedom for Catholics and for those of all faiths,” it added.
Catholics can connect with the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty by texting FREEDOM to 84576 to sign up for First Freedom News, the committee’s monthly newsletter.