6/14/12 | 626 views
Responding to Freedom’s Ring
The International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin this week brought together thousands of Catholics from 120 countries around the world in a celebration of faith and a commitment to the universal Church.
Cardinal Dolan, who led a pilgrimage of New Yorkers to the June 10-17 event and to other religious sites in Ireland, was a concelebrant of the opening Mass. Another concelebrant was Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, the Bronx-born former New York priest who is now grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
Pilgrims who made their way to the soccer stadium where that Mass took place, including entire families, saw it as a chance to share their Catholicism with others from around the world. “We really are a global Church,” Mary Ward of Dublin told Catholic News Service.
Here’s hoping that same spirit of communion and community will guide Catholics here in the United States during the upcoming Fortnight for Freedom, the June 21–July 4 campaign sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Both of these events take place amid troubling times for the Church in Ireland and in the United States.
In Ireland, the Church is still reeling from clergy sexual abuse cases that came to light in recent years and a decline in Catholic practice.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who is head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, acknowledged those problems in a homily at the opening Mass, saying that “the Church in Ireland is suffering and faces many new and serious challenges of the faith.” But he called on the congregation to turn to God, who “renews, heals and strengthens the faith of his people.”
Here at home, the Church is grappling with threats to its religious freedom, outlined in the U.S. bishops’ statement “Our First, Most Precious Liberty” which lists seven specific examples, beginning with the Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring religious organizations to offer coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-causing drugs in its employee health insurance plans.
The Fortnight for Freedom will call attention to that serious issue, with dioceses around the country planning special Masses, services and events to highlight the importance of defending our most important freedom. In New York, parish Holy Hours and other observances will culminate with an Independence Day Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral on July 4 at noon, when church bells throughout the archdiocese will ring out for liberty.
We urge Catholics in the archdiocese to participate in this very important observance and we invite those of other faiths to join with us in solidarity. After all, religious freedom is not only a Catholic freedom, it’s a freedom for all.
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