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Praying for America

 

Note: A version of this column appeared in the June 27 issue of the Wilson County News.

Catholics are in the midst of a 14-day period of prayer and reflection leading up to the nation’s Independence Day celebrations.

The American Catholic bishops have called for prayer, study, and action during this “Fortnight for Freedom” as a way of calling attention to the current threat to religious freedom.

Religious freedom recently has come under attack through government mandates that would require all business-provided insurance policies, even those issued by certain religious institutions, to include coverage of contraception and sterilization even if it violates that institution’s religious beliefs.

Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, represents one of many organizations that has joined in this effort.

“The battle lines are drawn,” he wrote. He warns that, although the Catholic Church was singled out in this battle, all Christians must recognize the very real threat to religious freedom. The fight includes not only the insurance mandates, but the Catholic Church also is being falsely accused of conducting a “war on women.”

The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and is, itself, under attack.

At this juncture in history, we are at risk of losing our most fundamental freedoms. We must not stand idly by to find out what will happen if we should allow our most fundamental freedom of religion to be taken away.

San Antonio’s Archbishop Gustavo Garc’a-Siller has asked that all churches in this archdiocese unite in prayer. He asks churches to “Let Freedom Ring” by ringing the church bells at all Masses on Sunday, July 1, and at 12 noon.

Rev. Dennis Jarzombek, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Stockdale, is among those conducting special events supporting this campaign. He has been holding nightly prayer services at 6:30 p.m. They will continue through Tuesday, July 3, excluding Friday.

In a column in last week’s Wilson County News, Jarzombek wrote to invite all people to unite in prayer and purpose by praying for religious freedom. These one-hour services are designed to embrace prayers, writings, scriptures, hymns, and reflections. The services are inclusive of all religious denominations. Everyone is inited.

“The liberties we enjoy should not be taken for granted. Seize the moment and exercise your right to assemble,” wrote Jarzombek. “May we all stand together as Christians united in freedom as we pray that this great land will remain ‘One nation, Under God.’”

As Americans enjoy the Fourth of July with a day off from work, family barbecues, and fireworks, let us remember what has made this nation great. Let us pray that our freedom will be preserved for future generations.

For more information about the Fortnight for Freedom, go to: www.fortnight4freedom.org or www.hli.org/fortnight.

If you believe in the power of prayer, we can win this battle.

 
 
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