The Fortnight for Freedom ended on July 4th at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I was very moved to attend this Mass at “America’s Catholic Church,” the largest Catholic cathedral in the western hemisphere. The Basilica was packed to standing room only with people from across the nation, brothers and sisters from many religious orders, and many lay faithful representing many nationalities. On this nation’s birthday, there was a real sense of patriotism and faithful energy in the crowd attending this special service.
Cardinal Wuerl gave a warm welcome to the crowd who travelled from many parts of America. Cardinal Wuerl emphasized the importance of religious liberty at this time in our nation, and urged everyone to be faithful citizens and remain prayerful that religious liberty is preserved.
Bishop Chaput was the invited homilist and he gave a super homily that explained the threats to religious liberty and a necessary call to action. Bishop Chaput offered a homily that was riveting and backed by solid American and Catholic history as well as theology and good governance. I urge you to read the full text of the homily in the links below.
I was disappointed that there was not much mainstream media in attendance at this major event that was well publicized to the media and public. EWTN offered live coverage of the Mass with their mobile TV rigs named after the archangels, with Gabriel on hand for this event.
Bishop Lori ended the Mass urging the faithful, that even though it is the end of the Fortnight of Freedom, it is the beginning of the fight for religious liberty in America. There was a very enthusiastic Latino community from New York who played guitars and drums after mass singing songs for religious freedom. Bishop Chaput also stayed outside and shook hands with everyone leaving the Basilica. I hope that our country takes a hard look at religious liberty and understands the importance of our US Constitution and the protections for religious freedom.
Archbishop Chaput’s Homily (Catholic Online)
Archdiocese of Washington Blog – The 4th of July and why we need to boldly fight for Religious Liberty–by Monsignor Charles Pope