Tuesday, June 26, 2012

7/1/2012 – 13th Sunday in Ordinary time – Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24 ; 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15; Mark 5:21-43

        God fashioned us in his own image so that we might have being.  He fashioned us for life, not for death.  This is the message we hear from the book of Wisdom today.  It is through the life we have from God, from our desire and longing to connect with God and with that divine essence in our lives that propels us in our life of faith, that propels us to desire the new life we receive in our relationship with Jesus. 
         This life of faith that we have encouraged Paul to become the missionary to the Gentiles, to bring Christ’s Good News to all the world.  In his second letter to the Corinthians, we hear about Paul’s passion for the faith and for living out his new life in Christ.  Paul extols the Corinthians for their faith, knowledge, and earnestness, but above all by imitating Jesus in his gracious act of sacrificial love.  I mentioned to you how so many people I met on the pilgrimage trail in Spain were looking for some sort of meaning and direction in their lives, they were looking to bring their lives of faith to fullness and to greater meaning.  So many believers seek to embrace the faith and discipleship in Jesus with a greater embrace, not a more constrained one.  Our faith is for the altar, for the mass, for the sacraments of our Church.  But our faith is also lived out in our homes, in the streets and the highways, in the workplace and the offices and the schools. 
         The Fortnight for Freedom that we are currently celebrating as declared to us by the US Catholic Bishops is to be a “national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.”  During this 14 day event, we have seen how great models of faith such as John the Baptist, St Thomas More, and St John Fisher stood up to the injustices of the governments and authorities of their day.  Bishops across our country, including our own Bishop Joseph Latino, have filed lawsuits against the government in opposition to the unjust mandate of the US Department of Health and Human Services, requiring Catholic institutions to violate our moral laws by providing contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs at no-cost to members of our health plans.  Our Bishops are also concerned about how the federal government is defining religious institutions through the exemptions that it is willing to grant.  It deems parishes to be religious institutions, but not Catholic universities, hospitals, food pantries, publishing house, or even the Society of St Vincent DePaul and the Knights of Columbus.  We see this in direct violation of the first freedom we have in the Bill of Rights, which is the freedom of religious liberty.  When the government tries to decide what religion is and what the proper work of the Church is, then this freedom of religion is threatened. 
         I had read an article earlier in the week by someone who was very critical of the Bishops’ motives in the Fortnight for Freedom that we are recognizing in our Church, with the prayer, action, and education of this time period to bring about awareness of our religious freedom that is under threat.  The author of this article claimed that we are becoming a Church of the few, and not the Church of the many, that this is not an example of the Christian love that the Church claims it is bringing to the world.  Yet, I beg to differ.  As Paul extolled the virtues which the Christian community in Corinth embodied, he also called that community to makes sacrifices in order to help support the Church in Jerusalem.  Our Church does reach out in love and charity, but we do so in the context of God’s holy teachings and commandments.   We do not abandon the immigrant or the poor, the sick or the prisoner, and we don’t abandon the truth of God. 
         The woman afflicted with hemorrhages for 12 years reached out and touched Jesus' garment out of her faith – and Jesus healed her due to her great faith.  Jairus, the synagogue official, came to Jesus with faith, knowing that Jesus indeed would be able to heal his daughter, and it was out of that faith that Jesus raised her from the dead.  Today, let us come to God in faith, knowing that he will help us stand firm in our desire to continue to practice our faith as disciples of Jesus through the religious freedom we have been accorded since the founding of our nation.  We pray that during this Fortnight for Freedom that we can be true to the Gospel, true to the faith that has brought us this far. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

7/1/2012 – El decimotercero domingo del tiempo ordinario – Marcos 5:21-43; 2 Corintios 8: 7, 9, 13-15

        En las lecturas de hoy, escuchamos unas lecciones que podemos adaptar en nuestra vida de fe.  En los consejos de San Pablo que escuchamos hoy en su segunda carta a los corintios, el dice a los corintios que ellos deben se distinguen en todo – en su fe, en sus palabras, en su sabiduría, en su diligencia.  Es verdad, deseamos la plenitud de fe, no solo una imagen de fe o un facsímil.  Deseamos a vivir nuestra fe como un embrazo de Dios, sin limitaciones, sin restricciones.  Tenemos nuestra fe para la misa, para el altar, y para nuestras alabanzas a Dios.  Pero nuestra fe es para todos los aspectos de nuestra vida – en la escuela, en la oficina, en nuestro trabajo, en las carreteras, en los supermercados, en los parques. 
En el Evangelio de hoy, hay dos milagros de sanación de las manos de Jesús: hay una mujer con una hemorragia y la resurrección de la hija de Jairo – la hija de un jefe de la sinagoga.  Hay una lección que podemos aprender en este Evangelio – el poder de Jesucristo en nuestra vida depende de nuestra fe.  Me edifico mucho la fe y el amor que ustedes y la gente mexicana tienen en nuestra Madre la Virgen María y en el poder curativo de Jesús en sus vidas.  Sí, hay muchos milagros pequeños que manifiestan en nuestras vidas diarias, pero si no tenemos la fe para reconocerlos, en verdad estos milagros no pueden transformar nuestra vida o la vida de nuestro prójimo.
Pero, necesitamos reconocer que a veces pedimos algo a Dios con mucha fe y mucha confianza, y Dios no nos da lo que pedimos.  Dios puede contestar nuestras oraciones en una manera muy diferente de nuestras expectativas, y no reconocemos su respuesta.  Necesitamos perseverancia en nuestras oraciones y en nuestra vida de fe.
La sanación de nuestros dolores y enfermedades, el entusiasmo de nuestra fe, y los milagros que tenemos cada día: en verdad, Dios está con nosotros.  

6/29/2012 – St Peter and St Paul – Psalm 34, 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18

        Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul, two apostles who are remembered and honored for their great faith and for the service they rendered to the early Church.  Peter and Paul were two of the great leaders of the early Church.  They are certainly examples of faith for all of us modern believers.  Yet, we also must remember that Peter and Paul were very human as well.   They did not agree on all matters; their bickering and arguing are famously remembered both in Holy Scripture and in our Sacred tradition.  And before they became such great witnesses of the faith, Paul was a persecutor of the followers of Jesus, while Peter denied Christ three times and fell asleep while he should have been vigilant.  Yet, both these men became martyrs for the faith, giving up their lives for the belief in the Gospel. 
         We see how the Roman Empire was so hostile to them and the message they brought to the world.  Paul spent more than three years in prison for proclaiming Christ’s Good News to all, while our reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells us of Peter’s imprisonment.  And yet through all the struggles and burdens they endured, their lives of faith exemplify what we hear in today’s psalm: “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the LORD; the lowly will hear me and be glad.”
         As we honor and celebrate the faith of St Peter and St Paul today, we hear the US Catholic Bishops tell us in this fortnight for freedom that we Catholics are to constantly follow the calling to live out our faith in our daily lives.  We do this by comforting the sick, feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, and protecting all human life.  We strive to practice what we preach, no matter where it is, both in our work and our leisure.  In the spirit of St Peter and St Paul, may we work toward protecting the religious freedom we have enjoyed in our country since its founding, even when this Fortnight for Freedom is over.  As Paul proclaims that the Lord stood by him and gave him strength so that he might preach the Good News of Jesus to the Gentiles, may we feel God giving us the courage and strength to be witnesses to our nation and our world.  

6/26/2012 – Tuesday of 12th week in ordinary time - Matthew 7:6, 12-14

         Jesus today tells us to enter through the narrow gate, for the wide one is the one that leads us to destruction.  As I thought about this verse, I reflected up the criticism that our Church has been getting from the media and from the government recently.  It seems like in the eyes of the secular world, we Catholics can’t do anything right these days.  I read one article on a popular website that says that the Fortnight for Freedom that we are undertaking is a departure from the love that we in the Church should embody, and that by standing up for religious liberty in this way, that we are becoming a Church of the few rather than a Church for the many.  But, bringing God’s love to the world doesn’t mean that we are always politically correct.  Standing up for what we perceive to be the truth is not always easy and comfortable.  While we see so many in our society trying to go through the wide door, what sense does that make of the narrow door that Jesus mentions in today’s Gospel?  I think of what we are trying to do as a congregation here in Yazoo City.  We go out to the prisons each week when so many in our society try to forget that the prisoners even exist.  We visit the sick and the shut-ins.  We try to reach out to the children and the youth in a way that is relevant to them.  Sure, we could always do more, but there are only so many hours in the day as well.  We try to live out our faith as best we can, and that is always a huge challenge.
         I think all of us need to look into our hearts to see how we are living out the Gospel in a way that God is calling us to do so.  But if we believe that the Gospel of Life calls us to be against abortion and against capital punishment, that puts us out of line with our society as it tries to look for the easiest and most convenient way out.  If we say we define marriage between a man and a woman in our Church, it is not because we are lashing out at certain groups or individuals in society, but rather it is because we believe that that marriage is a sacrament between a man and a woman who are united before God in a special, holy way.  Standing up for the freedom to practice our faith may not be the politically correct thing to do; it may not be the easy way out; and it may not be the entrance through the wide door of our secular world.  But, for standing up for our rights to practice our faith, we do so because we believe it is the right thing to do.  Maybe it will come down to some of us priests and some of us lay Catholics going to prison because our society has turned so far away from Jesus and his teachings.  Maybe it will come down to that sooner rather than later.  That will be the price our generation will have to pay for living out our faith.  In the 1960s, it was the hippies and the flower children who were seen as counter-cultural & on the fringes of society.  Now the Catholic Church and the priests and the nuns are the ones who are counter-cultural, believe it or not.  My, how things change. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

6/28/2012 – 12th Thursday of ordinary time - St Irenaeus of Lyons – Psalm 79 –

         Today, we hear a psalm that is a lament about the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 586 BCE.  We hear the psalmist asking the Lord not to remember the iniquities of the past, but to have his compassion come quickly for his people.  In addition, the psalmist asks the Lord to deliver his people and to pardon their sins for the sake of his name.   We think of our past sins and transgressions, we think of the Lord of compassion and love, and we place our hope in the Lord for our future.  When I was hiking up the largest peak on the pilgrimage route to Spain on my way to Santiago this past April, one young man from New York told me that he saw this trek as penance for all of his past sins, and also penance for any sins he might commit in the future.  Many of us probably feel the same way. 
Today, we also celebrate St Irenaeus, the second bishop of Lyons, France.  Irenaeus is considered to be one of the most important theologians of the 2nd century, a time before our faith was a recognized religion in the Roman empire, a time when the theologians were still debating and hammering out a lot of the basics about what we believe about Jesus and about our faith. Much of what Irenaeus wrote was against Gnosticism, a popular philosophy in the ancient world that saw different levels of divinity as being present instead of one, unified God, a philosophy that separated the created world into the superior spirit and the inferior material objects.  Irenaeus of Lyons did a great deal to develop orthodox teachings within our faith, to develop those fundamental beliefs that we so often take for granted today. As we ponder the transgressions of the past and how we and the community of faith may have strayed from God’s will and God’s purpose for us in life, may we think about the mercy and compassion of God, just as the psalmist called upon that same divine love and compassion.  May God’s  love and compassion give us strength and encouragement as we travel along our own journeys.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Poem - written about the Camino de Santiago de Compostela -

      After step
               After step
                    After step –

Pilgrim footsteps on a journey -
Looking, searching, yearning -
A call from a faraway place -
So romantic, so adventurous,
so enchanting.

A scallop shell around my neck,
yellow arrows pointing the way,
an iron cross on the mountain’s peak -
Symbols and rituals tug at my imagination.

Reality strikes -
weak ankles and a heavy backpack,
the hot Spanish sun and a sunburned neck,
blistered feet and endless walking,
restless nights and unanswered prayers.

Inchoate answers, no epiphanies,
unresolved yearnings.

With the passing of time,
lessons are learned and stories are told.
The road does not end at the apostle’s tomb.
The pilgrim’s journey continues…

      After step
               After step
                    After step –

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

6/24/2012 – homilia de la Natividad de Juan Bautista – Lucas 1,57-66, 80

        Hoy es el 24 de junio, el día de la natividad de Juan Bautista.  Desde las noticias que su madre Isabel y su padre Zacarías recibieron, desde la visita de María a su prima Isabel cuando ellas estaban embarazadas, estaba anunciado al mundo que Juan tendría un papel muy especial en la historia de salvación.  Zacarías estaba mudo por el poder de Dios cuando tenía dudas sobre la voluntad de Dios en la vida de su familia.  Dios restauró la voz de Zacarías cuando él puso el nombre de Juan a su hijo según la voluntad de Dios.  Los amigos y los vecinos de Isabel y Zacarías no pueden creer en la realidad del nacimiento de Juan – ellos reconocen que es algo muy especial.  Juan tenía una personalidad muy travieso y muy fogoso, pero él puso su energía en servicio a Dios, para ser profeta para Dios y para preparar el camino de Jesús. 
         Nosotros, los sacerdotes, tenemos el mandato de los obispos este fin de semana para predicar la palabra de Dios sobre la importancia de la libertad religiosa que tenemos en nuestro país en el contexto de la solemnidad de la natividad de Juan Bautista.  Juan trabajaba en el servicio de Dios como su profeta, para preparar el camino de Jesús en la mitad del poder del reino romano. Herodes tenían miedo de Juan Bautista y de su mensaje – Juan fue a la cárcel y a su muerte por la consecuencia de su predicación de su llamada de Dios.  Herodes no quería escuchar a la verdad religiosa en las palabras de Juan Bautista.  Hoy, en nuestro país, tenemos desafíos sobre nuestra libertad religiosa.  La fortaleza, la diligencia, y la honradez de Juan Bautista son ejemplos muy buenos para nosotros con nuestros desafíos. 
         Los obispos dicen: “Los católicos y muchos otros grupos estadounidenses han criticado fuertemente el reciente mandato del Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos (HHS, sigla en inglés) que
requiere que casi todos los planes privados de seguros médicos cubran los anticonceptivos, la esterilización y las drogas abortivas. Por primera vez en nuestra historia, el gobierno federal obligará a las instituciones religiosas a facilitar y pagar por algo que es contrario a sus enseñanzas morales, pretendiendo definir cuáles instituciones religiosas son ‘suficientemente religiosas’ como para ameritar una exención. La cuestión es que si las personas e instituciones religiosas deben ser forzadas por el gobierno a proveer tal cobertura aun cuando estas prácticas violen su conciencia.”
         Hoy, en la celebración de la natividad de Juan Bautista, reconocemos que nuestra libertad religiosa no es nuestra invención, no es algo que el gobierno puede darnos o quitar como su capricho.  La libertad religiosa es un don de Dios, un gracia de Dios.  Nuestra país tiene la libertad religiosa como nuestra fundación – es una insistencia de nosotros como católicos y como norte americanos.  Como la insistencia de Juan Bautista en Israel, afirmamos nuestro derechos como creyentes y seguidores de Jesucristo.  

6/24/2012- Nativity of John the Baptist – Luke 1:57-66, 80.

       Today, instead of observing the 12th Sunday of ordinary time, we celebrate the solemnity of the birth of John the Baptist, which falls on today’s date, June 24th.  Ever since John’s mother Elizabeth and his father Zechariah received news about John’s birth, ever since Mary went on that special visit to her cousin Elizabeth while she had Jesus in her own womb, it was announced to the world that John would have a special role in the history of salvation.  God made John’s father mute because Zechariah doubted God’s will; his voice was restored when he names his son John according to God’s will. The friends and neighbors of Elizabeth and Zechariah are astonished at what they see – they know that something special and unique is going on. John himself had a fiery, assertive personality, but he channeled his energy into serving God and speaking out as a prophet who would point the way to Jesus. 
         Today, the bishops have asked us priests to preach about the importance of religious freedom in our country in the context of today’s solemnity of the birth of John the Baptist.  John proclaimed God’s word against the backdrop of a powerful Roman empire.  Herod feared John the Baptist and his message so much so that John was ultimately imprisoned and beheaded for living out his faith according to God’s will.  Herod did not want to hear the truth in the words of John the Baptist.  As we see our religious freedom under attack in our own country right now, perhaps the honesty, diligence, and fortitude by which John the Baptist lived out his faith is a good example for all of us to reflect upon.
         I had mentioned to you last weekend that the US bishops have declared a fortnight for freedom in our land from June 21 to July 4.  We the faithful are to undertake prayer, education, and action in support of religious freedom.  We are to undertake a national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.  John the Baptist paid with his life as he spoke the truths of our faith.  Just last Friday, we celebrated the feast of St John Fisher and St Thomas More, both of whom were beheaded by Henry VIII in 16th century England.  Just like King Herod with John the Baptist, Henry VIII did not want More and Fisher to speak the truth about the Church and about the holy bond of matrimony that Henry VIII wanted to break with his wife Catherine of Aragon.  More was a lawyer and chancellor of England, while Fisher was a high ranking English Bishop in the Catholic Church.  For speaking out for religious freedom, both of them became martyrs for the faith.
         In a document that was issued this past April, the Bishops called religious freedom “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty.”  Religious Liberty was important to the founding fathers of our country: it was the topic of the first amendment to the US Constitution.  In many ways, religious liberty is at the foundation of all the liberties we enjoy in our country, for if we Americans are not free to form and follow our consciences in our religious faith and to choose the way we live out our faith each day, then how will we be able to live in freedom in any sense of that word? When our government asks us to do something that is against God’s holy teachings, then the American tradition of liberty is being trampled upon and destroyed.  We saw Dr. Martin Luther King Jr stir up the religious consciousness of our nation during the Civil Rights movement; a stirring of our religious consciousness is happening right now as well. 
         As we recognize this Fortnight for Freedom as declared by our US Catholic Bishops, we recognize that our religious freedom is not something that we are inventing for ourselves; it is not something that the government itself can bestow upon us or take away at its whim.  Religious liberty is a grace we receive from God, a gift we receive from Him.  Our country was founded on this concept of religious freedom; it is something we as Americans and as Catholics insist upon.  Just as John the Baptist insisted in ancient Israel, just and Thomas More and John Fisher insisted during the reign of Henry VIII, we assert our rights as believers and followers of Christ. 
         We pray for the intercessions of John the Baptist, for the intercessions of St Thomas More and St John Fisher, of St Peter and St Paul.  We pray for the courage and fortitude that propelled these men to action, to stand up for faith and for freedom.  As we conclude this homily, please pray for me this prayer for religious liberty:

Almighty God, Father of all nations,
For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1).
We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty,
the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good.
Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties;
By your grace may we have the courage to defend them, for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness,
and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, with whom you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

6/20/2012 – Wednesday of 11th week of ordinary time – 2 Kings 2: 1, 6-14

         Elijah is considered one of the greatest prophets in the history of Israel.  He is the one for whom an empty seat is left during the Passover meal that the Jews celebrate each year.  In today’s first reading, we hear about the moment before Elijah is going to be taken up to heaven by the Lord, when the mantle of prophet is going to be passed to Elisha.  Elijah offers to do what Elisha wants before he is taken up by the Lord. Elisha’s response is very remarkable indeed: to receive a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.  Elisha desires to serve the Lord as a prophet just as Elijah did, and he want to be legitimately recognized as such and to have Elijah’s spirit follow him.  In the end, we see that God has indeed blessed Elisha in this way, as he is able to part the Jordan River just as Moses and Elijah were able to do.
         I am really edified by the tenacity and fervent faith that Elijah and Elisha display in wanting to serve the Lord as his prophets, knowing the difficulty, frustration, and danger that are attached to such a service.  If we could all feel such fervor in whatever way we serve the Lord in our own lives.  Sometimes what so many in our society are looking for is the easy way out, or for a life filled with as much pleasure and material success as possible.  Any of us can fall into that trap.  Let us open the hearts to the ways we can serve the Lord with humility and selflessness.  Tomorrow evening we are going to recognize the vigil mass of the feast of St Thomas More and St John Fisher.  These men were both executed by Henry VIII in 16th century England for their allegiance to their Catholic faith.  We will kick off the Fortnight of Faith tomorrow at this vigil mass.  Their desire to serve the Lord, and their willingness to accept the sufferings that such a service entailed, give us two other examples of faithfulness in addition to Elijah and Elisha.  May these witnesses of faith speak strongly to us today.  

Friday, June 15, 2012

6/19/2012 – Tuesday of 11th week of ordinary time - Matthew 5:43-48 –

         This is not an easy Gospel to listen to today.  Harboring anger and resentment against our neighbor or loved one or family member is one of the things that can really destroy us in life.  We all have heard of the feuding Hatfield and McCoy families from around the West Virginia – Kentucky border.  That feud originated around the time of the Civil War and lasted for decades between those two families, with many murders and killings being a part of that feud.  Recently, the History Channel aired a mini-series about that feud that reached a record audience for that channel.  All that feuding catching our attention, that is for sure, and it reminds me of all the revenge and vengeance that so many people in our current day seek as well. We all probably have known friends and family members who are consumed with anger in the lives, so much so that it affects their whole outlook on life.  I once heard a lady say that when she gets up in the morning she looks into the mirror and wishes nothing but bad luck and sheer misery for her former husband.  It was quite a shock to hear the anger and hatred in her voice.
         In the face of all of this, Jesus tells us to be perfect just as our heavenly Father is perfect.  Sounds like an impossible order for us.  However, I have heard Father Patrick Farrell at St Paul’s in Vicksburg tell parishioners that Jesus calls us to strive to perfection.  We will not meet the goal of that perfection, but the fact that we are trying our best and aiming for that perfection is what God sees.  Ignatius of Antioch, one of the early Church Fathers, wrote to the Church at Rome that he wishes to please God in his life of faith, not man.  If we try to follow God’s laws, if we strive toward heavenly perfection, then we will love our neighbors as ourselves, then we will do what is right in the eyes of God.   Holy Scripture often is not warm, cuddly, and comforting.  Our Gospel today challenges us to look at our conduct, to look at what our goals are in life. And that can be a very uncomfortable task.  As Christians, as followers of Jesus, God is calling us to a higher standard.  Are we willing to strive for that heavenly perfection?


6/22/2012 – Friday of 11th week in ordinary time - St Thomas More and St John Fisher – Matthew 6:19-23

     Today, we hear a Gospel that is particularly relevant to a lot that we are experiencing as Catholics in the world today.  Jesus warns us not to store up our treasure here on earth, where moths and decay can destroy and consume those treasures, but rather to store up our treasures in heaven.  We can be so intent as to want to achieve worldly success and worldly treasures that the treasures that are important to our faith can be ignore and shunned in the process.
         Yesterday evening, at the time of our vigil mass, our bishops have asked us to start a special period of renewal and education and consciousness in our faith.  The Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty with our US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a document on religious freedom back in April, calling religious freedom both in our country and in the other countries of the world. “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty” is the title of this document.  The US Bishops have called for 14 days of prayer, education, and action in support of religious freedom, starting with yesterday evening, the vigil of this feast that we are celebrating today, and going through July 4, the day of our country’s independence.  They chose June 21 because it is the vigil for the Saints Thomas More and John Fisher.  More was a very spiritual and religious man, a lawyer and the chancellor of England under King Henry VIII.  More’s conscience and keen sense of morality kept him from approving of the king’s divorce to Queen Catherine of Aragon, of his remarriage to Anne Boleyn, and of the establishment of the Church of England.  More refused to personally break from his Catholic faith and from denying the pope as the head of the Church.  John Fisher, a Cardinal and Bishop of Rochester in England, also refused to recognize these same matters as Thomas Moore.  Both of them were beheaded in London in 1535. Both of these men were canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1935 400 years after their deaths.
         As we recognize this Fortnight for Religious Freedom in the US, we remember how Jesus calls us to follow the laws of God and the law of heaven, how these laws and commandments may be in conflict with what our governments demand of us here on earth.  Here in Yazoo City, we will look at what our religious freedom is all about in these next few weeks during this Fortnight for Freedom.  As the Archbishop of Baltimore so eloquently stated – this is not a liberal or conservative issue, this is not a Democratic or Republican issue, this is not to tell you how to vote for any specific elected official.  Rather, it is a call to action regarding the religious freedom that we have had in our country that is now under attack.  May the Lord lead us and guide us through these next two week as we learn more about this issues.  And we ask for the intercessions of St John Fisher and St Thomas More.