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Parishes encouraged to participate in Fortnight for Freedom

"Witnesses to Freedom" is the theme for the fifth annual Fortnight for Freedom June 21 to July 4, and parishes across the archdiocese are invited to participate through films, prayer services, speakers and other events.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) focus on religious freedom will highlight the lives of women and men of faith from all over the world who have born witness to freedom in Christ.

While no large event is planned in the Archdiocese of Omaha, parishes are encouraged to adapt USCCB resources and focus on concerns about religious freedom in some fashion, said Bill Beckman, director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.

The U.S. bishops’ website,, includes information about witnesses to freedom such as St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Edith Stein and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

There also is information about religious order Little Sisters of the Poor, who are among challengers of the federal government’s mandate that most employers provide health insurance for contraceptives, some of which act as abortifacients, and sterilization.

The bishops are encouraging parish picnics with a religious freedom theme, film nights for such movies as "A Man for All Seasons," about the martyrdom of St. Thomas More, and "For Greater Glory," about the struggle for religious freedom in Mexico.

This year’s Fortnight also includes a new video on "The Right to Religious Freedom" that explains church teaching on religious freedom and highlights current challenges, including the Little Sisters of the Poor’s legal battle and global religious persecution.

The video is available at the USCCB’s website, and

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