(Arlington, VA)—At their meeting May 31- June 1, the Board of Directors of the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) urged members and friends of NCCW to support the U.S. Bishops’ Fortnight for Freedom,June 21 – July 4, through personal and family prayer and active participation in their local churches and dioceses.
On June 5, NCCW President Rebecca Woodhull met with members of the Knights of Columbus staff to finalize plans for NCCW’s participation with the Knights and the USCCB for the Fortnight for Freedom. Participants in the meeting at the Blessed John Paul II Shrine included Timothy Saccoccia, Knights of Columbus (KC) Policy Coordinator; Garret Girmus, KC Fortnight Coordinator; Rebecca, Scott Lloyd, Sr. Policy Coordinator; and Patrick Kelly, Executive Director, Blessed John Paul II Shrine.
“NCCW and the Knights of Columbus are logical partners in the observance of the Fortnight of Freedom,” Dr. Woodhull noted. “Lay women and men all over the country want to express their support for the U.S. Bishops’ principled stand on religious freedom and conscience protections. And many of those women and men belong to parishes whose members affiliate with NCCW, the Knights, or both. I am confident that our members will actively support their diocesan and parish observances of the Fortnight and partner with the Knights where possible.”
In preparation for the Fortnight for Freedom, NCCW sponsored an advocacy call for its members on June 5. During the conference call, NCCW members suggested and endorsed a number of ways to participate in the Fortnight including: ask Adoration Teams to devote an hour to this intention, pray the Rosary for religious freedom, read the bishop’s document, “Our First, Most Cherished Freedom” (www.usccb.org), sign up for the alerts from the USCCB via their website, write a letter to the editor from your diocesan or parish council stating the NCCW position on religious liberty, ask your pastors to have a Mass for the protection of religious freedom, and pray as a family.
Other ideas encouraged by individual members of NCCW included:
• Use this as a “teachable moment” where the basis of our faith beliefs can be explained more fully and focus CCW meetings on religious freedom and the consequences of ignoring threats to it.
• Hold a potluck or BBQ with a program on the need to stand up for our faith. This is an opportunity for people to grow in their faith.
• Most important, call your representatives in Congress when key decisions or votes are pending. It may be easier to send a postcard and that is good method of contact. But when you call, your call is recorded immediately, and mail can be delayed. Don’t worry, your representatives in Congress will not be answering the phone, and you don’t have to say anything but “I would like Senator [name]to vote NO/YES on bill #____.”
Dr. Woodhull summarized by saying, “We are so blessed in this country that we think nothing will really change or harm us in the practice of our faith…but we are wrong. If ever an issue needed the attention and action of NCCW members–this is it!”