by Joe Bollig
OVERLAND PARK — An old American idiom is carved into the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington: “Freedom Is Not Free.”
The meaning, often expanded upon, is that freedom is not attained cheaply and must be earned anew by each generation of Americans.
Recognizing the importance of maintaining our religious liberty, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked Catholics to observe Religious Freedom Week June 22 to July 2.
The theme for the annual observance is: “Embracing the Divine Gift of Freedom.”
For the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann will be the main celebrant of a Mass for religious freedom at 11:45 a.m. on July 2 at Church of the Ascension, 9510 W. 127th St., in Overland Park.
All Catholics are invited to attend the annual Mass for religious freedom.
“The United States has historically been a beacon of hope for the entire world on matters of religious freedom and conscience protection,” said Archbishop Naumann. “Many individuals in our nation’s history have made heroic sacrifices to defend these precious liberties.
“We must not fail at this moment to exercise our citizenship and make certain our voice is heard.”
The need for Catholics to defend their religious freedom is more urgent than ever, U.S. bishops say. Catholics face growing threats to their rights to live out their faith in public and serve the common good without threats, violence and coercion.
In recent years, the threats and acts against the religious freedom of Catholics have included attacks on Catholic churches and other places, attacks on the seal of the confessional, violations of conscience rights, discrimination in the workplace, discrimination against Catholic students, discrimination against Catholic adoption and humanitarian services, and more.
To help Catholics observe Religious Freedom Week, the USCCB offers several resources on its website. These include a blog, podcasts, homilies and other writings, prayer resources, videos, newsletters and more.
To access the resources, go online to: usccb.org/committees/religious-liberty/religious-freedom-week.