Archdiocese Local

Religious liberty rally set for June 26 at Holy Spirit

The archdiocesan pro-life and social justice offices are co-sponsoring “Pray — Reflect — Act for Religious Liberty,” an event that will take place from 4-7:30 p.m. on June 26 at Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park. PHOTO BY JAMES COLEMAN/UNSPLASH

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Good food, good music and good times for a good cause await archdiocesan Catholics who attend a rally for religious liberty this month.

The archdiocesan pro-life and social justice offices are co-sponsoring “Pray — Reflect — Act for Religious Liberty,” an event that will take place from 4-7:30 p.m. on June 26 at Holy Spirit Parish, 11300 W. 103rd St., Overland Park.

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of the issue of religious liberty.

“There are many people who don’t realize, or even know, that our religious freedoms are in several ways under attack,” said Deb Niesen, lead consultant for the archdiocesan pro-life office. “We’re trying hard to prevent that.

“This is an educational opportunity for people to come and learn about what is happening and ways they can act to keep our religious freedoms, so the church and all people of faith can continue to practice their faith in their homes and the public square.”

All Catholics are invited and there is no cost to attend. Participants are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, picnic baskets and coolers.

All activities will take place outdoors except for the opening Mass with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, which will be celebrated inside Holy Spirit Church. (See sidebar for scheduled activities.)

The archdiocesan-sponsored event occurs during Religious Freedom Week, June 22-29, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. For more information, visit the website at:

One of the speakers on tap at the event is Jeanette Pryor, policy specialist for the Kansas Catholic Conference. Her topic is: “The Culture of Freedom in Public Policy.”

“For the Kansas Catholic Conference, what we’re speaking about is the general erosion of this culture of freedom in public policy,” said Pryor. “We’re trying to take a step away from specific issues and just look at the erosion of people’s sense of freedom as they speak about their public policy positions — particularly the church.”

One of the big issues the conference is concerned about is the proposed “Value Them Both” state constitutional amendment.

“We are, of course, concerned [that] if the ‘Value Them Both’ state constitutional amendment doesn’t pass, Kansans will be required to violate their religious freedom and pay for abortion with their state tax funds,” said Pryor. “We’ll point that out and that is a great concern.”

Event schedule

• 4 p.m. — Mass celebrated by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

• 5:30 p.m. — Complimentary cookout dinner and live music by All Things I Am, Joe and Cayleigh Heron

• 6:15 a.m. — Keynote speakers

• 7 p.m. — Rosary with the Holy Family School of Faith

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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