On Sunday we beat the nearly 100-degree heat with 2,500 other faithful Catholics in our diocese to make a statement about religious freedom, our first and most cherished liberty. Sponsored by the Diocese of Des Moines, the event was coined the Independence Celebration Walk & Picnic and was planned in conjunction with nationwide Fortnight for Freedom efforts. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has called for a “Fortnight for Freedom” from June 21 – July 4 as a period of prayer, education, and action in support of religious freedom.
One of the high points of the event was the prayer service. Following a Scripture reading from James 2:14-17 (the relationship between faith and works), Laura Wenman, Mercy Medical Center’s VP for Mission Integration offered a reflection. To paraphase she said: We don’t need the law to tell us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to care for the sick. The Gospel commands us to do those things, and we are going to keep doing them in accord with God’s law.
This is precisely the point Catholics are making about the HHS mandate. The Catholic Church is a tremendous force for good, a friend to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. We simply want to be free to continue the good works we are already doing — in our communities and around the world. Being Catholic isn’t limited simply to worship, and the government has no authority to tell us that it is.
Kudos to the staff and volunteers, especially Jason Kurth, staff vocations specialist, who was charged with organizing the well-executed event. Here are some photos from the activities. To see the full gallery, head over to the Diocese of Des Moines Facebook Page.
Image Credits: Diocese of Des Moines Facebook Page