Festival For Freedom

First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Welcome to Festival For Freedom

Religous freedom “Festival for Freedom” originally was a 14-day gathering in June / July 2012 to focus on our First Amendment rights being violated by the Federal HHS mandate’s forcing insurance coverage for contraception, abortifacients and sterilization. That “Fortnight” was called by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to oppose these intrinsic evils attacking both conscience and religious freedom. Our successful FESTIVAL FOR FREEDOM, attended by over 500 people, heard many nationwide expert speakers teaching on American and Religious principles. We have continued to meet, track news and encourage each other in ongoing vigilance to protect our God-given rights, and the country’s moral fiber. We have added advocacy to our charter: “Protect the unborn, Defend marriage and Safeguard religious liberty.” We will continue to speak and work against intrinsic evils in our country’s laws. We thank those who regularly visit this website and support our goals.

Congratulations to Deacon Claude Lester

The person who conceived, inspired, led and was deeply committed to the Festival for Freedom response to the US Bishops’ first call (2012) to “Stand Up for Freedom” was Deacon Claude Lester.  The outstanding response saw more than 500 attendees at what was probably the only event in the US to respond with ALL TWO WEEKS of meaningful activity (see history and program and pictures elsewhere on this site.)

Two years later, the leader of that event has been recognized not only for his Festival for Freedom success, but also for incredible leadership ranging from funding a drinking water well for the people of Kalama, Kenya, to Community Health Initiatives right in Canandaigua NY.  For so much effort and success,  Deacon Claude was honored with the Consistent Life Ethic VITA Award (a lifetime achievement award) by Bishop Matano of the Diocese of Rochester, on June 4, 2014.  It was the first VITA awarded by the new Bishop of Rochester.

What follows is an excerpt from a recent awards program for Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes detailing a variety of such successes by Deacon Claude, and a testimony from the very people whom he led in the Festival for Freedom endeavors.  Below will be added pictures from the event as soon as they are available.

 Deacon Claude bio crop

Bishop Salvatore Matano,  Diocese of Rochester

Bishop Salvatore Matano,
Diocese of Rochester



Bishop Matano presents VITA Award to Deacon Claude Lester

Bishop Matano presents VITA Award to Deacon Claude Lester



Deacon Claude's Acceptance Speech, crediting everyone but himself.

Deacon Claude’s Acceptance Speech, crediting everyone but himself.

Deacon Claude Congrats crop

Letters to the Editor: Have you written yet?

Here is an essay written to the Canandaigua Daily Messenger by Festival for Freedom member Joe Fitzgerald.  It is important that we stay in the public square and keep supporting our Constitutional Freedoms.  Please send a copy of any article or letter you may have had published on this subject to info@FestivalforFreedom.com

Fitzgerald Messenger Essay

Becket Fund Lecture: UofR 3-27-14

ScreenShot041POST-EVENT NEWS:  

Festival for Freedom recognized the achievements of the Becket Fund for the work it has done on behalf of Religious Freedom with a 2014 Award of a $1000.


Two days after it is heard by the Supreme Court of the United States, the Becket Fund through its President, William M. Mumma, will be heard at the Interfaith Chapel at the University of Rochester.  The Becket fund has been a tireless and courageous force is opposition to infringement on religious liberty, including the better known cases for the Little Sisters of the Poor, and for Hobby Lobby which will be pled on March 25.  It seems ironic that SCOTUS would assign the Feast of the Annunciation to hear a case sharpened by ignoring religious convictions, especially convictions opposing contraception and abortion.  Doesn’t it seem a sure sign we need to earnestly pray to our Holy Mother for her help?


William M. Mumma will deliver the Newman Lecture “Religious Freedom: The American Problem,” exploring religious freedom and how it is protected, applied and lived in a democratic society by houses of worship and businesses in 21st century America.  The lecture is sponsored by the Catholic Newman Community and John Henry Newman Chair of Catholic Studies, and begins at 7:30PM on Thursday, March 27th, in the U of R Interfaith Chapel.  Free parking is available. For more information, see  www.urnewman.org.

Natural Law Symposium: Marriage: 1 Man; 1 Woman


On Friday morning, March 28, 2014, from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM, a Natural Law Symposium will be held at St. John Fisher (Coleman Chapel-Murphy Hall) on “The Natural Law and Marriage betwen a Man and a Woman.”  The Forum is co-sponsored by the St. Thomas Lawyers Guild and the Knights of Columbus, Finger Lakes.

Natural Law Symposium 3-29-14 sjf

With so much discussion leading up to the Extraordinay Synod called for all the Bishops in the world later this year, it is indeed a timely and preparative opportunity regarding the subject: “Marriage and the Natural Law and its evangelization in the Public Square.”  

Our souls cannot afford to have our consciences formed by popular media.

The speakers are two noted and prominent scholars, Dr. Peter J. Colosi, Professor of Moral Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, and Dr. John C. Eastman, Esq., Former Dean of Chapman University School of Law.  Both are noted and respected authors.

We look forward to some information and help in answering the popular secular question:  “But how is this (so-called “Same-Sex Marriage”) hurting anybody?  Isn’t LOVE a “good” thing?

Contact Us

Festival For Freedom.
PO Box 196
Canandaigua, NY, 14424



Disclaimer The contents of this site represent the opinions of festival members or others who post on this site. Any liability for inadvertent errors, or for revelation of information, or otherwise, is explicitly disclaimed. In the best judgment of the site administrator, posts or portions of posts may be deleted for any reason, especially for spamming this site, making untrue statements, or using rude or profane language. Each person posting is responsible for his or her own content, and represents that to the best of his/her knowledge it is accurate. Please keep discussion focused on the particular matters at hand. All images should be copyrighted to their respective owners; all content referenced to its respective source.