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."

Dear Friends of Freedom

Dear Friends of  Freedom,

ScreenShot040This website was established in the second quarter of 2012 to support the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ calling for a Fortnight for Freedom to oppose attacks on Freedom of Religion, especially attacks driven by the HHS mandate.  A year ago, in mid-June, 2012,  we were immersed in putting the final touches on the extraordinary fourteen day celebration called the   “FESTIVAL FOR FREEDOM.”  

 

For that first program, our group provided two full weeks of prayer, Daily Mass, daily Adoration,Resources FFF prominent speakers and showing the new release For Greater Glory to packed crowds. We heard outstanding talks by canon lawyers, social analysts, authors, theologians, scholars and lay witnesses from early morning into the evening.  By July 4, 2012, over seven hundred persons had attended one or more events of the Festival.  Many of those talks can be found on this website under “Media,” some in audio and others in video format, some as papers and some in pictures.  The extent of that program made it unique in the U. S.

This year, the Bishops have once again called for a Fortnight for Freedom, and many people expected our same group of volunteers, principally from the Canandaigua Community, to be offering another two week program.  We decided not to do so, and will share our reasons, since many have inquired “why not?”

  1. The 2012 Festival was a highly educative and formative experience, which is still available in large part on this website.  To draw a new group of  even 700 attendees in the same geographic area seems less likely, especially with our resources available on line for distance learning.  Given that local programs draw primarily from the local area, especially over a continuous and intense two week period, the organizing volunteers determined that Fortnight for Freedom activities in 2013 could be better carried out in other locations in the 12-county Diocese of Rochester.  However, as of this writing, the only event in the Rochester Diocese is the celebration of Eucharist on Friday, June 21 at Our Lady of Victory Church in downtown Rochester, to celebrate the Feast of the diocesan patrons St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher. We do not know of additional programs in other diocesan locations.  We would gladly publicize, on this website, additional Fortnight for Freedom events if we are made aware of them.
  2. This dramatic shift from almost-all to almost-nothing is not a reflection of the issues spoken and reflected upon a year ago having been resolved or gone away.  The original organizing group itself has transitioned through that education and conscience formation experience to an advocacy position.  Simply put, it is time to bring learning to action, which is as important in New York State as at the national level, and where perhaps we can have even more impact.  In the last year we have evolved from an event-planning group to an advocacy group which sees  three critical issues as integral to a well-formed, comprehensive advocacy approach for the well-being of our Church, society and nation:  “protecting the unborn,” “defending marriage” and “safeguarding religious liberty.”  
  3. Our Advocacy in New York State this year has been to combat the immediate threat of!cid_ii_13e14aec2a56e82f Governor Cuomo’s forcing upon the people of NYS unreasonable and insensitive expansion of abortion under the guise of women’s health and equality.  Most of the proposed bill seems to be minor tweaking of various ‘other’  factors, to cloak the threat of infanticide.  Those who have moved to a position of acting on their own consciences had to choose their advocacy priorities, and stopping Cuomo’s threat against women and babies became our highest priority, no matter how long the odds.  Members of the prior organizing group for Festival for Freedom have garnered petitions, chartered buses to Albany for protests, and organized writing campaigns to state legislators.
  4. Another difficulty in conducting a program in any way analogous to the 2012 program is compounded by the Diocese of Rochester’s being  ‘in sede vacante’, i.e. under the administration of an Apostolic Administrator, but with a Bishop expected to be named imminently.  Not forging ahead  with even a reduced Festival for Freedom program reflects our awaiting the naming and installation of a new Bishop for the Diocese of Rochester, so that we can serve him in a meaningful spirit of collaboration to further these goals. 
  5. Further, there are local pastoral changes which have also complicated the ability to conduct such an expensive and complex program at this time, in anticipation of the arrival of a new pastor during the Fortnight period.button2_small2

We hope that these words will assure visitors to this website and supporters of the same goals of our on-going commitment to the issues, emphasizing the priority we have assigned to NYS threats, and our willingness to encourage and support others in their executing events in a Fortnight for Freedom program, now and in the future.

 

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

info@festivalforfreedom.com

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