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.

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?

The Real Crisis in NYS

The real crisis in New York State, as it has been in the demise of so many governments over the centuries, is bad, immoral, even evil leadership that doesn’t respect God or obey His Commandments.  If leadership doesn’t respect God’s Word, what hope do we have of ever being heard as citizens?  Such is now the situation we find in New York State. 

Cuomo O ColorIn spite of all the past errors and abuses, sins and degradations of life in NYS, the most recent is quite telling, and needs to be told.  Last year, as the reader may well remember,  Governor Andrew Cuomo flexed his “I’m the boss” muscle and tried to ram down the throats of NYS residents a gross expansion of abortion.  The Assembly caved, and the Senate almost did the same, except for some particularly brave and committed senators.  (A future post will show who said yea or nay).

For perspective, one should remember that NYS is widely seen as the abortion capital of the United States.  Governor Cuomo’s legislation (which he claims to have personally drafted himself, apparently infringing on the rights of the legislature) was principally targeted at allowing abortion up to the time of delivery, of allowing non-physicians to perform abortions, and giving no protection of conscience rights to those who see such legislation and its spawn as fatally compromising their own souls! 

Governor Cuomo tucked his abortion legislation into a 10-point document for which the first nine points were almost trumped-up tweaks of “women’s rights.”  He likes to use misleading titles (like the name SAFE Act to mask infringement of 2nd Amendment rights) so it is not surprising that he would dub the disguise for abortion as the “Women’s Equality Act.”  Most people of fair mind would see that abortion has nothing to do with equality!  Men are not having abortions, are they? 

If Governor Cuomo really (REALLY!) had cared about his first nine points (the ones disguising the 10th and abominable part) he would have accepted that the Senate did pass the first nine points and signed those into law.  The 10th point, the abortion plank, failed in the Senate, by ONE VOTE.

Why didn’t Governor Cuomo settle for getting nine out of ten?  Because he has to win everything no matter how so many other believe?  Or because the first nine points were really only a disguise for expanded abortion?  If he had accepted those nine to pass and be enacted into law, he would have lost the disguise for the wild expansion of abortion.  So, instead of accepting what he had argued women so needed, he left them and those nine points hostage to what seems more like a tempter tantrum than responsible governance, in my opinion. 

Now NYS must face the battle again, while trying to protect its very soul (not to mention the souls of legislators who are duped, pressured or trampled into voting for such appalling legislation.)  On Monday, January 27, still in the afterglow of a successful 41st March for Life in Washington D. C., we learned that Cuomo’s legislation was again passed by the Assembly.  It is poised to go to the upper chamber, to try to accomplish what couldn’t be done last year.  We don’t know the exact date this will happen, and there will doubtless be much misleading information and then a surprise session (that seems to be how Governor Cuomo’s ALBANY does things), but that is no reason for us not to be prepared, to do all that we can to secure the human rights of the unborn, beginning with prayer.  It is a sad world that keeps up such an onslaught, but that is how evil works.

Keep an eye on this blog to learn more about events, especially in Western New York, where we can do our part to give honor and glory to God, the source of all life, even the lives of those who hate life so much that they want to murder in the womb.

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.


Giving Thanks to God


from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM 


in daily Mass chapel

St. Mary Church,

95 North Main Street

Canandaigua, New York


–give God due thanksgiving and praise for recent events in Albany which have blocked

(for the time being) any expansion of abortion in New York State

(We will begin with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at  10 AM)


–be strengthened and led by the Holy Spirit

(We will use the Spirit prayer prayed on the June 12 trip to Albany)


–discuss summer activities to continue the work which lies ahead

(We will begin to look at possible strategies to further transform our own hardness of heart and the hardness of those around us)


–pray our blessings for God’s continued graces

(We will conclude with Benediction)



RESERVATIONS ARE NOT NECESSARY.  If you have any questions in advance of the gathering, please feel free to contact Deacon Claude   (585) 394-1220, ext 15.   If you are unable to attend this session, but have input to share with the group (especially on summer activities) please send this along to Deacon Claude in advance of the meeting so he can share your comments with all)  clester@dor.org 


Contact Us

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



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