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.

From the Barricades: NEWS from the Festival Site

As many of our readers can imagine, there was a sigh of disappointment this morning when the Supreme Court announced its decision, just as our first speaker (Loretta Fleming regarding a Human Life Amendment)  was about to begin.  We stopped for a few minutes to be sure we understood the announcement, and then we prayed the Reflection of Archbishop Oscar Romero, which we share with you for your prayer as well.

Archbishop Oscar Romero, Assassinated in San Salvador


Martyred on March 24, 1980 in San Salvador, while saying Mass, Archbishop Romero had spoken out for all those suffering oppression, at a great risk to himself.  He had completed a radio address the day before, exhorting the people to follow their consciences rather than “orders.”  He knew the risk but said “I am bound as a pastor by divine command, to give my life for those whom I love…”  He died as he lived.  But he left us a meditation which is very helpful whenever we think something depends only on us, or that we have the only vision, or that our contribution really doesn’t matter.  It is an inspiring way to look at the work God gives us to do. 


Meditation of Archbishop Oscar Romero  

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction

Of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.

Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying

That the kingdom of God always lies beyond us.


No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted,

Knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our abilities.


We cannot do everything,

And realizing that gives us a sense of liberation.

This enables us to do something and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete but it is a beginning, a step along the way,

An opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,

But that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders,

Ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.



NEWS FLASH: Look here for changes and updates in the printed program!


Friday, June 29th:  The TBA program at 10:00 AM will be group discussion on the learnings of this week, our reactions, ideas and sharing.  Come and be heard!  We will surround our time with prayer.  So, join us for Mass at 9 AM if you can.  Then stop in the dining room to get some coffee and calories.  And then head to the conference room.  From 11:45 AM until noon lunch we will spend time in silence.  We hope you can join us Friday morning.

Diocesan Courier published on-line an article about Festival for Freedom:

See  http://www.catholiccourier.com/news/local-news/freedom-festival-speakers-talk-about-uncovering-the-truth/


Monday, June 25th 3:15 “TBA” program will be a showing of BELLA!


Notre Dame, beginning on Monday, June 25th, will no longer require

pre-registration for lunch or dinner 3 days in advance.

Attendees may register and pay for meals they want on the particular day they attend.


Information for IPAD users and those with similar devices who have limited accessibility

to all the options on this site, please note that you can find the printed schedule at


 Registration is especially recommended for the local premiere of For Greater Glory and for both Michael Voris presentations, which are expected to have strong attendance.  If you are not registered in advance, you are still welcome to come, but those with reservations will be seated first.

Michael Voris,  of “Real Catholic TV” renown, has been added to the Festival for Freedom Schedule.  He will speak on “Fighting Tyranny” at 7:00PM on Wednesday, June 27th and on “The Church Militant” at 7:00PM on Thursday, June 28th.  We expect a big turnout for both these talks; come early and car pool for good parking.  There will be a free-will offering after each of his talks.

CATS Schedule:  after the first batch of programs was printed, we were able to secure transportation from the Canandaigua Area Transportation System (CATS).  On weekdays during the Festival for Freedom, i.e. Monday through Friday, a shuttle bus will leave St. Mary’s parking lot at 9:00AM and again at 1:00PM going to the Notre Dame Retreat Center.  Returns from the Retreat Center to St. Mary’s will be at 1:30PM and again at 5:00PM.  The cost will be $2.00 per person each way.

Cancellations:  Theater of the Word’s third (and ONLY its third performance) which had been planned for Thursday evening, June 28th, i.e. “The Call,” has been cancelled. The other two presentations, “Journey of St. Paul” on Thursday, June 21st, and “Adam and Eve Go to Marriage Counseling” on Tuesday, June 26th, remain unchanged.

Deacon Claude Lester has cancelled his presentation on Wednesday evening, June 27th in order to create a time slot for Michael Voris’s first presentation.

Local Premiere June 30, 2012: For Greater Glory!

The Festival for Freedom, being held for two weeks at Notre Dame Retreat House from June 21-July 4, has received permission to premiere locally the much heralded movie “For Greater Glory!” with three screenings.  The shows will be at 10AM, 1:30PM and 4:00PM on Saturday, June 30.  Reservations are suggested as the chapel only holds about 200 people.  For reservations, contact Deacon Claude Lester at clester@dor.org

The is no admission fee, but a free-will offering will be collected at each performance.  See also “Calendar” or “Events Schedule” for more information on the other events to be held at Notre Dame during the festival (which coincides with the USCCB’s call for a Fortnight for Freedom.  Theater of the Word will give three different perfomances, many noted speakers will be attending, and there will be both liturgical and patriotic events.

The following excerpts are from the May 30th Lifesite News’ article on “For Greater Glory!” by Thaddeus Baklinski: 

  • A movie described by its lead actor as the epic story of the fight for religious freedom in Mexico.
  • Already the film is earning enthusiastic accolades from religious leaders, who say that the film couples Hollywood-quality production and acting with a powerful story of faith and freedom that is surprisingly relevant.
  • “For Greater Glory” is a movie about the true story of the Cristeros, the rebels who fought against Mexican dictator Plutarco Calles who banned religion in the country in the 1920s.
  • …numerous commentators have drawn a parallel between the religious oppression of the Mexican dictatorship and the subversion of religious freedom by the U.S. government.
  • Americans today are talking about the same question Mexicans were talking about in the 1920s: Can government order people to act against their faith?”
  • The movie portrays the Cristero War, also know as the Cristiada, of 1926 to 1929, which was an uprising and counter-revolution set off by the bloody persecution of Roman Catholics due to the strict enforcement of anti-religious provisions in the Mexican Constitution.
  • The film has been acclaimed by religious leaders and pro-family groups who are urging all those concerned about the future of religious liberty to support the movie by going to see it and encouraging others to do so.
  • It is an epic true story about religious persecution which is as culturally relevant today as when the oppression occurred in 1920’s Mexico.
  • This film has the potential to light a fire under those who have been sitting on the sidelines in the fight to protect religious liberty.
  • “To describe this film as stirring or powerful would do it a disservice,” said Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia.  …. “For Greater Glory is … an extraordinary portrait of ordinary people struggling to defend their convictions.”
  • “It is not often that a film opens a window into the past that casts so much light on the present,” said Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmstead, Bishop of Phoenix, Ariz. “For Greater Glory depicts a courageous struggle for religious freedom that was inspired by love of Christ and love of country. The Cristeros of Mexico have much to teach us today.”

To see the trailer and find out more about the film go to:  www.ForGreaterGlory.com

Successful June 8 “Stand Up For Freedom” Silent Procession in Canandaigua

In compliance with the request of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), St. Mary Canandaigua sponsored a second silent procession to the Ontario County Courthouse this year.  The first was on March 23, 2012, also in response to the Bishops’ urging, and the second was held on June 8, while simultaneous processions were being held in over 160 cities country wide. 

Approaching the Flag for a Pledge of Allegiance

According to Deacon Claude Lester, approximately 250 people participated in the procession.  Upon arriving at the courthouse and at the ceasing of the pealing church bells, those in attendance recited the Pledge of Allegiance.  To see pictures of the event, visit “Media: Albums” tab above. 

Also, the Rochester Diocesan Courier carried a number of pictures, which can be viewed at:  http://www.catholiccourier.com/photo-video/photo-galleries/silent-procession-for-religious-freedom-held/

The Courier also published an article mentioning both the Canandaigua silent procession and the Rochester March with Speakers.  Visit that article at:  http://www.catholiccourier.com/

Contact Us

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



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