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.

St. Mary Canandaigua Takes Leading Role in Fortnight Event: “Festival For Freedom”

In honor of the request to observe a Fortnight for Freedom, approximately 30 people in the greater Canandaigua area and beyond have joined forces, hands and hearts to create a unique event not for a day or two but for the entire two weeks.  The organizers and planners, spearheaded by Deacon Claude Lester of St. Mary Canandaigua, have come not only from St. Mary, but from various denominational churches as well, and even from no church affiliation, but who believe in the issue of preserving Religious Freedom for everyone.

The recognition that the threat to Religious Freedom impacts all who follow their consciences has kept the group focused on celebrating the God-given Freedoms with a festival, sharing their concerns in common, rather than focused on differences which divide.

Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua

The event will be held at the Notre Dame Retreat House on Foster Road, where each day of the Fortnight will begin with raising the American Flag together, and lowering it again before sunset.  Speakers from all over the country will be making presentations, leading Panel Discussions, and helping the attendees to clarify their thoughts and actions on such an important topic.  Weekends will see special events for children as well.  All people of Faith who believe in our Bill of Rights and especially in the God-given right of Freedom of Religion are invited to participate, to enrich the discussion, and to share ideas and concerns.

There is no admission charge, but a freewill offering will be taken up at some events such as live theater.  Further program details will be presented on this website.   Visit “Calendar” above in order to see the schedule.  Revist often, as the schedule develops and grows.


USCCB Declares Fortnight For Freedom June 21-July 4, 2012

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4, 2012.

Bishops in their own dioceses were encouraged to arrange special events to highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic institutions were encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all “who wish to defend our most cherished freedom.”

The fourteen days begin on June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, martyrs for their Faith. The fortnight ends on July 4, Independence Day. The USCCB called this period a “fortnight for freedom—a great hymn of prayer for our country.”

The USCCB calls this a “special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action” which would emphasize the Christian and American heritage of liberty. The announcement further added: “Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.”

In addition, the USCCB designated June 8, 2012 as “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” and in many dioceses across the country there will be additional activities taking place to keep our concerns for religious freedom squarely in the public eye.

Similar to the events of March 23, 2012 (see “Renewing Our Legacy”) St. Mary Canandaigua will be the starting point of a silent procession to the Ontario County Court House.  People will again gather before 11:30AM on Friday, June 8, to see relevant Freedom quotations displayed, to register, and to receive pins and information.  At noon, at the same Court House where Susan B. Anthony was tried for the crime of casting a vote before women legally received that right, the silence will only be punctuated by the Pledge of Allegiance at noon, and by the ringing of church bells, pealing in protest at any attempt to take away our God-given rights.

Renewing Our Legacy: March 23, 2012

At the request of the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) a show of solidarity against the HHS Mandate was made in more than 100 cities across the US.  (See below for objections to the Mandate.)

A silent procession was held on March 23, 2012 from the grounds of St. Mary Canandaigua to the Ontario County Courthouse, where Susan B. Anthony was tried and convicted of casting a vote, in a time when women did not have the right to vote.

One side of Ontario Co. Courthouse Sq.

Over 500 people attended the procession.  All the pictures and a DVD are shown in the gallery on the tool bar above.  Also please look at the Memory Book in the Gallery.  It will be available for sale during the Fortnight For Freedom on June 21-July 4th, and will help pay for the expenses of that event.

The lawn at St. Mary’s displayed nearly 100 religious freedom quotations with the source attributed, and for those in the procession to contemplate.  At approximately 11:45 AM the procession to the Courthouse began, and silent prayer was offered at 12:00 noon, prayer for preservation of religious freedom in this country.  All returned to St. Mary in silence, where some separately attended Mass offered by Fr. Mull, followed by Lenten Stations of the Cross.

A silent march is something quite different, and quite compelling.  Participants were specifically told:  “NO signs, banners, flags or posters in the procession,” and it seemed that everyone respected the request.  The lawn signage stayed in place for the next few days, until the rains came.

Many of those who participated wore or carried a  faith symbol in the procession (e.g. cross from a place of worship, a bible,  a religious object from home, or a personal religious item such as a rosary.)  One person carried a menorah.

Participants also received a commemorative button “RENEWING OUR LEGACY.”

 VIEW THE VIDEO AT THIS LINK: http://youtu.be/vGXjfsATq2M

These are the reasons given for this vital show of solidarity and support by the Bishops who unanimously opposed the HHS Mandate:

“We are showing our non-support of the mandate for the following reasons:

-the mandate does not permit “religious exemptions” (unless those agencies were  only staffed by members of a single faith tradition and  served only persons of  that one and same faith tradition).  Guided by fundamental principles to serve all in need, Catholic social service agencies, hospitals and universities would not be able to continue their ministry

-the mandate means that “freedom of conscience” is violated

-the mandate requires coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and devices, female surgical  sterilization, as well as contraception,

-the mandate requires that all people pay for services they consider immoral and against their conscience

-the mandate marks a change in our government’s posture of religious freedom as a fundamental right of all.”

We provide those resources below.  If you have time to read only one piece, might we suggest the four page March 2, 2012 letter from Cardinal Dolan, listed first among the resources.  If you have time to read a second, look at the March 14, 2012 statement from the administrative committee of USCCB.

Archbishop Dolan March 2 Letter

Adm. Cmte Statement March 14 2012

Press Release Feb 6 Six Things to Know

Feb 13 Six More Things to Know

Feb 10 Bishops Renew Call to Legislative Action

HHS Mandate Createds Absurd Results by Bishop Lori

Criminalizing Free Speech by J. Whitehead

Difference betwen Freedom of Religion and Freedom to Worship

Southern Baptist Press Release



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Contact Us

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



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