Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Atlanta Area Churches Host Mass For Religious Freedom

Published June 6, 2013

ATLANTA—Masses for Religious Freedom will be celebrated across the archdiocese during 14 days of prayer and special events June 21-July 4 focusing on this essential freedom. The Fortnight for Freedom is a time when people of good will are invited to deepen their knowledge of issues surrounding freedom of religion and ways this freedom is increasingly threatened and constricted, both in the United States and worldwide. It’s also an invitation to action.

The first Mass will be celebrated on Thursday evening, June 20, at 5:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, as the fortnight begins. The public is invited to this and all of the Masses and events.

Other Masses for Religious Freedom are being planned in the geographic deaneries of the archdiocese, including: Monday, June 24, at
6 p.m. at Our Lady of the Mountains Church, Jasper; Tuesday, June 25, at 7 p.m. at St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell; Wednesday, June 26, at
7 p.m. at two churches, Holy Family, Marietta, and St. Philip Benizi, Jonesboro; Tuesday, July 2, at 12:15 p.m. at St. Anna Church, Monroe; and Thursday, July 4, at 10 a.m. at Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta. Other Masses are being planned and will be announced on the archdiocesan website (

The U.S. Catholic bishops have called for the Fortnight for Freedom to address many current challenges to religious liberty, including the Aug. 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with a federal mandate requiring that they provide free contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization in health care plans, in violation of the moral teachings of the Catholic faith. The Health and Human Services’ mandate also attempts to define what a religious institution is and creates a definition so narrow that the vast majority of Catholic universities, hospitals, social services and other agencies of the church do not qualify as religious.

Other concerns in the area of religious freedom include U.S. Supreme Court rulings that could redefine marriage in June, and religious liberty concerns in areas such as immigration and humanitarian services where the church is constricted from exercising its call to live the Gospel by freely serving those in need.

This is the second Fortnight for Freedom called by the U.S. bishops. The dates reflect the feasts of two saints who died in the cause of religious liberty, St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, on June 22 and the American celebration of Independence Day on July 4. Religious freedom is the first freedom established by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In related events, a Theology on Tap event for young adults will be held on Wednesday, June 19, from 7 to 10 p.m. with guest speaker Mary Boyert, director of the Respect Life Ministry of the Atlanta Archdiocese, speaking on “Religious Freedom Isn’t Free—Why Should August First Matter to Me?” For information visit

The Spring Hill College Summer Institute of Christian Spirituality, which will be held at Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center, Atlanta, includes an intensive weekend course June 21-23 on “Church/World, Church/State: The Social and Political Vision of Vatican II.” Taught by Matthew Bagot, Ph.D., a member of the Spring Hill College faculty, the course will study two documents of Vatican II, including the church’s Declaration on Religious Liberty. Registration and fee information is available at the Ignatius House website,

Fact sheets on issues, background on freedom of religion and more resources are available at