The U.S. bishops have called for a Fortnight for Freedom, June 21-July 4. The two-week period of prayer and action will address current challenges to religious liberty, including the Aug. 1 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the Health and Human Services mandate; Supreme Court rulings that could redefine marriage, and religious liberty concerns in areas such as immigration and humanitarian services.

As American Catholics, we are shocked when we read about attacks on innocent people of faith in foreign lands. The Fortnight for Freedom’s goal is to focus our community of faith on the topic of religious freedom both locally and globally; to learn about it and educate ourselves and others about current threats — including the government mandate that would force Catholics and others to act against their religious convictions.

But just as important, the Fortnight is a way for Catholics and others to focus on the good that religious freedom offers in the world, whether it be charitable works, health care, or care for the poor.

Archbishop William Lori has asked Catholics to pray, become educated about religious liberty, support the national and local events surrounding the Fortnight and to research the bill in Congress right now (HR 940) that would protect the rights of conscience for Catholics and so many more.

“We need to render unto Caesar those things that bear his image. But we need to render ourselves unto God — generously, zealously, holding nothing back,” said Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia.

“To the extent we let God transform us into his own image, we will — by the example of our lives — fulfill our duty as citizens of the United States, but much more importantly, as disciples of Jesus Christ.”

Let’s honor religious freedom during the upcoming Fortnight.