Report on Religious Freedom Rallies

June 9, 2012

BCI believes public action to protest the government intrusion on our religious freedom is important, and we are pleased to share a few reports with you on how the Boston rallies went. These rallies took place in 160 cities across the U.S. on June 8, including on Capital Hill in Washington, DC.

On Cardinal Sean’s blog, he reports on the June 8 rally on Boston Common:


The rally was part of the nationwide effort to Stand Up For Religious Freedom.  In March, 145 cities including Boston each held rallies.  Even more cities participated this time including other local rallies in Worcester and Leominster.

Janet Benestad who is our cabinet secretary for faith formation and evangelization was representing me at the event and was one of the speakers, together with Father Tad Pacholczyk and Sister Olga Yaqob. Scot Landry and George Martell also represented the Archdiocese of Boston at today’s Boston rally.rally5

Other speakers included former Ambassador to the Vatican and Mayor  of Boston Raymond Flynn, Kris Mineau from the Massachusetts Family Institute, young adult Ann-Marie Warner, Herald columnist Don Feder, and Alexis Walkenstein from the Maximus Group.  We appreciate the more than 300 attendees who took a stand today in support of religious freedom on the Common.

These rallies confirm how anxious people are to begin to underscore the importance of religious freedom which is being threatened in so many different venues but particularly with this mandate that redefines Catholic institutions as those that serve exclusively Catholics or are entirely staffed and run by Catholics, in this way eliminating from that category many of our schools, hospitals and other social agencies like Catholic Charities.

The U.S. Bishops recently announced the “Fortnight for Freedom” initiative which will take place from June 21 through July 4.  This special period of prayer, study, catechesis and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty.  Dioceses and parishes across the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.  One of the most significant ways we are marking the Fortnight in the Archdiocese of Boston is by holding an interactive live town hall meeting on Monday June 25 at 8pm on CatholicTV,, and 1060AM WQOM.  We will have some short presentations regarding the issues and what is at stake and then we will take questions from the studio audience and from the viewers who can submit questions via Facebook, Twitter and Email.  Please mark your calendars, join us and perhaps submit a question.

This is a nice report about the rally after the fact.It is unfortunate that more was not done by the archdiocese and Mass Catholic Conference to promote the rally before the event, since this issue should be of great importance for every one of the 300,000+ Mass-going Catholics in the Boston Archdiocese, and we would urge the archdiocese to use its PR and communications engine a bit more actively leading up to these kinds of events. In addition to the Boston rally, there was also one in West Roxbury. Lou reports here that the evening rally in West Roxbury drew nearly 150 people.

The Fortnight for Freedom is coming up soon, and The Pilot has an article about that initiative, as well as the upcoming June 25 town hall meeting with Cardinal O’Malley:

Angela Franks, who teaches at the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization, plans to appear as a panelist on the town hall meeting program. She said she is eager to defend the faith at the town hall meeting that will be broadcast nationally.

“It is important that the message be sent to congress and to the president that this is not an isolated case of a few people protesting, but that all Catholics all across the country recognize that this is a grave threat to the fundamental freedom of religious liberty,” she said.

She said it is important to present a unified voice between communities of Catholics in the United States throughout a network of local groups to dispel misconceptions.

“The mainstream media has tried to imply that the bishops do not have broad support, that this is a war against women, and that women are not supporting the Church and her position on this. So, it is very important for local Catholics to demonstrate that they do stand with the Church,” Franks said.

BCI suggests all readers take part in the town hall meeting and take advantage of this time to submit your questions to Cardinal O’Malley. Ironically, the town hall meeting with Cardinal O’Malley is on the same day when President Obama is in Boston for a series of campaign fundraisers, including one for $40,000/person at the home of Catholic Schools fundraiser and Finance Council member, Jack Connors Jr. (not exactly the presenting of a “unified voice” among Catholics, but that is a topic for another post).

Have a wonderful weekend!

%d bloggers like this: