Thursday, June 13, 2013

St. Stephen's Fortnight for Freedom events

At the urging of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Legislative Advocacy Ministry and the Knights of Columbus at St. Stephen the Martyr parish in Renton are sponsoring "Fortnight for Freedom" events between June 22nd through July 3rd to pray, fast, and act on behalf of our First Amendment guarantees to freedom of religion. Below is the list of events at our parish:

Tues, June 25th:   start of the nine-day Novena, after the 6:30pm mass
Wed, June 26th:   Divine Mercy Chaplet (and Novena) after the 6:30pm mass
Fri, June 28th:      Holy Hour (and Novena) at 6:30pm
Mon, July 1st:      Patriotic Rosary (and Novena) after the 6:30pm mass
Wed, July 3rd:     Closing of the nine-day Novena after the 6:30pm mass.

All parishioners, and the public, are invited!

We encourage everyone to participate in the nine-day Novena, starting June 25th through July 3rd, even if you are not able to join us at church.  Throughout this two-week period, all Catholics are urged to pray the daily rosary, the chaplet of Divine Mercy, as well as the novena -- on behalf of religious liberty in America.

In addition to prayers (and fasting), the Bishops are urging everyone to contact their U.S. Representatives to support and vote for H.R. 940, to combat the Health & Human Services mandate (see the posting below for more information; or go to the USCCB website at ).

H.R. 940, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act of 2013

H.R. 940, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act of 2013, has been introduced in Congress to provide protections for religious organizations and individual conscience rights against the implementation of the ‘HHS mandate’ on August 1st.

The purpose is to ensure that taxpayers and religious organizations are not forced to subsidize abortions & abortafacients, nor violate their personal moral and religious convictions when providing or purchasing healthcare.

Federal law has consistently protected the rights of individuals and institutions to act according to their religious beliefs and moral convictions.  However, political forces are now injecting themselves into the lives of religious organizations, substituting their own secular ideology for the Church’s beliefs.

H.R. 940- Why We Need a Health Care Conscience Rights Act

The right of religious liberty, the First Freedom guaranteed by our Constitution, includes a right to provide and receive health care without being required to violate our most fundamental beliefs. This is why over a hundred members of Congress, from both parties, are sponsoring the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940).

This Act would improve federal law in three ways:

1.Correct loopholes and other deficiencies in the new federal law, preventing governmental discrimination against health care providers that do not help provide or pay for abortions.

2. Insert a conscience clause into the health care reform law, so it’s mandates for particular "benefits" in private health plans will not be used to force insurers, employers, and individuals to violate their consciences or give up their health insurance.

3. Add a "private right of action" to existing federal conscience laws, so those whose consciences are violated can defend their rights.

All U.S. congressional representatives should be urged to support and co-sponsor the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, so that our First Freedom can regain its proper place as a fundamental right protected in our health care system.


Please write to Congress opposing the mandate, calling for conscience protections.  Ask your Representative to support the Health Care Conscience Rights Act of 2013, to ensure respect for the religious liberty and conscience rights of all participants in our nation's health care system.

In addition to sending an email, please call your local Congressional Representatives! The U.S. Capitol switchboard number is 202-224-3121, or call your Representative's local office. 
Additional contact info can be found on the Representatives' web sites at: (input your zip code to find your legislator).   You can also sign a pre-printed postcard at the table in St Stephen's narthex, or take the FAST & EASY route!  You can send an electronic message through  Click SEND EMAIL TO CONGRESS to send (or edit) the suggested text that asks your congressman to co-sponsor HR-940.  Your zip code and street address will direct your message to your congressman.