Most Reverend John O. Barres Keynote June 28, 2017
Our theme for the 2017 Fortnight for Freedom is “Freedom for Mission.” As Catholics and Americans, we defend and promote the First Amendment Religious Liberty rights of all our fellow Americans.
I want to begin by thanking Bishop Murphy for his foresight in supporting the witness of Catholics for Freedom of Religion in the public square. The Liberty Bell may be physically located in Philadelphia but the members of Catholics for Freedom of Religion know that it is located on Long Island as well and you have been ringing it loudly.
“Freedom for Mission.” The very nature of the Catholic Church is missionary. The Second Vatican Council said that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the Universal Sacrament of Salvation, and our baptismal call to holiness and mission makes us instruments of dramatic missionary growth on Long Island and throughout the universal Church.
This evening in the universal Church we are celebrating the Vigil of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. In the late 1930s, Pope Pius XII commissioned an archaeological dig beneath the Vatican and the cemetery streets of ancient Rome to find the Bones of Saint Peter. The Italian word “Scavi” means excavation and so when we have had the opportunity to do a Scavi tour at the Vatican that leads us at the end to the Bones of St. Peter, we never say the Creed quite the same way again. (more…)