by Antonina Zielinska
St. Joseph’s Church, Prospect Heights, hosted a Mass and overnight vigil June 22 to kick off the diocesan observance of the Fortnight for Freedom.
The vigil in Brooklyn was held on the feast day of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, who were both beheaded by King Henry VIII for refusing to fall in line with the reformation against the Catholic Church.
During his homily, Msgr. Kieran Harrington, administrator of St. Joseph’s, encouraged the congregation to gain strength from these two saints. He explained the two were unwavering in their faith to the point of death. Although they both were beheaded as martyrs, Msgr. Harrington said their lives were not given up in vain.
“Christ never promised victory,” he said. “What Christ calls us to is not victory but to faithfulness.”
Micheal D’Emic, from Our Lady of Angels parish, Bay Ridge, came to the rally with his wife Mary. He said the story of St. Thomas More was prevalent in his home when he was growing up. Now he is trying to follow in the footsteps of one of his heroes and stand up for his religious beliefs.
Among those who took a leadership in the movement is Jocelyn Rodriguez, from St. Elizabeth parish, Ozone Park. As a teen, she was active in various diocesan movements, and upon learning of the HHS mandate, she wanted to use her connections to help youth get involved. She organized for five youth groups to lead the faithful gathered for the vigil in prayer throughout the night.
Kayla Pereyra, a member of the youth ministry at Our Lady of Cenacle, Richmond Hill, said she responded because the church and the bishops are in great need of the support of the faithful.
“It’s a time to reflect and pray about what’s going on in our church,” she said.
Humberto Rodriguez, sound engineer for New Name youth ministry, said he was happy to devote his Friday night because the cause is just.