This Sunday we celebrate the Fourth of July, Independence Day. On this day, we remember and appreciate the birth of our nation. As Catholics, we are called to truly cherish in a very special way the many freedoms we enjoy in this country. Our bishops remind us that, in the midst of a society that is becoming more secular in its orientation, there is a need to reaffirm our commitment to guard and protect our freedoms, especially our right to religious liberty. There is also a need to strengthen the moral foundation of our country, a moral foundation based on faith and trust in the Lord.
As we celebrate Independence Day, we are invited to pray “A PRAYER FOR INDEPENDENCE DAY” provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
God, source of all freedom, this day is bright with the memory of those who declared that life and liberty are Your gift to every human being.
Help us to continue a good work begun long ago.
Make our vision clear and our will strong: that only in human solidarity will we find liberty, and justice only in the honor that belongs to every life on earth.
Turn our hearts toward the family of nations: to understand the ways of others, to offer friendship, and to find safety only in the common good of all.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
As we reflect on this prayer, and as we celebrate the birth of our nation, we also acknowledge how dramatically the fabric of our nation has changed due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus. As previously noted, our robust economy has been significantly curtailed, and certain businesses have been forced to close, causing many people to lose their jobs. Even various government directives and guidelines concerning the temporary closing of churches, businesses, parks and beaches may have caused us to reflect on the freedoms we may at times take for granted.
Gradually, the impact of the COVID-19 virus is starting to ease and we hope to witness a return to a more normal sense of life. Churches, businesses, parks, beaches and other places available to the public are becoming more accessible. We look forward to the time when our great nation will once again flourish.
As we take time this weekend for picnics and sporting events and other forms of recreation and relaxation, we are encouraged to also take time to thank God for the many freedoms we enjoy, and to reaffirm our commitment to protect and preserve those freedoms, especially in these difficult and uncertain times.