In Louisville, Ky., supporters of Catholic sisters have announced a vigil they hope will cast in a new light what freedom of religion means in the Catholic tradition.
Titled “Let's Make a Joyful Noise about Freedom for Women Religious!” the event was planned to coincide with the U.S. Bishops’ two-week “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign. It takes place between 5 and 6 p.m. Tuesday (June 26) in front of the Cathedral of the Assumption.
Helen Deines, one of the organizers behind this and four previous Louisville vigils in support of the LCWR, said the phrase “religious freedom” has been “hijacked by politics,” and part of the objective of the vigil is to revisit the topic and start a conversation.
“The crucial core of what we’re talking about has gotten lost,” Deines said. “It has become so contentious.”
The silent prayer vigil will be interspersed every 15 minutes by the music of the Louisville Youth Orchestra, who have agreed to perform, Deines said. She encourages attendees to bring spoons, bells, drums, guitars, tambourines, and other “joyful noisemakers” to accompany the young musicians.
The vigil will open with the following prayer, written by Deines:
We listen, and we choose to respond. Free will is gift from God. We choose to become Jesus’s disciples. It is a gift returned in thanks for all we have been given, not an act coerced by another.
Let us today celebrate the lives of women religious who responded to God in the signs of their times, choosing freely to use their gifts to shape the face of the Catholic church in the world.
Theresa of Avila, 16th century Carmelite, mystic and reformer, challenged the corrupting power of wealth in the church, successfully confronted Popes and the Inquisition, and was ultimately canonized and named a Doctor of the Church. Let your little light shine!
In 1828 in Baltimore Mother Mary Lange and three other black women established a religious order—the Oblate Sisters of Divine Providence, which became the first sustained congregation of African descent anywhere in the world. Later abandoned by their bishop for four years, the Oblates sustained their community, maintained their vows, walking across Baltimore to participate in Eucharist, a sign to all of “uncommon faithfulness.” They still today operate excellent independent Catholic schools with African American roots for poor children. Let your little light shine!
Now please pray in silence until 5:15.