September 13, 2013

Events to highlight ongoing struggle to defend religious liberty

Father Robert Robeson, rector of the Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis, carries the monstrance during the “Eucharistic Rosary Rally for the Protection of Our Religious Liberties” procession on Sept. 30, 2012, at Marian University in Indianapolis. (Criterion file photo)

Father Robert Robeson, rector of the Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis, carries the monstrance during the “Eucharistic Rosary Rally for the Protection of Our Religious Liberties” procession on Sept. 30, 2012, at Marian University in Indianapolis. (Criterion file photo)

By Sean Gallagher

Two upcoming events in Indianapolis will highlight the ongoing struggle to defend religious liberty as secularism is on the rise in government and society.

“Religious Freedom: As American as Apple Pie” is a conference that will be held from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Sept. 22 at St. Barnabas Church, 8300 Rahke Road, in Indianapolis.

A week later, on Sept. 29, the second annual “Eucharistic Rosary Rally for Faith and Freedom” will take place from 2-4 p.m. at St. Vincent Health Field on the campus of Marian University, 3200 Cold Spring Road, in Indianapolis.

“I see the [Sept. 22 event] as a call to action,” said Eric Slaughter, a member of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Indianapolis and the chairman of the Abba, Father Chapter of Catholics United for the Faith. “Our event on [Sept. 29] is a call to prayer. We can’t rely on one or the other.”

The emphasis of the Religious Freedom conference on Sept. 22 is to provide information about the impact of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate on religious liberty.

“We believe that an informed laity probably is going to get more involved than someone who is not informed,” said Chuck Stumpf, chairman of the St. Barnabas Religious Liberty Action Committee. The “goal is to make sure that when they leave the event, they have some type of knowledge of what they can do as an individual to stand up for their religious liberty.”

The Sept. 22 event will feature nationally known speakers Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, and Kevin Edward White, a board member of the Thomas More Society.

Two local speakers will also be featured: Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Marlene Shapley, vice president of mission services for Franciscan St. Francis Hospital, and Little Sisters of the Poor Sister Rosemarie Yao.

“Having a local perspective makes a big difference,” Stumpf said. “You have national figures telling you what is going on at the national level. Then you take their information and you see that it’s happening here with the Little Sisters of the Poor and at St. Francis Hospital [and other Catholic hospitals.] It becomes a local issue then. It’s a reality check.”

The Sept. 22 conference is co-sponsored by St. Barnabas Parish, Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Indianapolis, the Central Indiana Knights of Columbus Chapter and Right to Life of Indianapolis.

“The fact that we have five co-sponsors of this event speaks volumes from the standpoint of the urgency of the issue,” Stumpf said. “They think it’s extremely important to what’s going on in the Christian community.”

So do the organizers of the Sept. 29 rosary rally at Marian University. The event will begin with eucharistic adoration in Marian Hall, followed by a procession to the college’s St. Vincent Health Field for a living rosary, Benediction, the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

At last year’s rally, 750 people participated. Organizers hope to fill the 4,000 seats in the stadium this year for the event which is being co-sponsored by the local chapters of Catholics United for the Faith, the Marian Center, the Knights of Columbus, the Faithful Citizens Rosary Processions and the archdiocese’s office for pro-life ministry.

“I particularly encourage people to pray the rosary,” Slaughter said. “As we look at the history of what has happened when praying the rosary has been called for in the Church, great miracles have happened. So our main goal with the rally is to remind everyone of the power of prayer, and to come together as the body of Christ in unity to pray.”

Both events are important in the battle for religious liberty, according to organizers.

“For those who think that this is an issue that really doesn’t impact them, for whatever reason, it does impact them because they have sons and daughters and grandkids,” Stumpf said. “This whole thing is going to impact them if we don’t get it turned around.

“It’s the next generation that’s really going to have the issue. It’s time for our generation to step up, say ‘no,’ and defend their religious liberty.”
 

(For more information on the Religious Freedom event on Sept. 22, contact Chuck Stumpf at 317-403-5219. For more information on the Rosary Rally on Sept. 29, call Kathy Denney at 317-888-0873.)

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