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ORLANDO, Fla. (CNS) -- In the July 3 closing Mass for the Fortnight for Freedom, Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori called on Catholics to thank God for the gift of freedom and to pray that they "use this gift well and wisely."
"It's too easy to let this gift lie dormant or be neglected," he said in his homily at the Mass celebrated during the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" in Orlando.
Archbishop Lori, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee for Religious Liberty, had celebrated the fortnight's opening Mass June 21 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore.
This is the sixth year of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Fortnight for Freedom -- a two-week period of prayer, advocacy and education on religious freedom. It starts on the vigil of the shared feast day of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More --- martyrs who fought religious persecution -- and ends on Independence Day.
In his homily, the archbishop urged convocation delegates to advocate for those whose freedoms have been denied and to seek better laws and engage political leaders but he also stressed that nothing is more important that bearing witness to Catholic teaching and "fulfilling our mission to love."