From June 21 (the night before the feast of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, 16th century Martyrs of the England) through to the Fourth of July the Fortnight for Freedom is celebrated in the United States two-week vigil of prayer, sacrifice and public witness for the cause of religious liberty.
The Little Sisters and Residents from our Home in San Pedro had the joy of going to the Cathedral of “Our Lady of the Angeles” where Archbishop José Gomes celebrated a Mass for the Fortnight of Freedom.
We were privileged to be able to see not only the relics of St. Thomas More and John Fisher (martyrs of the 16th century who gave their lives when they did not want England to break off from the Catholic Church). The relic of St. Thomas More was a piece of bone from his jaw bone and a tooth. The relic that was present for St. John Fisher was a ring worn by the Saint (but not his episcopal ring). Theses relics have been traveling throughout the United States during the Fortnight for Freedom, but only in a number of dioceses.
Also present were relics of Blessed Oscar Romero (who was martyred while saying Mass in El Salvador in 1980). The relics of Archbishop Romero were a blood stained handkerchief that he had in his pocket the day that he had been martyred while saying Mass and a microphone that he used to celebrate the Mass every Sunday.
Since it was the feast of Junipero Serra, there were relics of his which included a stole that he would have worn when celebrating Mass.
Archbishop José Gomez spoke of these martyrs who spoke up of their faith as examples for us today, since here in the United States and in other countries as well are becoming more secularized and de-Christianized. Even though we are not being martyred for our faith, there has been conflict between Church and government on the access of abortions and birth control, in otherwise to compromise our faith. Yet Archbishop Gomez said that we must always respond in mercy and charity, just as these great martyrs did in their own time.
The relics were venerated after the Mass.