Read the Declaration of Independence on July 4th!

Making plans for the Fourth of July?  We are!  On the list is charcoal, lots of grillable meat, corn on the cob, potato salad, watermelon, beer, sparklers, water guns, bug spray, and, of course, extra Brillo pads and wire hangers.

How-to here, not that you should.  

And of course, also on the list is a copy of the Declaration of Independence, to be read aloud by my father, while all the little cousins solemnly add a nice layer of dirt to the marshmallow glaze that covers the top halves of their bodies.

Have your children heard the Declaration of Independence?  Have you heard it recently yourself?  It's not long, and it is magnificent.  Who writes like this anymore?  This election year especially, these stately and radiant words remind us of how much of our national identity has been lost -- and they exhort us to renew the 236-year-old fight for fundamental freedoms.

Don't forget that today kicks off the Fortnight for Freedom.  The USCCB had the great idea of organizing a nationwide "period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action" from July 21 to July 4th -- beginning with the feasts of martyrs for relgious freedom and ending with Independence Day.  Here is a list of dioceses planning special events over the next two weeks.

And what about the Declaration of Independence?  It's easy to find online, of course; or Hillsdale College will send you a free booklet with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  They encourage you to sign up to pledge to read the Declaration aloud as part of your celebrations on the 4th.

Do it!  Do it!  If you're not familiar with the Declaration, it's not a stuffy or incomprehensible piece of legalese -- it's glorious and exhilarating prose, full drama and emotion.  Get your free copy here, and start a new tradition in your family this year.  St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, pray for us!

Rohingya Muslim refugees gather during the Eid al-Fitr holiday inside their temporary settlement on May 14, 2021 in New Delhi, India. A lockdown is in effect as COVID-19 cases have surged in India, causing a shortage of oxygen supplies across the country.

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EDITORIAL: How can we, who are called by Jesus to love our neighbors, extend a helping hand to India and other developing world nations whose pandemic plight remains dire?