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Religious Freedom Day ceremony in Fredericksburg has been canceled

This story was updated Jan. 10, 2019.

We just received word that the Religious Freedom Day ceremony scheduled for Jan. 13 in Fredericksburg has been canceled due to the forecast of snow Sunday morning.


Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz will deliver a keynote address at the 2019 Religious Freedom Day ceremony in Fredericksburg Jan. 13. Richmond Bishop Barry C. Knestout will give the benediction.

The day's activities will include a parade featuring a variety of religious groups, remarks about the importance of religious freedom, an official proclamation by the Fredericksburg mayor’s office commemorating the bill, prayers and a wreath-laying ceremony.

The event coincides with the 242nd anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s drafting of the Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom. In January 1777, Jefferson came to Fredericksburg as part of a committee tasked with revising Virginia’s colonial laws. While there, the future president drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

The bill caused much debate and took nine years before passing the Virginia General Assembly Jan. 16, 1786. The bill was the basis for the religion clause in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Jefferson felt strongly about religion, and his notes were clear that the principle of religious freedom was meant to include every faith and denomination.

Since 1974, the Knights of Columbus have commemorated the bill and Jefferson’s role in preserving religious freedom in a ceremony for all faiths at the Monument for Religious Freedom on Washington Avenue.

Archbishop Kurtz was elected chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in November 2017. He served as USCCB president from 2013 to 2016. 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019