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Religious Freedom Day: 41st Annual Celebration in Fredericksburg

The Knights of Columbus Rappahannock Assembly have sponsored Religious Freedom Day in Fredericksburg on the second Sunday in January since 1974.

The Knights of Columbus Rappahannock Assembly at Religious Freedom Day 2013 in Fredericksburg.  Photo by Karen Klugh.
The Knights of Columbus Rappahannock Assembly at Religious Freedom Day 2013 in Fredericksburg. Photo by Karen Klugh.

By Karen Klugh

Fredericksburg is the site of many historic events, some more widely known than others.

In January 1777, Thomas Jefferson came to Fredericksburg as part of a committee tasked with revising Virginia’s colonial laws. While here, the future president drafted The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom.

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

The signing of this bill will be commemorated on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, at the Thomas Jefferson Religious Freedom Monument on the Washington Avenue Mall at Pitt Street in Fredericksburg.

The celebration begins at 1:30 p.m. with a parade departing from the Fredericksburg train station, 200 Lafayette Blvd., followed by a ceremony and wreath laying at the monument.  

Members of all faiths are invited to march in the parade and carry a banner identifying your affiliation and showing support for religious freedom. The route will proceed down Caroline Street, up Amelia Street and down Washington Avenue to the Religious Freedom Monument.

The ceremony, emceed by Virginia State Delegate Bobby Orrock, will include Fredericksburg Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw making an official proclamation commemorating the bill, a keynote address by Religious Freedom Coalition Chairman William J. Murray, an invocation by Father Don Rooney of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, and benediction by Rev. Robert Koehler of Redeemer Lutheran Church.

Schedule of Events

  • 12:45 p.m. -  Parade Participants Assemble at Fredericksburg train station at 200 Lafayette Blvd.
  • 1:30 p.m. - Parade Begins
  • 1:55 p.m. - Parade Arrives at Religious Freedom Monument
  • 2 p.m. - Ceremony Begins
Richard Reschick January 11, 2014 at 09:57 AM
Please attend because it will be a great event this year.

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