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On the Journey - Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski

The McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame partners with Catholic dioceses and parishes to address pastoral challenges with young adults.

The ECHO program exists as one of the leading initiatives within the institute. It is a two-year service-learning program which offers participants the opportunity to earn an MA in Theology from the University of Notre Dame and to serve the Church by working in a parish in a leadership role.

The ECHO apprentices engage in leadership in a variety of parish ministries. Each apprentice is formally matched with a parish mentor to help guide their ministry experiences and assess their professional development.

Three years ago, our parish was part of bringing this program to the Joliet Diocese along with three other parishes in the diocese. Tricia McCarthy, served in our parish community for two years. She graduated from Notre Dame on July 29th and will begin her professional life at Elon University as a Campus Minister, this fall.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community has again been matched with an ECHO apprentice who will begin the two-year service program at our parish later this month. We look forward to welcoming our next young, catechetical leader. More information will be provided in next week's bulletin.

On the journey,
Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski

2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

January is Poverty Awareness Month! The U.S. Catholic Bishops invite all of us to join them in taking up Pope Francis' challenge to live in solidarity with the poor by participating in the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). This campaign is a domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, working to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ "... to bring good news to the poor ... release to captives ... sight to the blind, and let the oppressed go free." (Luke 4:18)

CCHD works to break the cycle of poverty by helping low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, families and communities, and by offering a hand up, not a hand out. This program also has a complementary mission of educating on poverty and its causes. This strategy of education for justice that helps people who are poor speak and act for themselves reflects the mandate of the Scriptures and the principles of Catholic social teaching.

This Campaign for Human Development also provides the Catholic faithful with concrete opportunities to live out the love of God and neighbor in ways that express our baptismal call and continuing Eucharistic transformation. It is an essential part of the Church in the United States' social mission, and a unique part of the Catholic community's broad commitment to assist low-income people, families and communities. I encourage you to learn more about this campaign visiting the link below.

www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development

I also wish to echo Pope Francis' call to reflection on the theme of the 2017 World Day of Migrants and Refugees: "Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and Voiceless". The Holy Father urges all people of good will, faith communities, governments, and institutions to "take care of the young, who in a threefold way are defenseless: they are children, they are foreigners, and they have no means to protect themselves. I ask everyone to help those who, for various reasons, are forced to live far from their homeland and are separated from their families."

On the journey,
Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski