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On the Journey - Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski

Each year, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reminds us the importance of defending our religious freedom. From June 21st to July 4th Catholics are called to take part in the Fortnight for Freedom. Resources on How to Talk About Religious Freedom are available online at www.usccb.org where you can also find ways to get involved.

The U.S. Bishops encourage all citizens to keep in mind that "if religious liberty is not respected, all people suffer and are deprived of the essential contribution to the common good, be it in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil rights, and social services that the Church and other people of faith make every day, both here at home and overseas".

"Religion cannot be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life". -Pope Francis, Evangelii Gudiium, 183

Below are a few excerpts from the Religious Freedom guide which you can download from: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/how-to-talk-about-religious-freedom.cfm

"Many religious freedom skeptics have plausible concerns. For example, they are concerned that all people should be treated with equal dignity. Indeed, the dignity of all people is the foundation for Catholic teaching on religious liberty. It is important that we not dismiss skeptics, but rather, that we listen to their concerns and take them seriously".

"Religious freedom is a fundamental right. It means that the government cannot coerce people into acting against their consciences".

"People of faith need religious freedom to have the space to serve others. Oftentimes, religious liberty disputes arise when religious organizations are expected to sacrifice aspects of their faith in order to continue to serve the surrounding community. But it is our faith that inspires us to serve. Take the Little Sisters of the Poor, who live out their Christian faith by serving the elderly poor".

On the journey,
Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Today is the Sunday of the Third Scrutiny for those in our community who are preparing to enter the Catholic faith. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program (RCIA), designates three Scrutiny Rites as a major component of the Lenten journey for the catechumen (the elect) and candidates.

What are the scrutinies?

The scrutinies are described as an opportunity to examine (scrutinize) how we are tempted, how we fail in what we do and in what we fail to do (sin), and to strengthen all that is strong and good in us. The scrutinies are meant to uncover, then heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful in the hearts of the elect; to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, strong and good. “These rites are celebrated to deliver the elect from the power of sin and Satan, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life” (Scrutinies #141)

We celebrate these rites for the elect, in community, during the Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent to affirm God’s grace in the elect. As Catholics, we are called to walk with the catechumen and candidates on their journey of spiritual cleansing and growth, to complete the conversion of our hearts and to deepen our resolve to love God above all.

As we arrive to the Fifth Sunday of Lent we are all called to search our own hearts and souls for any areas of darkness still in need of God’s bountiful mercy and healing. Let us pray that our sins and weaknesses be removed to embrace the life of faith. May we all prepare to stand renewed in the waters and promises of baptism for our salvation and the salvation of the whole world.

  • On the journey,
  • Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski