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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

First Sunday of Lent

Our Catholic Lenten Practices: Prayer – Giving - Sacrifice

Giving up something for Lent, eating fish on Fridays and fasting from meat, almsgiving and penance throughout the forty days of lent —are some of the practices for which Catholics are known. The Catholic Church calls each of us to renew our discipleship in Christ each year during Lent through our commitment to pray, give alms and sacrifice.

Prayer it's important to understand the meaning of prayer in our lives—as individuals, as families, and as a community. Prayer is especially important during the Lenten season, because it is a way of personal reflection, evaluation, and repentance. Lent calls us to a personal conversion and renewal so that we might not just celebrate Easter at the end of the forty days of the season but also feel the risen Christ alive in us and in the world.

Giving no matter where we live, we all witness situations of injustice, violence, and hatred every day. We see it on the evening news or the internet. The Church calls us during Lent to be especially conscious of what is happening around us and of the needs of others so we can act accordingly. Giving materially to help others is an act of Christian charity known as "almsgiving." There are several opportunities to support acts of charity through your donations to the Church.

Sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice, is not a Christian virtue, and fasting is not meant to be a sacrifice for the sake of pain or discomfort. Fasting and abstinence are meant to help us reflect on: What nourishes us on our journey of life? The answer to this question is found at the end of the forty days of Lent—in the Resurrection of Jesus.

We pray, give and sacrifice because Christ loved us so much that He gave his own life so that we might share in Eternal Life.

On the journey,
Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski