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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

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