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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

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Spring is here and soon the trees will recover their leaves and flowers will bloom. Many people say spring is the happiest time of the year. Perhaps this feeling has something to do with spending more time outdoors, admiring God's creation. Though there is surely a common desire for happiness in the hearts of men and women of all ages, there are people who seem to avoid happiness because they feel it is too hard or impossible to achieve.

"God has placed in the heart of every man and woman an irrepressible desire for happiness, for fulfillment".
—Pope Francis

A couple of years ago, Pope Francis' 10 Secrets to Happiness was published, this ten-page booklet with thoughts on how to achieve happiness is available online at Our Sunday Visitor: www.osv.com/10secrets.aspx.

Following is a quick list of the Holy Father's recommendations for happiness but I encourage you to visit the provided link where you can download the booklet and read the description he provides for each of them.

  1. Live and Let Live.
  2. Create jobs for young people.
  3. Be giving of yourself to others.
  4. Respect and take care of nature.
  5. Proceed calmly.
  6. Stop being negative.
  7. Develop a healthy sense of leisure.
  8. Respect others' beliefs.
  9. Make Sunday a holy day.
  10. Work for peace.

Earlier this month we hosted a Lenten Afternoon with John Allen Jr. This was a unique opportunity for members of our faith community and neighbors to listen to someone who has been covering the Vatican and the papacy for more than two decades, and ask questions about Pope Francis' direction to rejuvenate the Catholic Church. We have received positive feedback from people who attended this event and hope to bring other interesting speakers to our parish in the future.

On the journey,
Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski