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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

Palm Sunday

Today's readings offer a wide view of what we will contemplate during Holy Week: the Eucharist, the passion and death of the Lord, and the prediction of His Resurrection. When you listen to the readings take notice of the many words and expressions that have become part of the Sunday liturgy. Most importantly, listen to how each event of the Passion of Christ reveals what the prophets and Christ himself had announced.

I hope the posters and props placed around the parish during the past five weeks, served to motivate you to experience your Lenten journey as an exciting trip to celebrate the grace of forgiveness, and the joy of the Resurrection.

For those of you with children, I hope you took the opportunity to speak to your children about the wonderful season that leads to Easter. Practicing Lent as a family is a special way to teach children about "the 40 days Jesus spent praying in the desert before his public ministry" and to prepare them to celebrate His Resurrection.

All families in our parish community were invited to participate in a Lenten Family Event organized by our RE Office, celebrated at the start of Lent. Parents and children came together on Ash Wednesday to share several activities and learn creative ways to do something special for Jesus throughout the season.

Creating a Resurrection Garden from a Crown of Thorns was one of these activities. A take home project that teaches children about prayer and reflection, and the importance of keeping their promises. Each day of Lent, each family member chooses something special to do or give up for Jesus. When they do, what they promised to do, they remove a thorn from the crown and replace it with a flower, by Easter they will have created a Resurrection Garden.

Let us pray, that the Lord guide us with his truth, and strengthen our lives by the example of Jesus. May God help us be with Jesus in this week as he demonstrates his total love for us.

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