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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

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