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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

Pentecost Sunday

Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, one of the Church’s greatest feast. This was the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon Mary and the disciples, as Jesus had promised them. The apostles were all still together in the same upstairs room they had retreated to after the Ascension of the Lord.

Pentecost marks the culmination of the difficult days gone before the triumph of life over death with Jesus’s resurrection, and of the transition of the disciples from people of uncertainty and fear to people of commitment and action. Listen carefully to the readings and the Gospel as these give an account of what took place on this day.

Let us pray that the Spirit blow through our Church, our communities, and our lives as it did then for the disciples, and let us open our hearts, minds and souls to receive the gifts of the Spirit. May we too are empowered to move forth to spread the good news and bring others to celebrate the Eucharist.

On the journey,
Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski