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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

Second Sunday of Easter

Jesus is alive! Jesus conquered sin and death and reopened the gates of heaven. His victory and our rebirth in baptism make it possible for us to share in everlasting life. Now we begin the Easter Season: the fifty days that follow from Easter Sunday to Pentecost. We celebrate this season as one feast day, sometimes called “the great Sunday”.

Today’s first reading sets the tone for the season. As we listen to the teachings of the apostles, we are reminded that even though we have not seen Christ, we believe and rejoice. During this season we are called to come together, each week, as a community to give thanks to God, to break bread, and to strengthen our faith. Let us pray for one another and open our hearts to this season of joy.

The Season of Easter is also when children of our parish receive the Sacrament of Eucharist for the first time. As we welcome our children to the full presence of Jesus Christ, we pray that they will continue to grow in their faith and deepen their initiation into Christ’s life.

As a Catholic community, we are called to share our God-given talents, gifts, and strengths to the service of all. Each year, families are welcomed to volunteer to help in an RE session and/or the Confirmation Program. Training is provided for all volunteers through a variety of grade level meetings and diocesan workshops. I wish to express my appreciation to Jane Ehlrich our DRE, and to all the children and parents who participated in the RE program and/or Sacrament preparation this year.

Families of our parish, with children in grades K-9, will soon receive information about next year’s RE and Confirmation Program. I encourage all families to learn more about the programs we offer at Holy Spirit.

On the journey,
Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski