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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

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Today’s readings call for reflection on the basics of our faith: the revelation of God’s love made present in Jesus, and the Word made flesh. With Christ as our model, we are reminded to face sufferings with hope and always to be prepared to explain our hope. “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to provide an explanation to anyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” -1 Peter 3:15

Many people find it difficult to talk about hope with those who might have different beliefs or those who they simply do not know. So today, I wish to share a few excerpts from a message Pope Francis shared with people of all faiths during a TED Conference, in April 2017. The name of the conference was “The Future is You, ” and the Holy Father’s message was: Why the Only Future Worth Building Includes Everyone.

Today’s readings call for reflection on the basics of our faith: the revelation of God’s love made present in Jesus, and the Word made flesh. With Christ as our model, we are reminded to face sufferings with hope and always to be prepared to explain our hope. “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to provide an explanation to anyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” -1 Peter 3:15

Many people find it difficult to talk about hope with those who might have different beliefs or those who they simply do not know. So today, I wish to share a few excerpts from a message Pope Francis shared with people of all faiths during a TED Conference, in April 2017. The name of the conference was “The Future is You, ” and the Holy Father’s message was: Why the Only Future Worth Building Includes Everyone.

Following are the excerpts:
“First and foremost, I would love it if this meeting could help to remind us that we all need each other, none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent "I," separated from the other, and we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone. We don’t think about it often, but everything is connected, and we need to restore our connections to a healthy state…”

“Solidarity is a term that many wish to erase from the dictionary…. It is a free response born from the heart of each and every one. Yes, a free response! When one realizes that life, even in the middle of so many contradictions, is a gift, that love is the source and the meaning of life, how can they withhold their urge to do good to another fellow being?”

“To Christians, the future does have a name, and its name is Hope… Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn't lock itself into darkness, that doesn't dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but can see a tomorrow. Hope is the door that opens onto the future. Hope is a humble, hidden seed of life that, with time, will develop into a large tree.”

“A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you. And then there will be another "you," and another "you," and it turns into an "us." And so, does hope begin when we have an "us?" No. Hope began with one "you."”

I encourage you to listen to or read the entire message by visiting the link provided below:

https://www.ted.com/speakers/pope_francis 

On the journey,

Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski