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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

Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Pope Francis' Lenten message -The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift, was recently released by the Vatican. The message centers on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31) and highlights this meaningful story as an inspiring call to conversion. The Holy Father reminds us that "Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ's victory over death." He invites all of us to listen to the word of God and ponder it more deeply and to approach the season of Lent as a unique opportunity to strengthen our spiritual lives. I hope all of you will take a few minutes to visit this link and read his message.

Some people worry about choosing the right thing to give up for Lent, mainly because they want to make sure they can keep their commitment. If you are looking for ways to follow the Holy Father's lead, I encourage you to approach Lent as if you are planning a very special trip to a wonderful destination. Think about what you need to bring on your trip and what you should leave behind.

To help you plan for this year's Lenten trip or journey, we have invited a very special guest to come to our parish to talk about Pope Francis direction and his views on rejuvenating the Catholic Church.

John Allen Jr. is a well-known journalist and author of several books on the Vatican and on Catholic affairs. He is a senior Vatican analyst for CNN and the editor of Crux, an independent Catholic news site cruxnow.com. He previously served both as a senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and associate editor of the Boston Globe.

John Allen Jr.'s talk will take place at Holy Spirit Catholic Community at 1:30 PM on Sunday, March 5, 2017. More details are provided in the parish bulletin and on our website. All parishioners and neighbors are welcome!

On the journey,
Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski