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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 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