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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

The Ascension of the Lord

This Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord into heaven, after his Crucifixion and Resurrection and after the many times he appeared to the disciples. This is the day Jesus leaves the disciples behind. One can feel the uncertainty of the disciples, they still did not understand what it all meant for them, they were struggling with what they should do next.

Today we are reminded that it is was not about the disciples' lives and their world. Jesus explained to them that what they had lived through with him, his life, death and resurrection was far greater than what they could understand. It was never just about the kingdom of Israel; it was and still is about all nations.

When Jesus said to his disciples "go make disciples of all nations", he was commissioning them to go all over the world to share his life and his work with everyone, to go baptize and teach his commandments. Well, today he reminds us that this is also our job and that Jesus will be leading the way until the end of time.

On the journey,
Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski