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From the Pastor's Desk - June 3, 2012

Dear Parishioners,

I thank those who came to the sessions after the Masses last weekend with the architect, Bill Stott of The Architectural Offices in Omaha, who has drawn up the proposal for a religious education classroom building.  Your questions and input were very helpful. To keep you updated, in regards to the surveys, IMoses received some more this past week. I have now received 31 back. Twenty-three of these indicate that we should do this project. Those in favor have mostly indicated that we should go ahead and finance the remainder that we need in order to take advantage of current low interest rates and favorable construction costs. I thank all who returned this survey to me. Since the trend of the responses on these surveys is towards favoring construction, I will have Ken Patry, the president of our parish finance council, help me to look into what the details would be regarding a loan and how this would affect our annual budget. I also asked the architect to give us an idea of what the operational costs would be for a new building in order to know how this would impact our annual budget. Once these items can be determined, I will mail to each household that uses contribution envelopes this information with another survey for them to give their input on whether we should go ahead with this project once we have the cold, hard numbers that we need before making a decision to proceed.

Please notice the insert on the “Fortnight for Freedom” that our American bishops are encouraging Catholics to observe from June 21 to July 4.  This insert has information on prayer events in the parish and the Archdiocese that will occur during these two weeks. Our bishops are calling for special prayers during this time and study on the issue of religious freedom in light of the Obama administration’s mandate that religious institutions (i.e., social service agencies, hospitals, universities, etc.) that serve those other than of their denomination must supply free-of-charge contraceptive, sterilization, and abortifacient services in their health insurance benefits. Also, see included with my column the document “Twelve Things Everyone Should Know about the ‘Contraceptive Mandate’” that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities has published to help us understand the issues involved. I know you might be getting tired of hearing about this and wish it would just go away, but unless we take the time to be informed and concerned by praying for the repeal of this unjust mandate and by standing up for our right of religious freedom, we stand to lose this fundamental liberty guaranteed by the Constitution, which has been wiped away by the fiat of our president and his administration who seem to see separation of Church and state as only operating in one direction: the Church must keep out of the state’s affairs but the state can dictate to religious institutions how they must operate. Are we just limply going to accept this double standard?

For your information, as the national chaplain for the Catholic Medical Association, I will be in Chicago for their mid-year meeting from Thursday until Saturday evening this week. A priest from Mount Michael Benedictine Abby will be here to celebrate Masses during my absence.

Have a blessed and grace-filled week.

God bless,
Fr. Gutowski

This Week

Prayer Intention for the Week
For the sick: Joyce Cockerill, Kathy Ewing, Harriet Green,  Ted Riha, Duane Poser, Sally Leyden, Chrissy Skinner, Jerry Martin.

ACTIVITIES IN THE PARISH
Tues., Oct. 17, Ladies Guild, 7 p.m.
Wed., Oct. 18, RE, 6:15 p.m.