Wednesday, December 13, 2017
   
Text Size

From the Pastor's Desk - June 23, 2013

Dear Parishioners,
Again this summer Archbishop Lucas and all of our American bishops have asked that we observe a “Fortnight for Freedom” from June 21 to July 4. They ask that we pray especially for the preservation of religious freedom in the United States, especially as the unjust and immoral directive of the Health and Human Services Department of the federal government that contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization be provided by employers, including non-profit religious ones, in the health care policies provided to employees becomes effective this August, which will have repercussions for Catholic institutions. From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website (http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/current-threats-to-religious-liberty.cfm), here is a listing of various threats to religious freedom in our country along with that of the HHS mandate:

  • HHS mandate for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.  The mandate of the Department of Health and Human Services forces religious institutions to facilitate and fund a product contrary to their own moral teaching.  Further, the federal government tries to define which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit protection of their religious liberty.
  • Catholic foster care and adoption services.  Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and the State of Illinois have driven local Catholic Charities out of the business of providing adoption or foster care services—by revoking their licenses, by ending their government contracts, or both—because those Charities refused to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit.
  • State immigration laws.  Several states have recently passed laws that forbid what they deem as “harboring” of undocumented immigrants—and what the Church deems Christian charity and pastoral care to these immigrants.
  • Discrimination against small church congregations.  New York City adopted a policy that barred the Bronx Household of Faith and other churches from renting public schools on weekends for worship services, even though non-religious groups could rent the same schools for many other uses.  Litigation in this case continues.
  • Discrimination against Catholic humanitarian services.  After years of excellent performance by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) in administering contract services for victims of human trafficking, the federal government changed its contract specifications to require MRS to provide or refer for contraceptive and abortion services in violation of Catholic teaching.
  • Christian students on campus.  In its over-100-year history, the University of California Hastings College of Law has denied student organization status to only one group, the Christian Legal Society, because it required its leaders to be Christian and to abstain from sexual activity outside of marriage.
  • Forcing religious groups to host same-sex “marriage” or civil union ceremonies.  A New Jersey judge recently found that a Methodist ministry violated state law when the ministry declined to allow two women to hold a “civil union” ceremony on its private property.  Further, a civil rights complaint has been filed against the Catholic Church in Hawaii by a person requesting to use a chapel to hold a same-sex “marriage” ceremony.

What is most needed is that we commit ourselves to prayer during this “Fortnight for Freedom.” Everyone has the obligation to pray. I ask that all pray daily the following prayer from our American bishops:

O God our Creator,
from your provident hand we have received
our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us
the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God,
and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be "one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Further, on Monday July 1, at 6:00 P.M., I will offer a special Mass for the preservation of religious liberty followed by a Eucharistic Holy Hour of prayer for this intention. I hope that as many as possible will come for this time of prayer, recognizing the urgent situation of the times that we live in when we can no longer take for granted the freedom of religion that up until now was a foundation of our Constitution and society.

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, Dorothy Foged.

ACTIVITIES IN THE PARISH
Sat., Dec. 9, Springfielder at Heart Dinner
Sun., Dec. 10, Christmas Open House 3 – 5 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 13, RE, 6:15 P.M.